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Recycling

Learn about your recycling responsibilities, what materials can and can’t be recycled, acceptable recycling containers, and more!

Boston provides mixed curb-side recycling pickup services for residents. Our recycling program may vary from other cities. It is important that we all do our best to only recycle items that are accepted by Boston’s recycling program. Read on to learn more about recycling in Boston.

Recycling Responsibilities

Recycling Responsibilities
PLACE RECYCLING CURBSIDE NO LATER THAN 6 a.m. ON YOUR COLLECTION DAY
  • To view your collection schedule, download the Trash Day App.
  • Wait until after 5:00pm the evening before your collection day to bring containers curbside to avoid spillage and code violations.
ALL RECYCLING MUST BE PLACED IN A CONTAINER WITH A LID
  • The City supplies large, 64-gallon recycling containers to residents of buildings with six units or less. Request a new bin from Boston 311. 
  • You can also use a smaller than 32-gallon trash can as a recycling bin with a sticker from Boston 311.
RECYCLE RIGHT!
  • Use the waste sorting tool on our Trash Day app to learn what you can and can’t recycle.
  • Plastic shopping bags and black or white trash bags cannot be recycled.
  • Heavy-duty clear plastic bags are ONLY allowed if you do not have enough space in specific neighborhoods. These include Back Bay/ Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Fenway, Mission Hill, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, and West End.
CODE VIOLATION TICKETS
  • If you don’t comply with our regulations, you may receive a ticket from our Code Enforcement Division. 
  • Residents can report offenses to Boston 311.

Appeal a code violation

Pay a code violation

EDUCATE YOUR TENANTS
  • As a Boston landlord, it is your job to educate your tenants on their responsibilities as residents.
  • Tell new tenants to download the Trash Day app for collection day reminders and to use the waste sorting tool.
CHECK IN WITH TENANTS
  • Create a plan with your tenants about how waste will be managed in your building.
MAKE SURE YOUR RESIDENTS HAVE RECYCLING CONTAINERS
  • Boston supplies large, 64-gallon recycling containers to residents of buildings with six units or less. Request a new bin from Boston 311.
  • You can also use a smaller than 32-gallon trash container as a recycling container with a recycling sticker from Boston 311.
  • Heavy-duty clear plastic bags are ONLY allowed if you do not have enough space in specific neighborhoods. These include Back Bay/ Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Fenway, Mission Hill, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, and West End.
CODE VIOLATION TICKETS
  • If you don’t comply with our regulations, you may receive a ticket from our Code Enforcement Division. 
  • Residents can report offenses to Boston 311.

Appeal a code violation

Pay a code violation

LANDLORDS OF 7+ UNIT BUILDINGS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING CURBSIDE RECYCLING CONTAINERS TO TENANTS
  • All containers must have lids.

  • All containers must be serviced regularly.

  • Containers must not be overfilled. This leads to spillage and code violations.

EDUCATE YOUR TENANTS
  • As a Boston landlord, it is your responsibility to educate your tenants on their responsibilities as residents
  • Tell new tenants to download the Trash Day app for collection day reminders and to use the waste sorting tool
  • Scroll down to view our large building recycling toolkit.
PROGRAM MAINTENANCE
  • You, as the landlord, are responsible for keeping your recycling and trash containers maintained, broken carts must be replaced. 
MONITOR YOUR RECYCLING PROGRAM
  • It is important to monitor the success of your recycling program. Regularly check your recycling containers to make sure tenants are recycling correctly. 
CODE VIOLATION TICKETS
  • If you don’t comply with our regulations, you may receive a ticket from our Code Enforcement Division. 
  • Residents can report offenses to Boston 311.

Appeal a code violation

Pay a code violation

Search Recycling

You can search what's recyclable in Boston by using our recycling search tool. When in doubt, search it! 

Search Recycling

Recycling Containers

Containers
Use a large recycling cart
Use a large recycling cart

If you live in a building with six units or less,  you can request a free large blue recycling cart from the City. You can request a cart through BOS:311:

Request a cart

 

Trash can
Convert trash can into recycling bin

You can turn a trash can into a recycling bin with a sticker from 311. The bin should be smaller than 32 gallons and needs a sticker.

Request a sticker

Plastic bag
No plastic bags

Do not put recyclables in plastic grocery bags. Heavy-duty clear plastic bags are only allowed if you do not have enough space for a blue wheeled cart in the following neighborhoods: Back Bay / Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Chinatown and Downtown, East Boston, Fenway, Mission Hill, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, and West End.

Trash and recycling app

Search how to recycle right on your phone.

With our free Trash Day app you can search a directory of hundreds of household items to find out if they're recyclable. You can also view a calendar for your home's collection dates, set reminders, and get notifications of schedule changes. 

Big Residential Buildings (7+ Units)

We offer recycling to residents in buildings with seven or more units.

Ask your property manager, landlord, or condo trustees to call 311 and work out a recycling program for the building. Your building manager will give you a written notice about a new program.

Your building manager needs to buy recycling containers known as carts that range in size from 64 to 96 gallons. You can mix paper, bottles, cans, and plastic containers in the carts.

If you are a business interested in recycling for buildings with seven units or more, you need to contact bigbuildingrecycling@cityofboston.gov.

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