Winter Snow Finally Melts in Boston As of July, New York City Aims for Zero Waste?

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Yep. Both those things are true! Here is the dirt behind those stories and others that are happening in the world of garbage this summer:

Boston Mayor Announces Last of Winter Snow Has Melted: Mayor Martin Walsh announced on Tuesday, July 14, that Boston’s once-massive pile of filthy snow had officially dwindled to nothing. The pile accumulated into a 75-foot tower after a record-breaking winter when more than 110 inches of snow fell on the city. The mound was laden with tons of garbage, transforming it into a repulsive trash heap as the snow melted. Wicked gross.

Online Shopping is Good for Your Wallet, Bad for the Environment?: New York Times writer Nick Bilton observes: “We’ve all had that moment with online shopping when you order a thumb drive and it shows up in a box big enough for a hot tub. Or when you try a new food delivery start-up and the box is filled with more plastic wrapping than nourishment. Or you purchase nonbreakable clothing that comes swaddled in enough packaging to keep an egg safe in an earthquake.It makes you wonder if the environmental cost of making life easier — online grocery shopping, dry cleaning and now errand running — is adding more unnecessary waste to the world.” In his Times article, Bilton explores the various ways online companies ship their wares, what the environmental impact is, and what’s changing. He concludes “In the same way we expect things to arrive on our doorstep in a timely fashion, we should have the social responsibility to expect those items not to show up in a plastic foam box with five frozen plastic bottles and a single lemon inside.”

Alaskan Cleanup of 2011 Japan Tsunami Debris Finally Underway: Alaska has finally been able to start cleaning up the debris believed to be from the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan. The Associated Press noted: “A large-scale cleanup is getting underway in Alaska, with tons of marine debris — some of it most likely from the 2011 tsunami in Japan — set to be airlifted from rocky beaches and taken by barge for recycling and disposal in the Pacific Northwest…[cost estimates for] the project at up to $1.3 million, with the state contributing $900,000 from its share of the $5 million Japan provided for parts of the United States affected by tsunami debris. Crews in British Columbia will be able to add debris to the barge as it passes through, chipping in if they do. Mr. Pallister’s group has committed $100,000. Delays due to weather could drive up costs, which he said was a concern. The cost to operate the barge is $17,000 a day.” Not to mention the logistics of it all.

Zero Garbage for NYC? That’s What The Plan Is: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has put for the the bold statement that by 2030, none of the Big Apple’s garbage will be sent to out-of-state landfills, CNN reports. “The whole notion of a society based on constantly increasing waste and putting it on a train or a barge sending it someplace else and putting it in the ground is outrageous,” de Blasio said at a press conference on Earth Day. “And it’s outdated, and we’re not going to be a part of it.”  The plan includes expansion of residential recycling programs, composting programs, and tax incentives for compliance. Impossible? “I don’t blame anyone for being cynical — I represent 8.5 million jaded people,” said the mayor, responding to a question from a skeptical reporter. “But we’re 100% committed to achieving these goals.”

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