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Orange Trash Truck

Trash Collection

Public Works

New trash carts are coming in June 6-24!

The Department of Public Works (DPW) will deliver standard trash carts to all buildings where we collect trash. Beginning June 27, 2022, DPW will only empty the standard trash carts provided by the city. In mid-April, residents should have received a postcard from the City with information about this change. 

To change your trash cart size or number:

  • See your building’s default size and number of carts here.
  • We cannot change your building’s scheduled trash cart delivery. The deadline was May 17th.
  • Please request a change at CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies for after your new carts arrive. We will notify you by email with details on how to get the proper trash cart for your property.
  • We will not make any requested changes until after you receive the new carts.  

Scroll down to the FAQ section for:

  • When new trash carts will be delivered
  • What to do with your old barrels 
  • How the carts will combat rodents
  • And more
 

 

For information on how to dispose of waste and to use the Get Rid of It Right search tool, visit the main curbside collections page: CambridgeMA.Gov/Recycle.

Public Works has two compliance officers who check the collection routes on a daily basis to ensure compliance with the Refuse and Litter Ordinance



Do I have to use the city-issued trash cart?

After June 27th we will only empty city-issued carts. 

When will the new carts be delivered?

This is the current plan for when the new trash carts will arrive. Delivery dates may change slightly due to unforeseen issues.

If your trash is picked up on:

Monday, your carts will arrive between Thursday 6/16 and Saturday 6/18

Tuesday, your carts will arrive between Thursday 6/9 and Saturday 6/11

Wednesday, your carts will arrive between Tuesday 6/21 and Thursday 6/23

Thursday, your carts will arrive between Monday 6/13 and Wednesday 6/15

Friday, your carts will arrive between Monday 6/6 and Wednesday 6/8

 

For calendar view click here.

What do I do with my old trash barrels?

Use it for Yard Waste.

  • Trash barrels that are less than 45 gallons can be used for yard waste collection by adding a yard waste sticker. Request a sticker here.
  • Your trash barrel may have its size stamped on it. Most residents’ trash barrels are 45-50 gallons.

Recycle it – Leave your old empty barrel at the curb during the dates below. DPW will collect and recycle them for you

If your trash is picked up on:

  • Monday, your old barrels will be collected on Wednesday 6/22 - Thursday 6/23
  • Tuesday, your old barrels will be collected on Wednesday 6/15 - Thursday 6/16.
  • Wednesday, your old barrels will be collected on Friday 6/24 - Saturday 6/25.
  • Thursday, your old barrels will be collected on Friday 6/17 - Saturday 6/18.
  • Friday, your old barrels will be collected on Saturday 6/11 - Monday 6/13.

For calendar view click here.

Donate it - consider giving your GOOD CONDITION bin away to a local building materials donation location or on exchange websites or social media. 

  

What do I do if I did not get a trash cart?

My neighbor got trash carts, but I didn’t get any: Please wait until the end of the three day delivery period for your area. They will be doing spot checks and clean up until then. If they were not dropped off at the end of delivery period, please submit a request at www.CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies 

  • Note: If your building has multiple addresses (for example: 10-12 Example Rd), all the carts for that hyphenated address were delivered and marked for one of the two address numbers. The carts should be shared between the households. 

No one in my neighborhood/block got trash carts: Please wait until the end of the three day delivery period for your area. Please submit a request at www.CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies and we’ll get you into the schedule for swapping it out.  

I got the wrong size carts. I want different size carts. I want carts removed.

Please submit a request at www.CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies and we’ll get you into the schedule for swapping it out.

You can check the default size and number of carts for a building or property of your size. Based on data from two city audits of curbside trash volume per household, this will provide a generous amount of space for regular weekly trash. The default trash cart delivery is approximately 45-gallons per household. The average household produces 27 gallons of trash each week. For households that compost, it’s closer to 22 gallons per week.  

My old trash barrel was not picked up for special recycling.

Please wait until the end of the two to three day collection period for your area. If they were not picked up off at the end that period, please let us know in the comments of www.CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies and we will be in touch about scheduling a collection.

Note: please do not use the “I Need a Cart Removed” section. Only use the Comments section.  

What size cart will I get?

See this PDF for the default size and number of carts based on building size. 

We are delivering two default cart sizes:

65-gallon carts:

This is a similar size as the smaller blue recycling cart. (The size used at one or two-unit buildings.)

  • Height: 43 inches
  • Width: 26 inches
  • Depth: 30 inches

45-gallon carts:

Most trash barrels at the curb now are about 45 to 50 gallons.

  • Height: 40 inches
  • Width: 23 inches
  • Depth: 28 inches

You can also request a smaller cart at CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies

35-gallon carts:

This is a similar size to the large green compost carts with the grey locks.

  • Height: 38 inches
  • Width: 20 inches
  • Depth: 25 inches

The width and depth measurements include the wheels of the cart.

I don’t have space for the new carts.

If you are concerned about having space to store your new cart(s), you could

  • Height: 38 inches

  • Width: 20 inches

  • Depth: 25 inches

  • Share with a neighbor and request a bigger cart for their property.

I need more space for trash. How did the City decide how many carts to provide?

Based on data from two city audits of curbside trash volume per household, this will provide a generous amount of space for regular weekly trash. The default trash cart delivery is approximately 45-gallons per household. The average household produces 27 gallons of trash each week. For households that compost, it’s closer to 22 gallons per week

To make more space in your trash cart, we offer:

More or larger recycle carts at CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies. (It can help to a pair each room’s trash bin with a recycling container.)

Compost carts and kitchen compost bins at CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies . We accept all food scraps, and food soiled napkins and paper towels. 

Home pick-up for clothing and textile recycling. Even clothes and shoes in poor condition are not trash.

Our Get Rid of It Right Tool to look up what to do with an item. It’s also on our Zero Waste Cambridge app (iOS|Android). Residents use it more than 500 times a day!

On the rare occasions when you need more space than your trash cart, you can use a heavy-duty trash bag. Bags must be heavy duty at least 3 mils thick (e.g., contractor bags). Bags cannot exceed 50 gallons or 50 pounds. No thin grocery or kitchen bags allowed. Trash bags may only be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on the day of collection, not the night before. Food items should not go in the plastic bags as it attracts rodents. Another idea is that you could talk to a neighbor about sharing extra space in each other’s carts on the occasions when one of you may need little more space.

That said we understand that each household is different. If you feel that there are extenuating circumstances and you will regularly need more space than the default provides, enter a brief reasoning (3 sentences or less) to in the comment section of CambridgeMA.Gov/RecycleSupplies

Why will Cambridge use standard city-issued trash carts beginning June 2022?

The goal of the Standard Trash Cart program is to improve: 

 
  • Rodent control and public health. The new carts will reduce easy access to food for rodents.

  • Worker Safety. The trucks can mechanically lift and empty the new carts. This will reduce lifting impacts on DPW staff.

  • Sidewalk accessibility. Lids are attached to the cart and will not fall on the sidewalk. Larger buildings will need fewer carts because their carts will be bigger (65 gallons instead of 50 gallons). This leads to fewer sidewalk obstructions.

How do new trash carts help prevent and control rodents?

To reduce rodents, we need to remove easy access to food in our trash. A rat can survive on one ounce of food a day.

The new carts will reduce easy access to food for rodents by

  • Removing old trash barrels with holes.  About 45% of residential trash bins had holes due to rodents. 

  • Being made of thicker plastic that barrels bought at hardware stores.

 

The free Curbside Compost program is one of the best ways to combat rodents. Compost carts were made to be rodent resistant with

 
  • Thick plastic and

  • Locks or latches to secure food waste.

 

For more on rodent prevention and control visit CambridgeMA.Gov/Rodents.

Will bags be accepted for trash collection?

Bags are strongly discouraged.

We need everyone help reduce rodents by using the carts. Carts also improve worker safety.

No thin grocery or kitchen bags allowed. Bags must be heavy duty at least 3 mils thick (e.g., contractor bags). Bags cannot exceed 50 gallons or 50 pounds. Trash bags may only be placed at the curb by 7 a.m. on the day of collection, not the night before. Food items should not go in the plastic bags as it attracts rodents.

What will remain the same after the switch to trash carts?

Barrels may be placed at the curb after 6PM the night before collection or by 7AM on collection day. Barrels must be removed from the curb by 6PM on the day of collections.

Public Works Managers will continue to work with rubbish workers to ensure that trash carts are put back in front of the property where they were set out.

Public Works has two compliance officers who check the collection routes daily to ensure compliance with the Refuse and Litter Ordinance.  

My Compost/Recycling/Trash/Yard Waste was not picked up on my regular collection day

All waste must be set out by 7AM on your collection day, or after 6PM the night before. If you think any waste collection was missed, 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.


How do I apply for a disability-related exemption to the 6PM receptacle removal requirement?

Please contact:

Commission for Persons with Disabilities 
51 Inman St., Second Floor
Kate Thurman
617-349-4692 (voice)
617-492-0235 (TTY)
kthurman@cambridgema.gov

Page was last modified on 7/28/2022 3:18 PM
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