Redesigning a Recycling Transfer Station in Needham, Massachusetts

18th August 2020

Needham, MA, is a town outside Boston where residents take their trash and recycling to the local Recycling Transfer Station (RTS). We were asked to produce an evaluation and redesign for an updated and improved RTS.

Our US team started the project by visiting the site of the current Recycling Transfer Station. At the time of the evaluation, the site had space for garbage and recycling drop-off, a truck for Goodwill, and special waste drop-off which included lightbulbs, batteries, electronic waste and mattresses, among other material.

Our consultants conducted a thorough evaluation of the site, counting the number of visitors per hour and the length of time spent at the site. We also conducted a survey of local residents to better understand the requirements of the local community, and the issues they had with the current service.

The priorities for the redesign of the RTS were:

  • to improve safety for residents and workers;
  • to increase the capacity of the site; and,
  • to improving separation of the different functions of the site to make it more user-friendly.

Our sites and planning team produced three designs for the site to give the developers a range of options. These plans went through a series of discussions and revisions, before being send to the sub-contractor, Goldman Environmental Consultants, for costing the design.

The re-designed site will encourage greater reuse, safer operations and an overall more efficient operation for the town and its residents.

Sydnee Grushack, our project lead, said:

“The improvements to Needham’s RTS will allow the Town’s waste services to operate more safely and efficiently while continuing and reinforcing their commitment to divert as much material as possible from the landfill and serving as a model to similar municipalities.”


Image courtesy of Garrett Ziegler via Flikr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.