Orange Trash Truck

Trash Collection

Public Works

Waste remaining after you’ve reused, recycled or composted can go into trash barrels and plastic bags not exceeding 50 gallons or 50 pounds. Please use the Get Rid of It Right tool below to see if the item can be recycled or if there is a different method of disposal before throwing it in the trash.


Important Tips:

  • Trash barrels are supplied by the resident or property owner and must be rodent-resistant with tight-fitting lids.
  • Barrels may be placed at the curb after 6PM the night before collection or by 7AM on collection day.
  • Trash not placed in a barrel may only be placed at the curb in heavy-duty bags (3 mils thick or more). No thin kitchen trash bags.
  • Trash bags may only be placed at the curb on the day of collection, not the night before. This is to help control rodent activity.
  • Barrels must be removed from the curb by 6PM on the day of collections.

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

If you have a disability-related need for an exemption to the 6PM receptacle removal requirement, please contact:

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


Tips and FAQs

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.


What size trash barrel or trash bag can I use?

Trash barrels and bags cannot exceed 50 gallons or 50 pounds.  Trash bags must be heavy duty, no thin grocery or kitchen bags allowed.  Barrels larger than 50 gallons will be rejected.

City Ordinance limits the weight and size of trash barrels to 50 pounds to protect rubbish workers from injury. The large recycling toters on wheels provided by the City are allowed because the recycling trucks mechanically lift and empty them into the truck.


I'm aware that the City requires trash barrels to have tight-fitting lids, but my lids "disappeared" after trash collection.

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

You may also attach the handles of your lid and barrel with a piece of rope. Local retailers also sell trash barrels with attached lids.

Page was last modified on 10/24/2019 11:51 AM
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