NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 9, 2013

'Recycling czar' has plans to make Port greener

NEWBURYPORT — If it’s true that one person’s trash represents another’s treasure, Molly Ettenborough is emerging as a valuable broker between households getting rid of unwanted material and the city benefiting from the disposal.

Ettenborough is the city’s energy and recycling coordinator. She has several programs ready to roll out this fall, and one of her goals is to save and/or generate money while supporting recycling, clean energy and a greater awareness of a smaller human footprint.

“We have a lot going on this fall, and we try to develop new initiatives, especially if they save money,” said Ettenborough, who works in the city’s Health Department.

“This community has a high level of consciousness regarding a cleaner environment and we have received good support.”

A graduate of Boston University (’82) in environmental education, Ettenborough worked for Joe Kennedy’s Citizens Energy for almost two decades before starting with the city in 2007.

Perhaps because Citizens Energy evolved as an entrepreneurial enterprise, Ettenborough’s frame of reference is one that looks to generate dollars as well as clean curbsides.

Ettenborough was a key player in altering the manner in which trash is collected here, and the community saves $40,000 to $80,000 per year by producing less “trash” and more recyclable matter.

She championed the city’s solar energy net-metering project, and as a result the city realizes a savings of about $45,000 per year on municipal energy costs.

And she helped launch a city-state program to encourage solar panels, resulting in 48 homes and businesses being equipped and producing an eventual savings.

Ettenborough has also introduced an eRecyle program that has tripled the number of electronics and machines collected. The city receives revenue from the copper and metal it sells.

The program enables adults with disabilities to learn skills in the recycling field.

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