Recycling in Boston
If we recycle right, we can reduce waste by 40 percent in Boston. Learn more about recycling in Boston below.
You can search what's recyclable in Boston by using our recycling search tool. When in doubt, search it!
Recycle Right: Know what you can recycle
Remove food, pizza savers (pizza tables), and linersBOOKS
Paperback and telephone booksSPIRAL CANS
This includes potato chips and coffee cans
All containers, including food, soda, water bottles, and jars
Jars and bottles
Flattened cardboard boxes (no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet; must be bundled and tied)
Newspaper, magazines, catalogs, white and colored paper
Aluminum and tin cans
Includes paper bags, egg cartons, and rolls
Recycle Right: Know what you can't recycle
For example, Styrofoam, napkins, paper towels, tissues, straws, and coffee pods
Plastic grocery bags and plastic garbage bags cannot be recycled, and should not be put in your curbside recycling bin. You can return clean plastic bags to a participating retailer for recycling.
Food waste ELECTRONICS
Electronics includes batteries and light bulbs. We host electronic recycling drop-off events during the year for City of Boston residents.PLASTIC wraps
This includes film and tarps
Containers for chemicals and motor oil
We hold household hazardous waste drop-off days for Boston residents four times a year.
DRINK AND FOOD BOXES
Juice, milk, and frozen food boxes
Pots, pans, and glass
No hoses, wires, or chains
Including shoes and stuffed animals
If you live in a building with six units or less, you can request a free large blue recycling cart from the City. You can request a cart through BOS:311:
You can turn a trash can into a recycling bin with a sticker from 311. The bin should be smaller than 32 gallons and needs a sticker.
Do not put recyclables in plastic grocery bags. Heavy-duty clear plastic bags are only allowed if you do not have enough space for a blue wheeled cart in the following neighborhoods: Back Bay / Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Chinatown and Downtown, East Boston, Fenway, Mission Hill, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, and West End.
Trash and recycling app
Search how to recycle right on your phone.
With our free Trash Day app you can search a directory of hundreds of household items to find out if they're recyclable. You can also view a calendar for your home's collection dates, set reminders, and get notifications of schedule changes.
Large residential buildings
We offer recycling to residents in buildings with seven or more units.
Ask your property manager, landlord, or condo trustees to call 311 and work out a recycling program for the building. Your building manager will give you a written notice about a new program.
Your building manager needs to buy recycling containers known as carts that range in size from 64 to 96 gallons. You can mix paper, bottles, cans, and plastic containers in the carts.
If you are a business interested in recycling for buildings with seven units or more, you need to contact email@example.com.