U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Curbside Collection Bins


Public Works

Blue Cart Recycling

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:

  • Place items loose in the recycle cart. Do not bag recyclables.
  • No food or liquids. Lightly rinse containers.
  • Flatten 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 it next to the recycle cart.
  • Use this form to request flyers, recycle cart labels, and other resources

Do NOT place these items in your recycle cart. Use the Get Rid of It Right tool for proper disposal:

  • Electronics
  • Clothing & Textiles (rugs, towels, curtains, etc)
  • Plastic bags & Plastic film (air pillows from package deliveries, plastic wrap, shrink wrap)
  • Clothes Hangers
  • Straps, Cables & Hoses
  • Pots/ Pans/ Scrap Metal
  • Paper Takeout Containers, Paper towels, Napkins, & 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 what happens to the different materials after they are sorted in Charlestown.

Curbside recycling and compost collection are available to some small businesses. Technical assistance to help small businesses with waste diversion is also available. Email recycle@cambridgema.gov for more information.

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.

To go back to the main waste collections webpage, click here.


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 5/30/2024 4:40 PM
Contact Us

How can we help?

Please provide as much detail below as possible so City staff can respond to your inquiry:

As a governmental entity, the Massachusetts Public Records Law applies to records made or received by the City. Any information received through use of this site is subject to the same provisions as information provided on paper.

Read our complete privacy statement

Service Requests

Enter a service request via SeeClickFix for things like missed trash pickups, potholes, etc.