In the Field Trip Recap: A Visit to Casella Materials Recovery Facility and Hubway!

Last week, a group of Bentley students and staff attended a field trip to Charlestown to learn more about how two local companies are making an impact. First we visited Casella Materials Recovery Facility where we learned how all of Bentley’s single stream recycling gets sorted. From there we headed to Hubway, Boston’s public bike share system is that changing the way people get around the city.

Casella Materials Recovery Facility is focused on single stream recycling in order to make the process of recycling as easy as possible to individuals. Per day, Casella has 600+ tons of material on the floor to sort, employing 90 sorters who act as quality control for the facility. All materials arrive at the facility in one single container from customers such as local universities and various towns in Massachusetts. They walked us through how materials get sorted- separating glass, cardboard, plastic, and tin through a system of complex conveyors before walking us to the floor to see how this process takes place first hand. As you can tell by the photos- seeing all of the materials come through was incredibly impressive! We learned that it costs less to correctly recycle than to trash materials- however, when items are recycled poorly, it actually costs Casella’s customers more money. How is an item recycled poorly? Most frequently when too much contamination from food still resides in containers. Bentley was actually charged $4,000 in the fall of 2017 because of contaminated materials! Aside from the environmental incentive to recycle, there is a huge monetary incentive as well!

At Hubway’s main office, we were able to tour the main storage facility for the bikes and bike stands as well as a repair area where technicians restore broken bikes. No photos were allowed, but the space was very impressive for this growing company! Hubway is owned by the municipalities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline and already have 160 bike stations with 1,600+ bikes- and will be adding 70 new stations in 2018. Hubway is a great option for transportation or leisure- many companies even offer employee incentives to use Hubway as a commuting alternative. Hubway also offers a special membership to low-income residents of Boston to remain inclusive to the community.

Overall, there was a lot of information to take in from our visits- how we can do better at educating ourselves around recycling on campus and how the city of Boston is offering convenient more efficient ways to get around the city. It was a great way to wrap up Waste-Awareness Week and we hope to learn more about how other local organizations are making an impact!

By Jennifer Graham
Jennifer Graham Senior Assistant Director, Pulsifer Undergraduate Career Development Center Jennifer Graham