The City of Boston provides residents with curbside collection for recycling of metal, glass, plastic, and paper, and since this is a single-stream service, there is no need for residents to sort their recyclables.
All recycling must be placed in a container with a lid. The city supplies large, 64-gallon recycling containers to residents of buildings with six units or less, which can be requested from Boston 311, or you can also use a smaller than 32-gallon trash can as a recycling bin with a sticker from Boston 311.
Items that don’t belong in bins include plastic bags (plastic shopping bags and black or white trash bags cannot be recycled); clothes and textiles; clothing hangers, ropes, hoses, and tanglers; scrap metal; batteries; small items (anything smaller than 2-by-2 inches); food waste and liquids; and electronics.
Heavy-duty clear plastic bags are only allowed if you do not have enough space in specific neighborhoods, including Back Bay/ Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Fenway, Mission Hill, North End, Roxbury, South Boston, South End, and West End.
All City of Boston recycling is sent to the Casella recycling facility in Charlestown.
Additionally the city will begin offering curbside food-waste collection citywide in August, but space is limited, so residents are encouraged to sign up today at https://www.bostoncomposts.com. To qualify, residents must live in a building with six-units or less. Approximately 9,000 have signed up so far for the program, which will be capped at 10,000 households for the first year, with the goal of adding 10,000 or more every year, depending on demand.
In July, the city will deliver compost bin “starter kits” to residents who have enrolled in the program, which include an onboarding manual, a roll of liners, kitchen bin, collection bin, and a magnet outlining what food scraps are and are not accepted in the program. Accepted materials include common household food scraps such as coffee grounds, fruits and vegetables, meat and seafood, and eggs.
Food scraps collected curbside will be used to make nutrient-rich soil and clean energy, according to the city, which is collaborating with Garbage to Garden and Save That Stuff to offer curbside food waste collection.
To learn more about the curbside food-waste collection program, visit https://www.boston.gov/departments/public-works/curbside-food-waste-collection#sign-up.