Recycling Committee

SalemRecycles: Background

In 2008, Mayor Driscoll appointed an all-volunteer recycling committee, SalemRecycles, to develop ways to increase recycling throughout the city and promote other green efforts. An all-volunteer group, SalemRecycles is composed of residents who are committed to recycling. Their backgrounds include environmental studies, graphic and fine arts, business, law, public health and education. The committee hosts a number of public events throughout the year that focus on recycling and reuse practices. Members develop and promote various educational and outreach programs through social media, printed materials, and speaking engagements. The committee also collaborates with several local groups on many green events. Salem has become a recycling leader on the North Shore, improving recycling rates by 3 times upon its inception. The committee has pioneered many initiatives including textiles recovery; curbside food scraps collection, E-waste recovery, public recycling and zero waste public events.

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

Meetings: Regularly scheduled meetings are open to the public and generally held the first Tuesday of each month, 3rd floor of 120 Washington Street, at 6:30 pm. 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 a driving force in educating the citizens of Salem when new regulations for the 2008 trash contract limited the amount of waste that households were allowed to place curbside.  Since then, SalemRecycles has been instrumental in transitioning to the State of the Art automated cart system, in effect since November 2015.


Awards and Recognition:

  • EPA Merit Award, April 2009 for outstanding leadership in recycling
  • Award from The Phoenix School , 2009, for community service
  • MassRecycle’s Recycling 20th Anniversary award for Excellence in Municipal Recycling
  • MassRecycle’s Certificate of Excellence for Leadership awarded to Mayor Driscoll in 2010
  • SalemRecycle’s panel on “Branding the Recycling Message: Public Relations Strategies to Advance Community Success” was accepted and presented at the 2010 WASTECON conference in Boston
  • Invited to speak at Mass Recycle Northeast Municipal Recycling Council’s meeting, January 2012, on the success of Salem’s textile drive
  • 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, for Municipal Recycling

Grants Awarded totaling over $250,000:

  • Curbside Compost, $30,000
  • Mandatory Recycling Enforcement, $55,000
  • Public Recycling, $20,000 and $10,000
  • Bulky Rigid Plastics, $10,000
  • Recycling Dividends, $17,500
  • Small Initiatives, $10,000
  • Recycling Toters, $110,000

Ongoing Projects:

  • 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
  • Collaborates with Salem Gazette and Salem Patch on articles about upcoming recycling events and best practices
  • Produces quarterly electronic newsletter and blog to highlight ongoing events and best practices in recycling
  • Maintains website to capture all green initiatives
  • Maintenance of SalemRecycles Facebook site and City’s website under Trash/Recycling
  • Coordinates rigid plastics recycling program: collected over 130 tons of rigid plastics since 2012
  • Working to enhance the Butt Bin Recycling program –partnering with Terracycle-by identifying more appropriate locations, improving signage, developing (with DPS) 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
Carol Hautau Member
Erin Huggard 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