Curbside Collection Bins

Recycling

Public Works

Blue Cart

Cambridge offers free weekly recycling collection to residential buildings and some small businesses. Recycling is mandatory in Cambridge; items on the curbside recycling list are banned from disposal as trash in Massachusetts.

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.
  • Please break down cardboard to help make it more manageable. If you have cardboard that won’t fit in the cart, nest it inside a larger box and place next to the recycle cart.
  • To request recycling carts, compost supplies, flyers and other items visit CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies.

These Items Can NOT Be Recycled Curbside:

  • 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, etc)
  • Plastic bags & Plastic film (air pillows from package deliveries, plastic wrap, shrink wrap)
  • Clothes Hangers
  • Hoses & Cables
  • Pots/ Pans/ Scrap Metal
  • Paper Takeout Containers, Paper towels, Napkins, and Paper 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

Multi-family properties are responsible for making sure residents have the collection containers and information to maximize recycling. Use this form to request flyers, recycle cart labels, and other resources. Recycling information should be distributed annually. Contact us for technical assistance, such as a site visit or a presentation for your residents: recycle@cambridgema.gov, 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 see how the sorting happens. See here for information on where recyclable commodities are sent after it’s processed in Charlestown.

Businesses interested in recycling and other services, please email recycle@cambridgema.gov for technical assistance or to see what City services are available for businesses.

The Recycling Advisory Committee meets 10 times per year to advise and support the City on its waste diversion efforts. 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. Click here to request a recycling cart. If you are a nonprofit, City building, or a business, please email us to determine eligibility for recycling.

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.

What do I do if my recycling doesn't fit in the cart?

Please try to fit all recycling in the cart(s). If not possible, flatten cardboard and place it inside a bigger box so the driver can easily grab it.You may also put recyclables in a paper bag or cardboard box and place next to the cart. 

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, Napkins, and Paper Plates

Be sure to give recyclables a quick rinse. Many of the items listed above may be recycled in other processes; use the Get Rid of It Right tool to find out how to properly manage this waste.

 

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 3/18/2021 10:09 AM
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