Recycling Committee


A Decade Devoted to making Salem a Greener City


In March 2008 Mayor Driscoll appointed an all volunteer recycling committee, SalemRecycles, to develop ways to increase recycling and promote other green efforts to reduce the amount of waste created throughout the city. SalemRecycles is composed of residents who are committed to the task providing a variety of ways to promote means of reuse, repurpose and recycling. Their backgrounds include environmental studies, graphic and fine arts, business, law, public health, management, marketing, communications and education. Committee members develop and promote educational and outreach programs through social media, printed materials, speaking engagements and hosting events providing other ways in which to keep items from the waste stream. In addition the Committee collaborates with several local groups on specific green events. It has pioneered many initiatives including textile recovery, curbside food scraps collection, e-waste recovery, a reusable bag initiative, cigarette butt recycling, semi annual book swaps, zero waste public events and most recently the introduction of a repair café. Through these efforts Salem has become a recycling leader on the North Shore recognized by The City of Salem, The State of Massachusetts as well as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Goal of the Recycling Committee: To motivate residents, businesses and visitors to recycle more and waste less.


Regularly scheduled meeting are open to the public and generally held the first Tuesday of each month on the 1st floor of 908 Washington Street at 6:30pm. Task forces on communications, events and other projects may convene outside of regular meeting times.

During the first year the Committee distinguished itself by hosting a number of recycling and educational events. It was also the driving force in educating the citizens of Salem about  new regulations for the 2008 trash contract which limited the amount of waste that households were allowed to place curbside. Since then SalemRecycles has been instrumental in helping residents transition to the state of the art Automated Cart System in which began in November of 2015.


Awards and Recognition:

  •  EPA Merit Award, April 2009 for outstanding leadership in recycling
  • Award from The Phoenix School 2009 – community service
  • MassRecycle’s  Recycling 20th Anniversary Award fo Excellance in Municipal Recycling
  • MassRecycle’s Certificate of Excellance for Leadership awarded to Mayor Driscoll in 2010
  • SalemRecycle’s panel on “Branding the Recycling Message: Public Relations Stategies to Advance Community Success” was accepted and presented at the 2010 WASTECON conference in Boston
  • Invited to speak at MassRecycle conference in 2013 regarding the success of SalemRecycles, and 2015 regarding the success of curbside food waste collection
  • MassRecycle Award, 2015 –Municpal recycling
  • Mass Municipal Award, 2017 – for innovation

Grants Awarded in total over $343,600

  • School Recycling:  $30,000
  • Curbside Compost: $30,000
  • Mandatory Recycling Enforcement:  $55,000
  • Public Recycling:  $20,000 and $10,000
  • Bulky Rigid Plastics:  $10,000
  • Recycling Dividends: $68,000
  • Small Initiatives: $10,000
  • Recycling Toters:  $110,000

Ongoing Projects

  • Plastic Bag Ordinance/Reusable Bag Initiative
  • Cigarette Butt Recycling
  • Repair Café
  • Continued education on changing recycling guidelines – market driven
  • Salem Schools recycling initiatives
  • Collaboration with the Salem Gazette and Salem Patch on articles about recycling events and best recycling practices
  • Strategic planning,  including creation of a recycling baseline, capturing best practices from other communities and continued work with other city government entities to promote green activities
  • Production of a quarterly electronic newsletter and blog to highlight ongoing events and reuse/repurpose and recycle tips
  • website maintenance to capture all green initiatives with updated practices
  • Maintain SalemRecycles Facebook site posting all city sponsored events involving reuse, repurpose and recycling
  • Partnering with teracycle in the Butt Bin Recycling Program involving appropriate locations of bins, improving signage and developing a plan for regular maintenance

Regular Events:

  • Hosts two free book/media swaps per year, which attracts over 400-800 “swappers” resulting in an average of 6 tons of books being swapped or recycled annually (March and September)
  • Partners with Salem public schools to participate in Read Science
  • Co-organizes the Clean Salem, Green Salem event with Salem’s Beautification Committee, held annually including the Swap-n-Drop event for textiles and household items (May)
  • Provides Zero Waste expertise for events such as Salem’s Best Pizza competition
  • Organizes annual Textile Drive with Goodwill since 2011. This event collects 4-7 tons of materials annually, most of which is reusable and the remaining is recycled. (November)
  • Provides one-on-one community outreach in public areas to answer questions and distribute information
  • Participates in several Salem Farmers Markets annually to promote most current initiatives

Past Projects/Outreach:

  • Promoted and participated in two MBTA recycling events at train station.
  • Partnered with Salem Chamber, City of Salem and the North Shore Transportation Management Association in the execution of the Green Salem Business Challenge recognizing local businesses who strive to create greener working environments for four yearsPartners with Salem Chamber of Commerce and Salem Main Streets to hold a Business Recycling Forum, attended by representatives from over a dozen businesses Exhibits at Salem’s annual Living Green & Renewable Energy Fair held at the Old Town Hall (May)
  • Joied Northside Carting and the Phoenix School at Salem’s annual Haunted Happenings Parade (October)
  • Participated in Salem Arts Festival with an “Upcycle” craft
  • Hosted Volunteer Recruitment event to broaden the volunteers for committee and events
  • Designed and implemented the Door Hanger Project informing residents of the Do’s and Don’ts of curbside pickup, 2012. 20,000 door hangers were distributed. This was a predecessor to the Mandatory Recycling Ordinance instituted in 2013Created the Perfect Pickup Contest rewarding residents for proper dual stream recycling, 2011
  • Created Salem Recycles logo for use on all materials, now a highly recognizable symbol
  • Collaborated with North Shore Recycled Fiber to host a Shredding Day in November, 2008Developed and distributed flyers and postcards to every Salem household, educating them on new regulations, 2008
  • Created visual displays for and staffed information booths on recycling throughout the City
  • Updated and improved City of Salem’s website here
  • Initiated “Dear Neighbor” program consisting of letters written for individual outreach to neighbors
  • Developed a “Recycler of the Month” program which identifies residents who have increased their recycling and thanks them with personal notes for engaging in the program
  • Created Salem Recycles bookmark
  • Collaborated with MBTA to create a paper recycling program at the Salem train station to serve as a prototype for other stations
  • Participated in Salem Access Television training to produce recycling segments for a monthly “Green” show

Staff Contacts

Name Title Phone
Julie Rose Business Manager 978-619-5679

Board Members

Name Title
Nancy Gilberg Member
Beth Gillett Member
Carol Hautau Member
Erin Huggard Member
Shelby Hypes Member
Tony Keck Member
Eva Mossberg Member (Emeritus)
Lynn Murray Member
Penny Neal Member (Emeritus)
Melynn Nuite Clerk
Jennifer Percy Member (Emeritus)
John Roberts Member
Liz Vago Member
Susan Yochelson Member
Geri Yuhas Chair