The EcoFellow Experience: Recycling in Action

By Matt Brodeur, Green Business Services EcoFellow

Photos by Ben Coe, Program Support Specialist

Have you ever wondered where your recyclables go after they get picked up from the curbside or you drop them off at the transfer station? The EcoFellows and other CET staff had the opportunity to see the next step of the recycling process in action at the Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), where most of Western Massachusetts sends its recyclables. MRFs sort the contents of your recycling bins into different categories such as cardboard, #1 plastic (PET), and aluminum. Then, manufacturers purchase the recycled materials to create new products. For example, #1 plastic soda bottles can be recycled and remanufactured to create polyester clothing!

Recycling MRF

A bale of recycled paper ready to be trucked away to be made into next week’s newspapers.

The Springfield MRF, owned by MassDEP and operated by Waste Management, has been sorting and selling the recyclables of Western Mass since it started up its conveyor belts in 1990. The tour of the MRF was a window into the colossal U.S. recycling industry which generates nearly $100 billion in economic activity each year.

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The EcoFellow Experience: Lexie Vining

Outreach and Education EcoFellow, Lexie, reporting from Northampton, MA!

Before moving to Western Massachusetts in August 2016, I had lived in New York my entire life, except for an exciting semester abroad in New Zealand. I am originally from the Catskill Mountains, but found myself near the Canadian border for college at St. Lawrence University (SLU). During my time at SLU, I majored in Environmental Studies and Psychology, and minored in Sociology. Among many of the clubs and organizations I was a part of, one of the most influential experiences I had was working for the Center for Civic Engagement. The emphasis of the programming is to develop citizenship and leadership skills through community-based learning. For the beginning part of my college career, I was a Community Mentor and later transitioned to an Education and Outreach Specialist. My experience with the CCE prepared me well for my position at CET, as I gained a deep understanding of the impact that outreach has on the surrounding communities.

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Founder Joel “Ned” Nisson Visits the Center for EcoTechnology

Joel “Ned” Nisson founded what is now the Center for EcoTechnology in 1976. Today he visited our offices to see where his vision has come in the past four decades.

Fellows Lexie Vining and Matt Brodeur share their thoughts:

“This week we were fortunate to meet with Joel “Ned” Nisson and his wife Julie to reflect on the past 40 years since CET was established. Joel founded the “Center for Ecological Technology” because he envisioned an opportunity to incorporate science and technology into the still nascent environmental movement. It was a humbling experience to meet the person whose vision paved the way for an enduring organization that has made such a sizable impact over four decades.

CET has changed and grown a lot since Joel developed it in 1976, yet our core values of basing our work on science and offering practical solutions remain the same.”

-Matt & Lexie

You can learn more about the history of the Center for EcoTechnology by clicking here. 


From left to right: Casey Simpson, Aliza Heeren, Matt Brodeur, Chiara Favaloro,
John Majercak, Joel Nisson, Julie Nisson, Nancy Nylen, Lexie Vining, Katie Costantini

Thank You for your #GivingTuesday Generosity!

#GivingTuesday has come and gone, and by all accounts it was a success across the board. Thank you very much for your support! Your contribution helps us to continue our outreach and education work in communities across Massachusetts. It also supports the EcoFellowship, which helps us train the next generation of environmental leaders. It all helps us continue to make green make sense. Thank you again!


Didn’t have a chance to make a contribution on #GivingTuesday? Visit our Donate page today!

Going Green Together to Celebrate #GivingTuesday!

By Chiara Favaloro, Marketing Fellow

Next Tuesday, November 29, join the worldwide movement and give back to your community by participating in Giving Tuesday! This international celebration of giving involves over 700,000 people from 70 different countries, who come together to give what they can to influential charities and organizations.

One of the best ways to get involved is at the local level. Here at the Center for EcoTechnology, we help our community go green together! Our outreach and education team connects with over 3,000 people around western Massachusetts each year. We travel to over 25 towns, reaching from the Berkshires to Boston, helping people to save money and find even more ways to be environmentally conscious. Our mission is to make green make sense for everyone!

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