Category Archives: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Regional Water Sharing Discussed in Concord

On February 25, the Forum at the First Parish in Concord was the setting for a  lively and well-attended discussion on regional water sharing, using the ongoing controversy over Nagog Pond as a case study. Green Acton member Kim Kastens opened the event with a slide presentation in which she laid out the context for why water issues are now emerging in eastern Massachusetts, and then dived into the water-related aspects of the Nagog Pond case. She ended with two sets of conclusions: the first sketched a potential environment-friendly resolution to the current Nagog controversy. The second  was a broader set of lessons learned, applicable no matter what happens at Nagog Pond. Kastens’ full slide deck is here, and her “lessons learned” slide is below:

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Green Acton supports the Environmental Justice Bill

At our December 2017 meeting, Green Acton signed on to the letter below in support of the Environmental Justice Act (H.2913 / S.426). And here is a link to a one-pager explaining this proposed legislation.

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Acton Cleanup WEEK: April 22-29

Please mark your calendars and plan to participate.

Acton Cleanup Week: April 22 – April 29 

This year, Acton Cleanup will be a week long.

The Cleanup is being co-organized by the Acton Chinese-American Civic Society. You can learn more about them at the ACACS website.

The new site to let everyone know about streets that need cleaning, or streets that are already clean, and to sign up to clean streets, is ready now at


We encourage everyone to sign up for a site and make a difference.  This service for your community can be done anytime from Saturday April 22 through April 29.

On Saturday April 29, our usual Cleanup Day crews with a list of areas needing your help will be available to give out bags and gloves, and collect the debris that has been removed from the streets and paths of our town.

Stay tuned for details!  Or contact us today at .

The Swap Shop at the Transfer Station

In 2015, the Swap Shop was launched at the Transfer Station in a small new building just downhill from the main recycling area (near the Red Cross bins).

Anyone with a recycling or trash sticker can use the Swap Shop: gently used items in good condition can be donated at the shop, and items can be picked up — all for free! The purposes of the Swap Shop is to keep more objects out of the trash, and to get perfectly usable items into the hands of those who can use them.

Do you love to visit the Swap Shop? Are you a people person? Will you have a few hours this year to volunteer doing something fun? We are looking for volunteers for the 2017 season.Working at the shop is fun, social, and satisfying! The more volunteers, the more often the shop can be open for business.

To get a volunteer application, please email either Corey York (Acton’s Town Engineer):, or Debby Andell (Green Acton member and volunteer scheduling assistant to Corey York:

Learn more about the Swap Shop Program here:


30th Annual Local Environmental Action conference: Sunday, March 5th at Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Local Environmental Acton conference poster30th Annual Local Environmental Action conference: Sunday, March 5th at Northeastern University, Boston, MA

  • Great way to connect with other towns and see what they are working on, and gain exposure to new ideas and information on climate / clean energy issues
  • Nearly 20 workshops that cover a range of issues and skills – from the future of energy in New England, to organizing in the age of Trump, to the health impacts of fracked gas well-heads to your kitchen stove
  • Recognize our many victories over the year and be inspired to go back and continue the fight to protect the health and safety of our communities, our environment, and our climate


  • Kandi Mossett
    Kandi Mossett is a powerful Indigenous leader and environmental justice hero on the frontlines of the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. A member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Kandi is the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Extreme Energy & Just Transition Campaign Coordinator, leading the fight to raise awareness about the environmentally & socially devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing on tribal lands. We’re so honored to have her joining us to share lessons from NoDAPL and her international and national climate advocacy work.
  • Lois Gibbs
    Lois Gibbs is known by many as the mother of the anti-toxics movement and the federal Superfund program. Lois was a housewife living in Niagara Falls, New York in 1978 when she learned that her neighborhood, Love Canal, was built on top of 21,000 tons of hazardous chemical waste. After successfully organizing her neighbors to win the evacuation and cleanup of Love Canal, Lois went on to found the Center for Health, Environment & Justice and has helped communities across the country fight to protect themselves from toxic exposures. Most recently, Lois has been working on the ground in Flint, Michigan.

Register online here and read up on the conference agenda information here.  Breakfast and lunch are included in all tickets.  Cohosted by the Massachusetts Climate Action Network and the Toxics Action Center.

Water Quantity

95% of Acton’s households get their water from the Acton Water District. This water comes entirely from shallow water wells from within the boundaries of the Town.  Only certain geological settings are suitable for extracting water, and most of the good sites in Acton have been drilled already, or are not available for drilling. Conscientious conservation measures have kept Acton’s water usage within the boundaries of the available water supply. However, should any of the wells become unavailable, or precipitation patterns change, or development continue unchecked, Acton’s need for water could exceed the  amount of water we can draw from within our borders. What will we do then?


2016 Green Acton comments on WR Grace cleanup plan

Below is the text of Green Acton’s 2016 letter to the EPA about the Grace cleanup site. A PDF is available here Continue reading

Transfer Station

Acton’s Transfer Station is a busy compound that deals not only with disposal of trash, but also, with myriad options for recycling and reuse of the material “stuff” in our lives. Features of the  Transfer Station include:

  • a SMART/PAYT (Save Money And Reduce Trash/Pay As You Throw) pricing system for trash disposal, which ties the cost of disposal to the volume of household trash brought to the Transfer Station (TS). The short version: buy an annual TS sticker, purchase Acton trash bags for household trash at many local retailers, and then become a stellar recycler (thereby reducing household trash disposal costs). There are regular, senior, and recycling-only stickers available; all sticker holders have access to all recycling options.
  • recycling of many materials, including paper and cardboard; glass/plastic/metal containers’ batteries’ cell phones; sharps; fluorescent bulbs; motor oil; antifreeze; concrete/bricks/cement; brush/plant debris; scrap metal; white goods; polystyrene (StyrofoamTM) packing; rigid plastic toys, crates, etc.; aseptic cartons; and fireplace/woodstove ash. For a small fee, e-waste, televisions, propane tanks, and even mattresses can be recycled! See the Guide to Recycling at the Town of Acton Transfer Station.
  • the Food Waste Collection program, which accepts virtually any food waste, as well as house plants or flowers, food-soiled paper (plates, paper towels, envelopes, etc.), animal bedding, wine corks, nut shells, wooden popsicle sticks and chopsticks, sawdust, waxed paper and cardboard, and more. Details here.
  • the Swap Shop — the coolest thing ever! Bring clean items that are in good shape/working order to the Swap Shop, and take home whatever you find that you can use! All free! See more on how the Swap Shop works. Note: The Swap Shop operates with volunteer labor; an increase in the number of volunteers could allow the shop to be open on additional days. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Debby Andell at
  • the bonuses: all TS sticker holders can help themselves to free mulch and compost (limits apply). All Acton residents can purchase discounted home composters, countertop compost buckets, and biodegradable bucket liners at the Highway Department office, 14 Forest Road, Mon.–Fri., 7:30am–3:30pm, or by appointment; 978.929.7740; payment is by cash or check.

Six zero-waste initiatives for Acton

In 2013, Green Acton presented six ideas to the Board of Selectmen on the next best steps on how to reduce material waste in Acton, and thus move the town towards a zero-waste vision.

  1. Swap Shed,
  2. Recycling at Recreation Areas
  3. Better Communications about Recycling
  4. Require Private Haulers to Report Tonnages,
  5. Explore Trash Pricing Options
  6. Extended Producer Responsibility Resolution

Here’s what the selectmen decided in 2013 about these initiatives.

Planting Plan and Volunteer Opportunities

The garden design seeks to create a sustainable tribute to Charlotte, with:

  • flower/foliage characteristics that include drought tolerance;
  • use of native plants, herbs, daisies, groundcovers, bulbs and wildflowers;
  • easy care;
  • fragrant tall plants along the sidewalk to provide screening, and between the children’s library windows;
  • spring to fall continuum of bloom; and a
  • tapestry of varied foliage.

See the planting recommendations for a plant list, volunteer contact info, photos, and other details.

Volunteers are needed to help with:

What: Ongoing garden maintenance— (weeding, watering when needed, etc.),
When: Any two weeks over the summer and fall. Two 1-2 hour visits each week are recommended.
How: Instructions will be supplied.