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Did you know? On average, over half of your waste can be recycled, which saves taxpayer money.

For the most part, all rigid and hard plastics, metals, and papers can be recycled. Common items include aluminum and tin cans, paper coffee cups, pizza boxes, newspapers and magazines, and soda cans and bottles.

Non-recyclable items include Styrofoam, plastic bags, motor oil containers, and chemical containers.

Check out the City’s Recycling and Trash Directory to look up how to properly dispose of your waste.

Click on each of the topics below to learn more about recycling:

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Curbside recycling: 1-6 unit households

Boston has curbside single-stream recycling, which means you don’t need to sort – just throw all recyclables in the blue bins. Public Works Department  provides 64-gallon wheeled recycling carts, or you can convert a trash can to a recycling can by requesting a sticker. Residents in Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Chinatown, Downtown, East Boston, Fenway, Mission Hill, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, and West End may use clear plastic bags. Please visit the City’s clear bag partner Waste Zero, for details about the clear bag recycling program and participating retailers.

For more information, please visit the Department of Public Works website.

Recycling in housing with 7 or more units

By law, all residential buildings are mandated to provide their residents with recycling services. To obtain recycling services for your building, residents need to have their landlords, property managers or condo trustees call the Mayor’s Hotline 617-635-4500 to place a large building recycling program request.

Recycling plastic bags

Plastic bags are NOT recyclable in blue bins. But most major supermarkets collect plastic bags for recycling. Visit plasticbagrecycling.org for supermarkets that accept plastic bags back. Note: saran wrap and cling wrap cannot be recycled.

Electronics recycling

Unwanted consumer electronics – cell and smart phones, computers and monitors, televisions, DVD and MP3 players, pagers, PDAs and other devices – are the fastest-growing category of waste in Massachusetts. The City of Boston periodically hosts electronic recycling drop-off events. Event information will be posted on the Public Works webpage as drop-off events are scheduled. The City will also collect certain items such as computer monitors, TVs, water coolers, dehumidifiers, refrigerators or air conditioners. You must request a special item pickup online or by calling the Mayor’s Hotline at 617-635-4500. Do not place items on the curb without a special item pickup scheduled.

There are also a number of drop-off and mail-in programs available through retailers, including:

  • Apple
    iPhones and iPods. Mail-in.
  • AT&T Wireless
    Cell phones and PDAs, plus accessories and batteries for those devices. In-store drop-off (AT&T-operated and participating authorized dealer stores only).
  • Best Buy
    All stores accept desktop and notebook computers and peripherals, DVD and VCR players, small electronics, telephones, and televisions and monitors up to 32 inches. Company also offers recycling grants to municipalities and non-profit organizations.
  • Dell
    Computers and peripherals. Free recycling of Dell-branded products at any time, and of any brand when a consumer purchases new Dell equipment.
  • Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management (MRM) Co.
    Free recycling of Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Quasar, Sharp, Technics, Toshiba and VIZIO televisions, DVD players, VCRs and other consumer electronics. There may be a charge for recycling other brands or products. Multiple locations in Massachusetts.
  • Hewlett Packard (HP)
    Cell phones, computer hardware, inkjet and laser printer cartridges, rechargeable batteries, and user-replaceable mercury-added lamp assemblies. Drop-off and mail-in.
  • Lexmark
    Printers, inkjet cartridges and toner cartridges. Mostly mail-in.
  • LG Electronics
    Most LG, GoldStar and Zenith products, except cell phones. Consumers can recycle up to five units per day, free of charge, by dropping them off at designated Waste Management Inc. (WM) eCycling locations. Cell phones are covered under a separate program.
  • Office Depot
    Cell phones, computers and peripherals, cords and cables, CRT and LCD monitors, digital and video cameras, DVD and MP3 players, fax machines, inkjet and toner cartridges, pagers, PDAs, printers, rechargeable batteries, small TVs, telephones and VCRs. In-store drop-off.
  • Radio Shack
    Many but not all brands accepted. Cameras, camcorders, cell phones, GPS systems, laptop computers, MP3 players and video game consoles. Mail in item(s) and receive a Radio Shack gift card based on condition and value of trade-in(s).
  • Samsung
    All Samsung products. Free recycling at drop-off locations and events sponsored by Samsung, retailers and recyclers.
  • Sony
    All Sony products. Consumers can recycle up to five units per day, free of charge, by dropping them off at designated Waste Management Inc. (WM) eCycling locations.
  • Staples
    Cell phones, inkjet and toner cartridges, pagers, PDAs and rechargeable batteries. In-store drop-off.
  • Sprint
    Cell phones, accessories, batteries and connection cards that are no longer being used. In-store drop-off and mail-in.
  • Target
    Trade in used cell phones, smart phones, tablets and more for a gift card redeemable at more than 1,400 participating Target stores and on the company’s web site. In-store drop-off and mail-in.
  • T-Mobile
    Cell phones, accessories, batteries and PDAs. In-store drop-off and mail-in.

 

This list was generated from MassDEP. More information and programs related to electronic recycling can be found on their website.


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