What We Do
The Solid Waste Division, headed by the Manager of Environmental Services, is comprised of Recycling, Rubbish and Street Cleaning, who work together to improve the cleanliness of the City while increasing recycling and decreasing trash disposal. Cambridge residents have consistently given high marks to the Division’s work and the Division will continue work to maintain and improve the quality of its services.
The Recycling Division works to encourage people to consume less, reuse and donate materials, and recycle what cannot be eliminated or re-used. The Division’s largest program is the weekly curbside collection of materials that must be recycled under State law—including paper, cardboard, bottles, cans, and yard waste—from residents, City buildings, and schools. The Division maintains and monitors the curbside recycling contract and a Recycling Center open to Cambridge residents, and businesses and non-profits with 50 or fewer employees.
The Rubbish Division plays in important role in maintaining a clean, healthy city through weekly curbside pickup of solid waste from residential areas, public buildings, schools and certain commercial accounts. The Division collects large items for disposal from residents; some items are free but need to be scheduled and some items require the purchase of an Appliance/Large item disposal permit before pickup. The Division also enforces the City's Refuse and Litter Ordinance. These programs support the City’s rodent control, cleanliness and environmental efforts. The Division also supports Household Hazardous Waste collection events three times each year in order to divert toxics from the waste stream.
The Street Cleaning Division is responsible for maintaining clean public ways through mechanical street sweeping throughout the city, and a combination of mechanical street and sidewalk sweeping, hand sweeping and litter collection in City Squares every day. Contractual street sweeping, which runs from April through December each year, includes the cleaning of approximately 12,000 street miles and the disposal of over 5,000 tons of street refuse annually. Citywide street sweeping includes twice yearly vacuum sweeping, which improves stormwater quality. The Division also has a power washer which is used to clean public area trash and recycling receptacles, and to operate a graffiti removal program on both public and private property (with owner permission).
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