Climate ChangeGreenovateRenew Boston


By October 23, 2019 No Comments

As the City launches its zero waste planning process, we asked ourselves what does a zero waste Boston look like?

Earlier this summer the City of Boston launched its zero waste planning process. Working with a broad range of stakeholders, Boston will develop a zero waste plan that will support waste reduction while also creating opportunities for repair, reuse, recycling, composting, and remanufacturing. The zero waste planning process is an action outlined in the City’s 2014 Updated Climate Action Plan, and an important step towards making Boston a carbon free city by 2050.

What does a zero waste Boston look like?

A zero waste Boston opens up opportunities to build community and create a healthier city for everyone. To demonstrate one way people can reduce their waste at home, we teamed up with the beantrust and CIC Boston to reuse used coffee grounds.

The zero waste team collects used coffee grounds from CIC Boston’s offices at 50 Milk Street. These coffee grounds are produced by the employees that work in CIC’s offices. Erik Modahl of the beantrust separates the coffee grounds from the paper coffee filters, ensuring clean coffee grounds. Erik then walks them over to City Hall, and once at City Hall, we take them up to the 9th floor where city employees have container gardens. The grounds are placed in a bin and are open for anyone to use in their own gardens.

Greenovate Boston’s garden is growing select herbs such as mint, lemon verbena, and lemongrass. These herbs are then harvested and used to make teas and herbal infusions. According to a paper published by Washington State University, applying coffee grounds directly to your garden is safe. Used coffee grounds used as mulch increases soil moisture and can help reduce the amount of water used in your garden, among other benefits.

This closed-loop, zero waste process demonstrates one simple way, where you, at home, can help reduce your own impact on the environment. By diverting coffee grounds and other compostable organics (and caring for greenery and savings water!), you’re contributing to the City’s goal of being a carbon free city by 2050.

Get involved

Boston’s zero waste planning process is just beginning, and there will be a lot of opportunity to get involved in this process. We’ll also be highlighting additional opportunities to learn more about zero waste. To stay up-to-date on the zero waste process sign up to receive updates here.