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Materials management and recycling are an integral part of environmental management at the MBTA. The MBTA has numerous programs in place that assures the proper disposal of land ban items and hazardous waste. The MBTA not only deals with its waste responsibly, but in addition works with local communities to help reduce their waste through community recycling events.
The MBTA has a single stream recycling program to bring a more sustainable solution to its waste stream. The program includes all faces of our waste stream from paper recycling up to and including complex recycling of our vehicles. The comprehensive program saves the MBTA upwards of $150,000 per year.
The MBTA breaks down the various items insuring proper recycling with little or no landfill impact.
The MBTA has eleven major maintenance facilities that maintain subway cars, buses, non-revenue vehicles, and infrastructure for the transportation network. Not surprisingly, these facilities produce a huge amount of waste, which includes a large amount of land ban items and hazardous materials.
The single stream waste management program was first piloted in 2010 at all MBTA maintenance facilities. The program recycled 425,093 lbs in 2011 and 371,974 lbs in 2012. This program has achieved over $125,000 in cost avoidance in comparison to the previous waste management programs. In addition another recycling program at MBTA stations for newspaper was started in 2011. 1,053,940 lbs of paper was recycled in 2011 and 637,480 lbs in 2012.
In addition the MBTA recycled over 60,000 gallons of waste oil in 2012 and has saved $45,000 by selling the waste oil.
The aerosol cans program punctures the cans and releases the propelant (butane or propane) in to a 55 gallon drum tank. After the liquid is released, the aerosal cans are able to be used for scrap metal. the MBTA also properly disposes of all air conditioners so the freon has is captured and reused. The MBTA has a "core swap" relationship with battery suppliers to make sure the lead acid batteries are dealt with properly. The tire contract allows the MBTA to "lease" tires and when they hit a certain mileage they are automatically replaced and do not end up in the landfill.
In 2010, the MBTA setup newspaper recycling bins at all its stations platforms. To date, it has recycled more than 2,500 tons of newsprint, and over 700,000 lbs. in the first three months of 2013.
Community Recycling Events
The MBTA has held ten Community Recycling Events in the Fall of 2012 and the Spring of 2013 (See Events). The events were in Salem (twice), East Boston, Kingston, Revere, Watertown, Ashland, Andover, Wellington Station in Medford, and Wachusett Mountain. These events are held by the MBTA as a public service so residents can get rid of land ban items for a nominal fee. The events have collected 33,195 lbs. of TV's and a total of 323,000 lbs. of items. In the Spring of 2014, there were five more events including Newburyport.
In 2012, the MBTA started to collect old cell phones for the Charity Cell Phones for Soldiers. Cell Phones for Soldiers was started by two teenagers from Stoughton, MA. Since the MBTA started working with the charity it has collected in excess of 3,500 cell phones and 3,000 chargers which translates into over a 38,000 minutes of free phone time for soldiers overseas. On November 7, 2012 Secretary Davey presented Brittany Berquist, a founder of Cell Phones for Soldiers, with a special community recognition award for her admirable work.