December 2005

State hospital, contractor promote waste reduction

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented Massachusetts WasteWise Waste Reduction Leadership Awards to Lemuel Shattuck State Hospital and Raytheon Company for using innovative, incentive-based solid waste contracting techniques to reduce trash and increase recycling in their operations.

Both the hospital and the company use an approach known as resource management (RM) contracting. They they have given their solid waste contractors clear financial incentives not to haul as much trash as possible, but to manage resources in economically and environmentally responsible ways. This reduces their disposal costs and dramatically increases the amount of material they recycle.

Most organizations that generate large quantities of waste would like to recycle more and pay less for disposal, but optimizing their trash and recycling services is rarely a priority compared with other, more pressing financial and organizational concerns.

Yet because virtually all businesses and most towns and cities obtain these services by hiring waste management companies, RM contracting is an opportunity to make a real difference.

“Using this common sense approach to waste management, we are likely to see a win-win: less solid waste going to landfills, more materials being recycled, and financial advantages for all parties,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator at EPA’s New England regional office in Boston. “RM contracting has the potential to transform the waste disposal industry.”

Lemuel Shattuck, a 278-bed in-patient state hospital located in Jamaica Plain, is in the second year of its contract with Save That Stuff, a Charlestown-based recycler. During the first year, Shattuck generated 11 percent less trash, saved roughly $11,000 in avoided disposal costs, and more than quadrupled its recycling - from 14 tons to 58 tons - by adding five new materials to the list of those it collected for recycling.

Headquartered in Waltham and one of the nation’s largest defense contractors, Raytheon went out to bid for solid waste and recycling services at eight of its Massachusetts facilities, with an aim of giving its new contractor incentives for helping the company throw away less and recycle more, and for continuously doing better.

“Raytheon has been a WasteWise member for years, and has a very active waste reduction and recycling program,” said Brian Balukonis, senior environmental quality engineer for the company. “We hope this contract will help us get to the next level of managing our resources more effectively and efficiently.”

MassDEP and EPA give Massachusetts WasteWise Waste Reduction Leadership Awards annually in recognition of organizations that have demonstrated recycling leadership, sustainability, and innovation. The two agencies jointly fund the Massachusetts WasteWise Program, which provides waste reduction assistance to businesses and organizations. Participation is voluntary.

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