Take Back Your Stuff Cambridge


Attention Cambridge Business Owners:

The Department of Public Works is creating a Google map of Cambridge businesses that take back  products and packaging for reuse, recycling, composting, or other forms of product stewardship. If your business does this, thank you for being a leader in your industry! Please email us at recycle@cambridgema.gov, and let us know what service(s) you provide to the public so we can be sure to include your business on the map. This will be a valuable resource for Cambridge residents, an effective way to connect you with potential customers, and a mark of pride for your business.

DPW will publicize the “Take Back Your Stuff Cambridge” map on our website, email newsletters, and more! The map will be similar to our “Donate Your Stuff Cambridge” map, viewable at http://tinyurl.com/donatemap.

Product stewardship
is defined as “the act of minimizing health, safety, environmental and social impacts, and maximizing economic benefits of a product and its packaging throughout all lifecycle stages.” The producer of the product has the greatest ability to minimize adverse impacts, but other stakeholders, such as suppliers, retailers, and consumers, also play a role. Stewardship can be either voluntary or required by law. Product stewardship is a growing movement in the US and well established in Europe and Canada. Businesses involved with it are attractive to environmentally and socially conscious consumers.
Many Cambridge businesses already take back products and packaging. Here are some examples: 

  1. Shaw’s and Whole Foods take back clean plastic bags for recycling.
  2. Whole Foods on Prospect St takes back food scraps for composting, and Brita filters and #5 plastic products for recycling.
  3. Central Square Florist takes back vases, and gives customers a greeting card in return.
  4. General Optical takes back used eyeglasses for refurbishment and reuse.
  5. Watch Imports & Services Co. takes back watch batteries for recycling.
  6. Best Buy takes back many types of electronics, including cell phones, computers, televisions, CDs and DVDs for recycling.
  7. H&M takes back clothing for reuse and recycling.

So, consider how can your business support the Cambridge community and our environment through take back programs? Will your business be a local leader in product stewardship, so that we can include you on the “Take Back Your Stuff Cambridge” map?  

Thank you for your consideration and efforts. Please email us at recycle@cambridgema.gov describing your take back programs, or contact Ms. Randi Mail, Recycling Director at 617.349.4866 with any questions. 



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Dept of Public Works

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