Stories

‘Old Ladies’ dive into Cape ponds seeking trash, emerge triumphant

August 8, 2022

People normally aren’t excited to find garbage on the bottom of a pond, but for an unusual group of underwater trash collectors on Cape Cod, there’s a certain exhilaration when the biggest discovery of the day suddenly appears 8 feet below the surface. “We found the tire!” exclaims Diane Hammer, who sits in a kayak…

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April 29, 2022

Essay from WBUR reporter Martha Bebinger. The thin plastic thread running between one leaf on my pineapple and its tag does me in. I don’t see it when I put the pineapple in my shopping cart, when I load the check out conveyor belt or when I unpack groceries at home. It isn’t until I…

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Out of the trash, saving cash: How food waste could transform New England’s garbage

April 21, 2022

Tucked away inside a trash facility in central Connecticut is a pile of nondescript orange and green plastic bags. To the untrained eye, the mound of rotting waste looks like all the other trash piled up here, but Jack Perry, one of the owners of HQ Dumpsters & Recycling, said this trash is special. “The…

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VIDEO: How making compost could help fix our trash problem

April 20, 2022

Getting food scraps out of the trash and into the soil will save money and protect the environment. Expert composter Domingo Medina shows you the best ways to do it. This video by Connecticut Public’s Ryan Caron King is part of special coverage from the New England News Collaborative on how climate change is affecting…

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The state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.

Maine’s landfill is meant for in-state waste. Here’s how Massachusetts and NH are filling it up

March 22, 2022

Every day, dozens of trucks loaded with waste drive through the gates of Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town. Near the entrance, they’re greeted by a sign listing banned items, including refrigerators, propane tanks and dead animals. And at the bottom, in large red letters, is a warning: “Juniper Ridge Landfill only accepts waste generated…

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Cans of Haze double IPA packed up in increments of 10, the maximum limit each customer can purchase.

Modernizing the bottle recycling program in Mass. would have big benefits, report finds

March 15, 2022

Massachusetts could cut down on plastic litter, create less garbage, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save cities and towns millions of dollars every year by modernizing the way it recycles beverage containers, according to a new report by the nonprofit Reloop North America. The report focuses on the so-called deposit return system (DRS) — the five cent deposit…

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The Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority trash-to-energy plant in Hartford, Conn.

Connecticut’s trash future unclear after closure of processing plant

March 14, 2022

The imminent closure of a major trash plant in Hartford has set off urgent debate about the future of Connecticut’s waste. And one big question has emerged: Who decides what’s next for the state’s garbage? “We have a problem with life cycles,” said Lyle Wray, with the Capitol Region Council of Governments, a coalition of…

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A bulldozer levels ash on a landfill mound beside Covanta's Haverhill waste facility that incinerates trash and generates electricity.

Reducing trash may reduce the need for incinerators in Mass.

January 21, 2022

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series about trash incineration in Massachusetts. Part 1 looks at the perspectives of the communities housing incinerators. The roads heading to the incinerator in Haverhill, Mass., can at times look like a parade in honor of trash. Dump trucks rumble in carrying garbage bags from 24 cities and…

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Berkeley Parenteau stands in front of the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services during a rally against the development of a landfill near Forest Lake State Park.

N.H. lawmakers consider bill that would stop new landfills, for now

January 20, 2022

New Hampshire legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit the Department of Environmental Services from issuing new permits for landfills until they revise the state’s solid waste plan. Controversial landfill expansions, lack of leadership The state’s solid waste plan is supposed to be updated every six years, but the most recent plan is from 2003. Rep. Linda…

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A front end loader pushes garbage into the bunker, so a grab crane can lift it from there into the furnace chute.

Trash is a burning question with mixed answers in some Mass. towns

January 20, 2022

Editor’s note: This is the first of two stories about the state of trash incinerators in Massachusetts.  The first thing you notice in the warehouse at the Haverhill incinerator is the giant mechanical claw. It moves across the ceiling and drops into the second thing you notice: a pit of trash, 30 feet deep. The…

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