Recycle Bin in the Snow


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The City of Cambridge offers free, weekly recycling collection to most residential buildings. Recycling is mandatory in Cambridge. 

The recycling program is primarily for:

  • Metal cans and foil
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic containers
  • Paper and cardboard.

Get Rid of It Right

Wondering if an item can go in curbside recycling? Use the Get Rid of It Right tool below to determine how to best get rid of your waste. Or, download and print our Recycling Flyer.

Important Tips:

  • Recyclable items must never be bagged.
  • Empty and rinse containers. No liquids or food residue, please.
  • Cardboard that does not fit in the cart may be broken down and nested next to it.
  • To request recycling carts, compost supplies, flyers and other items visit CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies.

These Items Can NOT Be Recycled:

But they may be diverted from your trash. Use the Get Rid of It Right tool above to learn how to dispose of them.

  • Electronics
  • Clothing & Textiles (rugs, towels, curtains)
  • Plastic bags & Plastic film (air pillows from package deliveries, plastic wrap, shrink wrap)
  • Clothes Hangers
  • Hoses & Cables
  • Pots/ Pans/ Scrap Metal
  • Paper Takeout containers, towels, and plates
Recycling carts containing items that are not accepted may be rejected. Use the Get Rid of It Right tool above if you are unsure if an item can be recycled. 

Recycling Contamination - Learn what you can do to help reduce contamination

Additional Information

Own or manage a multi-unit building? Recycling staff can provide material for new residents and to post in waste collection areas. Staff are also available to give presentations. Contact us for more info -, 617-349-4800. 

Curious about what happens after your recycling is picked up? It's taken to Casella Recycling in Charlestown. Watch this video to learn more! 

The Recycling Advisory Committee meets monthly (with the exception of some summer months) and is responsible for developing and promoting source reduction, recycling and other environmentally desirable methods to be used by Cambridge institutions in dealing with their solid waste and implementing an environmental practices recognition program for Cambridge institutions. To view their meeting minutes please click here

Tips and FAQs

How can I get a recycling cart on wheels?

Recycling carts are available to all residential buildings, City buildings and some nonprofits. Click here to request a toter.

My recycling was not picked up on my regular day.

Recycling must be set out by 7AM on your collection day, or after 6PM the night before. Please report it at CambridgeMA.Gov/311 (preferred) or leave a voicemail at 617-349-4800. Leave materials at the curb and pickup will be done by the end of the next collection day.

Sometimes, your recycling may have received a rejection sticker due to unacceptable items or preparation. Double check that your cart has only the proper materials.

Why was my recycling rejected?

Please don’t recycle these items curbside:

  • Plastic bags & Plastic film (air pillows from package deliveries, plastic wrap, shrink wrap)
  • Clothes Hangers
  • Electronics
  • Clothing & Textiles (rugs, towels, curtains)
  • Hoses & Cables
  • Pots/ Pans/ Scrap Metal
  • Paper Takeout containers, paper towels, and paper plates
Be sure to give recyclables a quick rinse. Use the Get Rid of It Right tool to find locations to determine if you can recycle the items elsewhere.

Will I get a ticket if I put my recycling bin out too early?

Recycling carts cannot be placed on the curb until 6PM the night before collection. Please make sure your cart does not block the sidewalk. Carts that are put out early than 6PM the night before collection are subject to a fine.

Page was last modified on 6/3/2020 11:37 AM
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