public works department

Bin and Bag Details


                                                                              Bin & Bag Details

What are the sizes of the kitchen containers and bins?
The green kitchen containers are 2.5 gallons, called the MaxAir bin, made by BioBag USA. The kitchen container is ventilated and the Biobags breathe. This design lets heat escape and moisture evaporate. This lets food scraps dry out, which slows the rotting process and avoids odor. The green curbside bins will be available in two sizes:  12 (for single family homes) and 21 gallons (for multi-family buildings up to 12 units).  These bins are much smaller than the recycling toters (which are 65 gallons).  Multi-family buildings can request a second curbside bin if one is not enough.

 Norseman green bin

Does the green curbside bin lock?
Yes.  The bin is a durable plastic on wheels with a secure locking lid that is resistant to pests.

Tell me about the compostable bags I will receive.  Why are plastic bags not accepted?
Each participating household will receive a year supply of BioBags to line the kitchen container, enough to empty the bin 2-3 times per week.  Unlike regular plastic bags, BioBags are made from plant and vegetable oils/ resins that can be consumed by micro organisms that live in our soils.  This means that the bag can easily be composted with the  food scraps and soiled paper.  Please DO NOT use plastic bags to collect your food scraps.  Plastic bags are not compostable and considered a contaminant in the program.

If you need more, you may purchase certified compostable bags from the following retailers:

Cambridge Naturals, 23 White Street, Cambridge
Pemberton Farms, 2225 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
Harvest Co-op, 580 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge
Whole Foods, 545 Concord Ave, Cambridge
Star Market, 275 Beacon St, Somerville

How many compostable BioBags will I receive? What happens if I run out? to replace 2-3 times per week
You will receive 150 compostable bags, allowing you enough bags to fill your bags with compostable material 2-3 times per week. Place the BioBags in the green curbside bin. This amount should be sufficient. If you need more, local retailers including Whole Foods, Tags, and Pemberton Farms do sell compostable bags (typically about $5 for a box of 25). Acceptable bags must have the US Composting Council logo. Please not that if you plan on leaving your residents for a long period of time (2+ days), please tie and place your BioBag in your curbside bin.

How can I clean my kitchen container and bin?
You can clean your kitchen container in the dishwasher.  If needed, you can clean the curbside bin with soap and water.  Please drain the water onto a grassy area.  Wash water should never enter a catch basin because it goes straight to the Charles River. 

Visiting City Hall

Cambridge City Hall

795 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge MA, 02139
Ph: 617-349-4000
TTY: 617-349-4242

Hours of Service

Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Louis DePasquale
City Manager

Lisa C. Peterson
Deputy City Manager