Recycling Center Tour in Charlestown

On Friday, November 19th four UUA staff members toured Casella’s zero-sort recycling facility in Charlestown, MA.  Here’s a recap of our trip for everyone who couldn’t attend:

Zero-sort is one word for single-stream recycling, as opposed to double stream where paper/cardboard is separated from glass/plastic.  It is easier for the average person to not have to sort recycling, but to be able to put it all into one container.  Data shows that in areas where single-stream recycling is available volume tends to go up drastically.

where recycling enters the plant

It’s amazing the various methods they use to separate the different kinds of recyclable material.  The material is pushed onto a moving belt which has certain sized roller/slots that shake to capture a certain size of material.  There are also optical sorts which have computers sending light rays down to the material and back up to the computer-when they detect what it is, 160 air jets can shoot it across a divider gap into one stream or it will fall down the gap to another belt. (more…)

I’m a Green Newbie (Groobie? – oops, that sounds like a hippie with a cold…)

I joined the GIST team with a beginner’s desire to learn how to live lighter on the planet,  not with any notion that I knew how to do that.  I like the idea of being the change we want to see in the world, but I’m not at a point where the practices necessary to support that come easily or naturally.

For example, one small thing I decided I could do was to carry my insulated mug with me all the time so that I wouldn’t use disposable cups. Seems simple enough, and sometimes it is. If I have my mug with me, I can either make coffee at home in the morning and carry it to the train, or I can buy coffee at the train station using my mug – no paper cup and related stuff plus the coffee guy gives me a discount for using my own cup. (more…)

What’s this GIST thing all about?

So what is this GIST team all about anyway?

Well, here at the UUA we support and serve more than 1,000 Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities, and share our values with the rest of the world. One of the values we share is a concern for the environment – as the 2006 Statement of Conscience says “Life on this planet will be gravely affected unless we embrace new practices, ethics, and values to guide our lives on a warming planet.” And one of the programs that we provide to support our congregations is the Green Sanctuary program.

The GIST team is about finding ways to support us – the UUA staff – in being the change that we want to see. We are looking for ways to facilitate reducing the environmental impact of the way we work, and in some cases live.

OK, so I just scared some of you readers. Hang on, we aren’t going force anyone to do anything crazy – we’re not going all “No Impact Man” on the staff. (more…)

Welcome to the Green Initiatives Staff Team!

GIST (Green Initiatives Staff Team) is starting a


bean plant grown from seeds UUA staff planted in an all-staff meeting

number of environmental education opportunities for UUA staff, and we are going to begin with a recycling center tour in Charlestown.

Stay tuned for more information about what we hope to do and how we can accomplish it together.

Potted green beans on the porch of P&E… see our about page for more information on them!