Will you help me create a better recycling plan for Boston?
I live in Cambridge and commute to Boston every morning. I subscribe to the print edition of the New York Times and read it every morning as I commute into work on the T. I always carry the paper into my office and recycle it when I get here — the T stations I frequent (Harvard Square, Park Street, and Copley) don’t have recycle bins. Most of my fellow commuters throw their copies of their morning paper (generally the Globe, Herald or the Metro – our daily tabloid) away in the garbage cans near the exit to the station.
This seems like a tremendous waste and environmental disaster that can be easily avoided. So, how can I get commuters in Boston to recycle more?
I haven’t visited every station in our T system, but among the ones I have, I don’t recall seing any recycle bins. Other cities have them — most notably Grand Central Station in New York. When commuters arrive on one of the Metro North trains from Connecticut they can recycle their papers in a giant metal bin before leaving the platform.
I presume there is a reason that the MBTA (our local transportation authority) doesn’t have recycle bins in the train stations. One reason could be security — the DC transportation authority, WMATA, removed garbage and recycling bins for security purposes at one point — its not unreasonable to think maybe Boston did as well. Another possible reason could be cost — it is expensive to sort, haul, and then recycle newsprint and neither MBTA or the City of Boston may want to be saddled with. A third reason might be ingenuity — nobody has yet come up with a good way to do it.
Let’s assume that it is the third reason — and therefore a very solvable problem. And that is where I would like your help. What should the solution to this recycling problem be? What process, or product, or tool, or message would compel people in Boston to recycle their morning newspapers? A local business student created a solar powered garbage can and won the endorsement of the Mayor for his efforts. What could we, as a community of marketing, business, technology, inventor, creative types come up with to solve this issue?
Please help me figure it out. Let’s put our innovation caps on and try to build a better recycling plan for Boston. I look forward to your thoughts.