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Summer of Reuse

Happy Summer! And welcome to the kick-off of what we’re calling the Summer of Reuse. For the next couple months, we’ll be sharing stories of trailblazing organizations and businesses in MA that are dedicated to reusing, repairing, refilling, refusing, repurposing, and more, in order to reduce the amount of waste we send to incineration and landfill.
Sign: Reduce, Repair, Refill, Repurpose.

You’ll get to know these innovators – including some that have received a MassDEP Reduce Reuse Repair Micro-Grant – in posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and in our Spotlights. At the end of this newsletter, we’ve shared a list of the reuse organizations we know about so that you, too, can get involved in the reuse movement!

In the spirit of reuse, this month we are repurposing (😉) an article that originally appeared on the RecyclingWorks in MA blog site, with their permission. If you like this blog post and would like to read more, visit recyclingworksma.com/blog/.

Breweries Reduce Waste Through Reuse, Recycling, and Organics Diversion

Breweries across Massachusetts are demonstrating their commitment to sustainability through waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and organics diversion opportunities. Here are just a few recent examples.

Sign: Do Not Discard. Return to Untold BrewingUntold Brewing is a Scituate-based microbrewery with sustainability efforts focused on waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting, and water conservation. As recently reported by The Hingham Anchor, the micro-brewery diverts spent grain to a local farmer in West Bridgewater to use as cattle feed, and it collects by-products such as beer hop, and sediment for composting.

Their comprehensive recycling program includes cans, cardboard, plastic film, label backing, and more. Their reuse practices are growing with a recent grant from the Massachusetts DEP to pilot reusable pallet wrap to reduce plastic waste.

Untold Brewing also participates in the statewide can carrier take-back program initiated by Eco-Friendly Beer Drinker. Through this effort, they have reused more than 40,000 carriers, while also collecting broken or unusable carriers for recycling. Eco-Friendly Beer Drinker recently highlighted the growing list of breweries participating in this can carrier reuse and recycling pilot program and estimated that more than three tons of plastic can carriers have been diverted from disposal so far. Can carriers cannot be recycled with your household recyclables, so start saving and drop them off at the closest brewery on this list. Read more about this program in a previous blog, Brewing Up a Can Carrier Recycling Pilot.

phot of bags of plastic can tops
The Eco-Friendly Beer Drinker

Many of the more than 200 breweries in Massachusetts are also committed to diverting spent grains and other byproducts. As reported by Waste 360, Vanguard Renewables is helping Massachusetts breweries like Berkshire Brewing Company, Wachusett Brewing Company, and Tree House Brewing Company put their organic waste to better use. Spent grains and liquids are taken to one of Vanguard’s six anaerobic digestion facilities in Massachusetts and Vermont, where the organic material supports renewable energy generation. This collaboration helps to reduce carbon emissions and promotes circular systems for organic waste.

If you know of a business that would like no-cost technical assistance to start a recycling or composting program, let them know about Recycling Works MA. A recycling expert staffs their hotline (888) 254-5525. Their email is info@recyclingworksma.com.

Spotlight on Repair: The BYTE Shop

Photo: The BYTE Shop

The BYTE Shop is a community focused electronics repair store and computer history museum in Jamaica Plain, MA. This small business, owned by Timothy Colegrove, was awarded a MassDEP RRR Micro-Grant in 2021 for their BYTE Shop Reduce, Reuse, and Repair Program. The goal of this project was to divert two tons of electronic waste from landfill/incineration annually through their electronics refurbishment and resale program.

Grant money was used to order tools to refurbish and repair broken devices and to promote their business with new signage. While getting the word out on social media, they made a connection with Meredith Goldstein at The Boston Globe who wrote a profile piece about their work.

Oscilloscope
Laser Glass Removal Tool
3D Printer
LCD Separator/Hot Plate

From left to right: Oscilloscope, Laser Glass Removal Tool, 3D Printer, LCD Separator/Hot Plate

In just over seven months, The BYTE shop met their goal of keeping two tons of old electronics (aka e-waste) out of the trash bin! According to Mr. Colgrove, not only did the project have an important environmental impact, but refurbishing used electronics is a lucrative revenue stream for the shop. “Items that are tested good and/or refurbished are resold and account for a significant percentage of our monthly income, making the program sustainable well past the grant period,” wrote Mr. Colgrove. Additionally, it’s a boon for locals who are grateful to have a trusted neighborhood place they can drop off their unwanted, broken, or obsolete electronic items.

We applaud The BYTE Shop for their efforts to reduce e-waste and for being such a great resource for the residents of Boston!

Get involved with the Reuse Movement!

Check out the organizations listed below to learn more about what’s going on. This is not an exhaustive list – we are sure there are more! Help us build a bigger list by emailing us with the names of other organizations working to grow the reuse movement.

📚 What We're Reading – Mixed Media Style

Cheers to a great summer,

The Recycle Smart Team at MassDEP

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