Recycling Know No’s: Your Impact – It Makes a Difference!

November 15, 2023

By Liz Antanavica, Trash & Recycling Administrator

America Recycles Day is celebrated every year on Nov. 15. It’s a day to remember the importance of recycling and the impact of our collective efforts. Recycling is an important part of Bedford’s waste reduction strategy and it extends beyond the familiar curbside blue cart program. 

This year, take a peek behind the scenes to learn about the results of Bedford’s waste diversion programs. How much material is actually recycled in Bedford? Read on to learn more. 

2023 Special Recycling Events

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The Department of Public Works holds special recycling events twice a year in an effort to help residents manage difficult materials. These are materials that are not accepted in the curbside blue cart program, but have significant end-of-life value if they get to the right destination (and stay out of the trash). The Fall 2023 e-waste event was the busiest ever with 542 cars participating in just four hours!

2023 Event Results

  • Electronics & Small Appliances – 54,290 LBS (or 27.15 TONS)
  • Propane Tanks & Fire Extinguishers – 1,775 LBS
  • Tires – 4,224 LBS 
  • Styrofoam – Three 20ft box trucks full
  • Latex Paints – Two 20ft box trucks full 

Expanded Recycling Center

The Town’s Recycling Center, located at 108 Carlisle Rd., is a valuable resource. The variety of materials accepted has changed during the last two years to accommodate residents’ needs. Materials are diverted to an environmentally preferred destination where they will be reused or recycled, instead of incinerated with other household trash.

Site Stats (2023 to date)

  • Scrap Metal – 53,320 lbs. (or 26.66 tons)
  • Bulky Rigid Plastic – approx. 7,000 lbs. (or 3.5 tons)
  • Fluorescent Bulbs – 1,556 lbs. 
  • Batteries – 1,931 lbs. 

Curbside Recycling Programs

Bedford’s single stream or blue cart recycling program (what most people think of when we say “recycling”) keeps more than 1,000 tons of readily recyclable materials out of the trash every year. 

Did you know that Bedford also offers a special curbside recycling route for appliances, electronics, and metal items? These types of materials are not accepted at the trash disposal end site, Covanta Haverhill, and are prohibited from the trash under MassDEP regulations. 

Results (FY23)

  • Single Stream (blue cart) recycling – 1,326 tons
  • Curbside Appliances & Metal – 12.94 tons
  • Curbside Electronics – 1,780 lbs. 

Consider this your call to action: Can you participate in one new program this year? Is there one material stream that you can work to keep out of the trash? If you’re already participating in these programs, share these resources with a friend or neighbor. Small, individual, changes may seem insignificant, but when amplified across our community they make tons (literally) of difference. Happy America Recycles Day. 

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Matthew Agen
November 15, 2023 8:22 pm

To compare to the recycling amounts – How many tons of trash does Bedford generate?

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