How & Where to Recycle

Learn which materials should go in your bin, where to recycle or donate other items, and what you should throw away. Do your part and recycle smart to enhance the environment, boost the economy, and reduce your community's solid waste costs.

Table of Contents

What to Put in Your Bin

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Every Massachusetts town and city with curbside collection or a drop-off center accepts the following items for recycling:

  • Glass bottles & jars
  • Metal food & beverage cans
  • Paper & cardboard
  • Plastic bottles, jars, jugs & tubs

If you're not sure whether something belongs in your bin, find out by searching the Recyclopedia below or checking the Smart Recycling Guide at: RecycleSmartMA.org

To learn more about your local recycling program, contact your town or city hall, or see: Recycling in Your Community

 

Recycling in Your Community

To learn more about local recycling, composting, and hazardous household product collection - including days and hours - contact your community's recycling or solid waste coordinator or department. For contact information: Zoom in ( + ) on the map below, click on the icon for your city or town, and follow the link. Or see: Massachusetts City & Town Recycling Links

Building Materials

A number of charities and non-profit organizations accept donations of old cabinets, counters, doors, windows, and other building materials that you no longer need but can still be used.

Visit one of the web sites below or check the MassDEP Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory for nearby drop-off locations. Just type in the item you want to donate and click on Search for a listing and map.

Additional Resources

Clothing, Shoes & Textiles

Clothing, footwear, and other textiles that you no longer wear or use shouldn't go in your recycling bin or the trash. Donate them to a charity instead!

The MassDEP Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory can help you find nearby drop-off locations. Just type in the item you want to donate and click on Search for a listing and map.

Many clothing and shoe manufacturers and retailers also take their products back for recycling.

Additional Resources

Deposit Bottles & Cans

There is a five cent deposit on carbonated soft drink, beer, malt beverage, and sparkling water containers sold in Massachusetts.

You may return clean, empty containers to retailers that sell them, or to redemption centers. State law (the "Bottle Bill") requires retailers to redeem containers at full deposit value. It allows redemption centers to deduct processing fees from refunds.

To find nearby redemption centers: Zoom in ( + ) on the map below and click on icons near you for locations and phone numbers.

Please Note: Because redemption center hours and policies can vary widely, MassDEP recommends that you call ahead.

Additional Resources

Electronic Devices

Many manufacturers of computers, music players, smart phones, TVs and other electronic devices take back their products for recycling - often at no charge. The Electronics Take-Back Coalition provides a list.

A number of major retailers also offer take-back programs. Visit their web sites or store locations for details.

To find organizations that accept donations of unwanted consumer electronics, see the links below or check the MassDEP Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory. Just type in the item you want to donate and click on Search for a listing and map.

Additional Resources

Hazardous Household Products

Old chemicals, cleaners, paint, pesticides, and other household products can contain hazardous ingredients and need to be handled with care.

These items don't belong in your recycling bin, in the trash, or down the drain. Please store them in a safe location until either your community schedules a hazardous household waste collection, or you can bring them to a local, regional, or commercial hazardous household product collection facility.

To learn more about local collection events - including days and hours - contact your community's recycling or solid waste coordinator or department.

For contact information: zoom in on the map below, click on the icon for your city or town, and follow the link.

Additional Resources

Mattresses & Box Springs

Most mattress and box spring components can be recycled, but not all towns and cities accept these items for recycling. Call your local board of health or public works department to ask if your community does.

If not, a number of charities do. The MassDEP Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory can help you find nearby drop-off locations. Just type in the item you want to donate and click on Search for a listing and map.

Additional Resources

Plastic Bags & Wraps

Please avoid putting plastic bags and wraps in your bin. At recycling plants, they can get tangled in processing equipment, causing damage and worker injuries.

Many supermarkets and other retailers accept plastic bags and wraps for recycling at no cost. Visit the Wrap Recycling Action Council to find a nearby drop-off location.

If no stores near you accept plastic bags and wraps for recycling, throw these items in the trash.
 

Polystyrene Foam (Styrofoam™)

Recycling plants that accept household recycling are not equipped to process polystyrene foam, so please don't put this material in your bin.

Visit Foam Facts to find a drop-off location near you.

Many shipping companies accept loose fill foam "packing peanuts" for reuse. Contact a FedEx, UPS, or other pack-and-ship store near you for details.

If no sites near you accept polystyrene foam for recycling, throw this material in the trash.

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