History of Recycling in Boston


With the “Recycle More” single-stream recycling campaign, Boston residents recycled close to 30,000 tons, using their big blue recycling carts.  Residents recycled 45% more tons then they did in 2009, before the citywide distribution of the big recycling carts.


Cart distribution begun in 2009 concludes in June 2010.


In July, the City begins distributing large wheeled carts to residences citywide.


In July, single stream recycling expands to Beacon Hill, West End, Bay Village, Chinatown, and Downtown. Residents may request one cart per building or use clear plastic bags. In August, households in West Roxbury receive large wheeled carts. Recycling in West Roxbury increases 44%.


In May, 2500 households along one recycling collection route that spans parts of Jamaica Plain and Roslindale receive large wheeled carts. They may mix their recyclable material together in a new process called “single stream recycling.” Recycling increases 52% in this collection route. In October, residents in the South End may mix their recyclable material together in clear plastic bags. 500 carts are distributed to buildings in serviceable alleyways. Recycling increases 143% in the South End.


City Council passes the ordinance “Regarding Access to City Recycling Programs for Large Apartment Buildings,” which requires owners of large residential buildings provide access to recycling services for their residents.


City recycling services are extended to the Boston Housing Authority’s developments.


The City begins curbside collection and recycling of cathode ray tubes, found in televisions and computer monitors.


The City expands its household hazardous waste drop-off days from once per year to twice per year. STRIVE, the Boston School Department’s School-To-Career program offers recycling collection to all Boston Public Schools.


A fourth surplus paint and used motor oil recycling center is opened.


Nine new items are added to the curbside collection program and three permanent surplus paint and used motor oil recycling centers are opened.


Citywide weekly curbside collection of household recyclables to residents living in large apartment buildings begins. Citywide seasonal curbside collection of leaf and yard waste begins.


Weekly, citywide recycling collection is expanded to include bottles, cans, and two types of plastic containers.


Citywide, weekly collection of newspapers begins.


Eight monthly drop-off recycling centers were operating throughout Boston.


A recycling ordinance is passed and a curbside collection program for 6,500 households in Jamaica Plain piloted.


Boston enters into an agreement with the recycling volunteers to manage these monthly drop-offs.


Volunteers organize drop-offs in several neighborhoods where residents can recycle their newspapers and bottles.


  • South End Trash & Recycling Program: Pilot Program Extended with New Hours

    The evaluation of the four-month pilot trash & recycling program for the South end was completed on June 11 at a neighborhood meeting held at the South End Library. Many residents attended the meeting and there was a full discussion of the benefits and drawbacks of the Pilot Program. The two most prominent takeaways were that the program was effective in improving the neighborhood cleanliness, but the 11:00 pm placement hour was too restrictive. New program hours & requirements will go into effect July 1, 2013. Please read the attached flyer for more details.

    South End Trash & Recycling Pilot Program

  • Hazardous Waste Disposal: Summer Drop-Off Dates

    Boston residents can safely dispose of hazardous waste for free at upcoming events:  

    June 14 from 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM at UMASS Boston, Parking Lot D, Dorchester

    June 28 from 9:00 AM- 2:00 PM at West Roxbury Public Works Yard, 315 Gardner Street, Millennium Park

  • Waste Reduction E-Newsletter

    Receive email updates about curbside recycling, compost bin sales, yard waste collection, hazardous waste drop-offs, and trash regulations.

    Subscribe Here

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  • Missed Pickup

    If your trash or recycling was not picked up, please call the Mayor's Office (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) at 617-635-4500 or place an online service request by following the link below.

    Report Missed Trash/Recycling/Yard Waste/Bulk Item Pickup

Online Services


  • Single Stream Recycling

    Mayor Menino announces citywide expansion of the program.

    Watch Video

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