Phyllis Theermann

Waste reduction efforts should be our number one priority, re-using is number two, and recycling is the third option — so lets get it right!

Wellesley’s Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF) was part of a story last Friday on Public Radio International’s The World.  You can listen to it here and learn how contaminated recycling compromises the ability to efficiently and cost-effectively sort materials into bales of marketable recyclable materials. This is especially true since China changed its policy, disrupting the global marketplace for mixed paper and mixed plastics.  This story will encourage you to rethink recycling.  When cardboard, cans and bottles are treated like real commodities, and not just trash, it can be worth some real money.

If you want to learn more about recycling in Wellesley, come to the League of Women Voter’s evening with the Wellesley RDF’s Superintendent, Jeff Azano-Brown, on January 31 at 7pm in the Chapel at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Wellesley Hills.

Dessert will be served and the event is open to the public.

Now that this topic is on the brain:

– Consider ways to reduce waste this holiday season including wrapping gifts with re-usable gift wrapping  — similar to what Sustainable Wellesley did at last month’s Wellesley Marketplace (thanks again Kelly C).

– Read, borrow, and/or gift the book Zero Waste Home for ideas on creating less waste and less “stuff” to recycle!

– In an effort to reduce bag (paper or plastic) waste, Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission is reminding the public that January is Bring Your Own Bag month.

– Get you post-holiday mailboxes under control. Get rid of junk mail!

Phyllis Theermann

Many Wellesley High School Seniors take on a Senior Project during the last quarter of the year before graduation and once again, the sustainability theme was highly represented.

From educating the public on the importance of bees, and getting WHS teachers off 400+ junk mail lists, to collecting data on the gas leaks effect on trees in town, and creating a video capturing all that Wellesley Students have done over the years, student’s projects show that sustainability resonates with many. Other projects included collecting WHS recycling data, a campaign to keep the playing fields clean, digital artwork creation, as well as green certifying classrooms.

These are our future generation, and we are grateful.

Phyllis Theermann

Nothing says, “Welcome home” like a stack of junk mail!

Wellesley resident Jessica Langerman returned from vacation last month and faced a huge pile of unwanted catalogues, ads, and solicitations.

Jessica set to work and discovered that with a little determination, you can get off the commercial mailing lists that data brokers use to sell your personal information. You will no longer have to waste time handling unwanted mail, and you will be doing something positive for the environment. The production and distribution of bulk mail has a shockingly negative impact on the planet, contributing to deforestation, landfill mass, and the waste of billions of gallons of water.

There are a number of web-based organizations that can help you by removing your name from the databases of direct marketers.

Here are a few: offers a free service online–just go to the web site to sign up. The organization also offers a free app for the iPhone called MailStop Mobile, which allows you to take a picture of a piece of unwanted mail and upload it automatically. is another free iPhone app that allows you to simply take a photo of unwanted junk mail and automatically upload. is named for the 41 pounds of junk mail each American is estimated to receive every year. For a fee, this organization will contact 20 to 30 direct mail companies and have your name removed from their mailing lists.


The satisfaction of reclaiming your privacy while benefitting the environment could make opening your mailbox a little more pleasurable!