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City of Boston offering expanded recycling resources for residents

City of Boston expands residential yard waste options and installs textile dropboxes in neighborhoods throughout the City.  

Following through with recommendations made in the City of Boston's first ever Zero Waste Plan, the Boston Public Works Department (PWD) in partnership with northeast-based textile recycling company, Helpsy, began delivering dropboxes for residents to dispose of their textiles to municipal parking lots across Boston. These dropboxes are part of the City of Boston's work to expand recycling services citywide, creating a healthier and greener environment for generations to come. 

"Reducing waste is a core element of ensuring Boston is a healthy, thriving and sustainable city," said Mayor Walsh. "This program moves us one step closer to our ultimate goal of becoming a Zero Waste City, and we will continue to work hard to achieve Boston's environmental goals."  

For residents looking to drop off their household textiles, including clothes, shoes, sneakers, bags, stuffed animals, bedding and towels, those items must be dry and placed into a secured plastic bag. Dropboxes can be found at municipal lots in Brighton, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, South Boston, Roslindale and West Roxbury. 

Textile dropbox locations include: 

  • 398 Market Street, Brighton

  • 191 Adams Street, Dorchester

  • 20 Georgia Street, Dorchester

  • 575 Washington Street, Dorchester

  • 166 London Street, East Boston

  • 37 Winthrop Street, Hyde Park

  • 490 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

  • 450 West Broadway, South Boston

  • 10 Taft Hill Terrace, Roslindale

  • 39-41 Corey Street, West Roxbury

Once sorted and graded, 95 percent of textiles collected are reused, upcycled, or recycled, 75 percent being reused, and 20 percent being recycled. The higher grades are resold to thrift stores in North America and other second hand markets around the world. The lower grades get turned into rags for industrial use or alternative functions like stuffing or insulation. In just the last year, Helpsy has collected and processed over 25 million pounds of textiles. 

In addition to textiles, roughly 30 percent of what gets put into the trash in Boston is compostable. Boston has expanded its leaf and yard waste curbside collection program from 17 to 20 weeks a year. The City is offering 20 additional weekends where yard waste can be dropped off at the Public Works composting facility on American Legion Highway. All residential yard waste is turned into compost and distributed to City Gardens and Boston Parks and Recreation Department greenhouses. Leaf and yard waste curbside collection will continue every week through December 11th. 

"While residents are familiar with recycling plastics, glass, metal and paper, many residents don't know they can recycle textiles," said Chief of Streets Chris Osgood. "We hope the availability of neighborhood textile dropboxes along with other expanded services Boston is offering raises awareness that almost everything in our lives is recyclable."  

The City of Boston continues to  encourage residents to utilize tools like the City's free "Trash Day" app. The app enables Boston residents to search a directory of hundreds of household items to find out the right way to dispose of them while on the go or at home. App users can also view a calendar for their home's collection dates, set reminders, get notifications of schedule changes, and locate the nearest textile dropbox in your neighborhood.  

Boston residents can also safely dispose of hazardous waste, shred unwanted documents, discard textiles and recycle electronics for free at a series of Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off events

These programs build on Boston's Zero Waste Plan, which was released in June 2019. This plan includes 30 near- and long-term strategies to divert at least 80 percent of the City's waste from landfills and municipal solid waste combustors by 2035. 

Key pieces of the plan include expanding Boston's composting program, increasing access to recycling opportunities and launching a city-wide education campaign on recycling. Approximately six percent of Boston's greenhouse gas emissions come from the City's discarded materials. By reducing waste, recycling more, and composting, Boston can reduce emissions associated with waste and move one step closer to its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, outlined in the City's 2019 Climate Action Plan update. While reducing emissions, the City is working to prepare for sea level rise and the impacts of climate change. Resilient Boston Harbor is the City's vision plan to strengthen Boston's 47-mile shoreline through expanded and connected green space. The City has already completed segments of the vision through district-level projects in East BostonCharlestown, and South Boston, and is currently working on climate resiliency measures for Downtown and Dorchester.

About the Public Works Department:

The Boston Public Works Department (PWD) provides core services essential to neighborhood quality of life. PWD directs general construction, maintenance, and cleaning of approximately 802 miles of roadways throughout the City. PWD operates two major drawbridges, maintains 68,055 street lights, and supervises contracts for the removal and disposal of approximately 190,000 tons of solid waste. We also operate Boston's recycling program with an annual diversion of approximately 45,000 tons. Follow them on Twitter @BostonPWD.


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