Zero Waste Plan Underway for Lexington

LexZeroWaste is pleased to announce that following the adoption by Town Meeting on April 6, 2022 of Article 27, a Zero Waste Resolution for Lexington put forth by LexZeroWaste’s Advocacy Working Group, working group Co-Chairs Hien Nguyen and Janet Kern have accepted an invitation from Director of Public Works David Pinsonneault to serve as members of the Town’s Zero Waste Plan working group.

The Town of Lexington’s Department of Public Works has engaged the services of consultants
from Zero Waste Associates, Ruth Abbe and Amy Perlmutter, to facilitate the development of a
Zero Waste Plan for Lexington with the input of Town staff and residents, as stated in the
Resolution. Abbe and Perlmutter have developed zero waste plans for Boston and Brookline,
and dozens of other municipalities throughout the country.

“Janet and I are honored to serve on the Zero Waste Plan working group and excited to
continue our productive partnership with Town staff to craft a Zero Waste Plan that will provide a road map for our community to move closer to zero waste and minimize our impact on environmental justice communities,” said Hien Nguyen.

Under the leadership of Mr. Pinsonneault, additional members of the Zero Waste Plan working group include Superintendent of Environmental Services Robert Beaudoin; Sustainability & Resilience Officer Margaret Peard; and Waste Reduction Task Force members Cindy Arens and Diane Pursley, who responded to Mr. Pinsonneault’s invitation for two members of the Town Manager-appointed task force to serve on the Zero Waste Plan working group. LexZeroWaste members Arens and Pursley also serve on the Waste Reduction Task Force as representatives of LPS Green Teams.

The scope of work for the Zero Waste Plan includes listening sessions that Zero Waste
Associates will conduct with key stakeholders, which could include school representatives,
community organizations, business representatives, environmental and environmental justice
organizations, and local and regional service providers. Town residents will also have theopportunity to respond to an online survey to provide input on the barriers and opportunities for
reducing waste and increasing recycling and composting in Lexington.

The Zero Waste Plan working group convened on June 16th for the first of four planned
meetings with the objective of producing a practical, action-oriented Zero Waste Plan by Fall

Community Art as Advocacy: Let’s Rethink Black Plastics

Earth Day Sculpture welcomes your black plastic!

Did you know that black plastic is not recyclable?

LexZeroWaste and the Munroe Center for the Arts are collaborating again for Earth Day 2022.

We’re reprising a sculpture activity from last year that combines art and zero waste to continue to raise awareness about ubiquitous materials in our household trash that are not recyclable. This year, we’re focusing on black plastics: food containers, utensils, seedling pots and trays, shampoo bottles, etc.

Participate in this art activity by saving your black plastic waste items and adding them to the sculpture on the front lawn of the Munroe Center for the Arts  (1403 Massachusetts Ave).

These black plastics may be labeled #1, #2, or #5 plastic––which are technically recyclable––but due to their black pigment, the optical scanners at the recycling facilities are unable to detect and sort them to be recycled. Instead they end up as “residue” and get treated as trash.

Let’s come together as a community to create and celebrate art while raising awareness about non-recyclable materials in our daily lives.

What Else Is Not Recyclable?

Zero Waste Resolution Passes!

Thank you to all those who voiced their support for the Zero Waste Resolution for Lexington. Last night, by a vote of 174-4-8 for Article 27, Lexington Town Meeting adopted the resolution, including agreeing to adopt zero waste principles and encouraging a zero waste plan!

So what does this exactly mean for Lexington? Well, this was a “non-binding resolution”, meaning that the Town is not obligated to take any action. However, it is a strong statement that Town Meeting would very much like to have a plan developed as soon as possible that will offer solutions for town wide waste reduction. We are already working with the Town’s Waste Reduction Task Force and the DPW on these issues. The adoption of this resolution will encourage and hopefully accelerate that work.

If you are not already a LexZeroWaste member, please consider joining to support and contribute to continued efforts to reduce waste in Lexington! We look forward to hearing from and working with you!

2nd Annual Upcycled Art Contest

In honor of Earth Day 2022, LexZeroWaste is holding its 2nd Annual Student Upcycled Art Contest. We invite students in grades K-12 to create an original piece of art from items that would normally be thrown away. Potential materials include items like candy or snack food wrappers, plastic straws, styrofoam, used milk cartons, pet food bags, plastics that can’t be recycled (black plastics and #s 3, 6, and 7 plastics), and any items smaller than 2″ in size which would literally fall through the cracks of the recycling sorting machines and not get recycled. All entrants are encouraged to be creative and use as many non-recyclable, non-compostable waste items as possible! See below for examples of waste materials to use in your artwork.

Submission Guidelines
To participate in the contest, please upload a clear digital photo of the artwork via this form by 5 pm, Thursday, May 12, 2022. Entries will be evaluated by a panel of local artists, including collage artist Mandy Settembre, painter Judy Ellen Sanders, and painter Amantha Tsaros.

Winners will be notified via email by Saturday, May 14th. In the spirit of reuse, winners will receive prize baskets of gently used or like new arts and crafts supplies that have been generously donated by members of our community. If you have items that may be suitable for inclusion in the prize baskets, donations are still being accepted. Please contact Anne Richtarik to arrange any possible donations, or if you have questions about the contest.

Article 27: a Zero Waste Resolution for Lexington

Thanks to the many signers of our petition who got the Article on the warrant, our Advocacy Working Group has developed a Zero Waste Resolution that will be voted on at the 2022 Lexington Annual Town Meeting. We hope you’ll visit our newly created web page devoted to Article 27, read all about it, and then add your name to the growing list of supporters. And then contact Town Meeting Members and ask them to vote for it!

Our Zero Waste Resolution calls for adopting Zero Waste Principles. This inverted pyramid shows how our goals for zero waste begin at the top with reducing consumption, and then move down to treating waste as a resource, so that hopefully we send minimal amounts to incineration or landfill.


How To Give and Celebrate with Minimal Waste

Are you, like us, constantly looking for ways to reduce waste in your own life and maybe even influence others in your orbit to do the same?

This time of year can be a challenging balancing act for those of us who want to embrace a spirit of generosity while also staying on a personal path aiming towards zero waste.

We have compiled a list of some of our favorite low-waste gifting and holiday ideas from sustainably-minded friends and cohorts around the world. Our suggestion is to choose just THREE ideas that are new to you, and perhaps begin new traditions for years to come with your family and friends. 

Adapted from Greenpeace:

  1. Shop small and local: Heading to homegrown local stores can keep your carbon footprint low and help stimulate your neighborhood’s economy.
  2. Purchase long-lasting items: Don’t get sucked into the idea that your friends and family need the new version of everything every year. Give gifts that last, and they’ll be grateful for a long time.
  3. Make your own gifts or buy vintage: Get your craft on! Making your own gift is a great way to give green, and buying vintage or second-hand items means you’re skipping all the carbon pollution in making something new.
  4. Give experiences, not stuff: The best, most memorable gifts are often experiences. Try making a delicious homemade dinner, or taking your friend on a trip to somewhere great nearby. They’ll probably appreciate it more than another sweater or gadget, and you’ll get to feel great knowing that you gave an environmentally friendly gift.
  5. Ditch the tape, ribbon and wrapping paper! Use string, cloth remnants, scarves, cloth bags, old maps, upcycled magazines, even decorated brown paper! Use natural greenery and foraged sprigs instead of plastic bows and ribbons.

Adapted from LiveKindly:

  1. Plan ahead to reduce food waste: Clear out your freezer ahead of your holiday meal shopping. Freezing food is an excellent way to prevent waste, and you can freeze leftovers instead of throwing them in the trash. 
  2. Use sustainable home goods at your table. You can also ask guests to bring their own containers or beeswax wrap in order to bring home leftovers (this might inspire them to get on the waste-reduction train, too). 
  3. Don’t throw away edible food. Compost your food scraps (fruit and vegetable peels, etc.) And immediately donate unopened and unused food items to the Lexington Food Pantry.

From LexZeroWaste 🙂 …

  1. Make a donation to LexZeroWaste! We hope you’ll choose this option as one of your three new zero waste actions this year. With your support, we can bring new programs to Lexington that will provide you with even more sustainable options next year.


Support for Article 17 Clean Heat at Hartwell Ave.

Here is the statement from LexZeroWaste in response to the upcoming Article 17 to be voted on at Lexington’s Special Town Meeting this month.

“In line with our mission to raise awareness and take action to address the impacts of our consumption choices on the well-being of the Earth and all life on it, LexZeroWaste is proud to publicly support Article 17 “Clean Heat for Hartwell Ave” in the upcoming Lexington Special Town Meeting.

Article 17 seeks to add “incentive zoning” for lab buildings in the new commercial district on Hartwell Avenue. 

This zoning initiative, if passed, will incentivize new lab buildings–currently exempted from having to use alternatives to fossil fuels–to adopt hybrid HVAC systems. This is projected to reduce harmful emissions by 60 – 90% from what would otherwise be produced by new lab buildings in the district.

Consuming fossil fuels produces waste that is harmful to our environment and human health and emits greenhouse gases that contribute to global heating, undermining our ability to avert a climate catastrophe for future generations.

We applaud the work and effort of the Sustainable Lexington Committee, the Clean Heat Alliance, and all sponsors of Article 17 who are offering a tool for commercial developers to do their part to change course and move towards a future built on zero waste. “

Reusable Containers soon to be available for bulk foods in Concord

Concord’s Board of Health just approved a variance to the Food Code allowing customers to use containers from home for purchasing bulk foods. This is a significant win for the world of reuse and we look forward to the possibility for this in Lexington…

From Debra’s Natural Gourmet in Concord, who led the effort: “One of the points we tried to make was that nothing in the food system is 100% risk free and that the question to ask, “Is the risk reasonable?” There is a track record of safety and acceptance for returnables in industrialized, well-regulated countries around the world. Here, now, we allow people to squeeze peaches to see if they are ripe, we sell sushi, chicken, unpasteurized apple cider, and allow people to refill their own coffee cups at gas stations – we accept self-serve salad bars. Since we do accept that risk, why should a mason jar from home be banned as dangerous?”

Great work, Debra and all those who supported the effort!

Low-Waste Shopping with Cleenland at LFM 10/5!

Are you looking for a way to reduce your household plastic consumption? If so, join Lexington Zero Waste Collaborative and Cleenland at this refill event at the Lexington Farmers Market for Sustainability Day.

Bring along any of your empty containers and Cleenland will be happy to refill them for you with their eco-friendly household and personal care products. For the list of low-waste and refill items available, see products.

Lexington Farmers Market

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

 2:00–6:30 pm