WasteZero

Contact Information

Boston City Hall
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201
Phone: (617) 635-4500
www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks/recycling

City of Boston

In 2009, the City of Boston’s Public Works Department (PWD) launched the Recycle More campaign in order to increase its recycling efforts and reduce the amount of trash the City pays to throw away. At that time, PWD provided residents with big, blue, wheeled, recycling carts into which residents could throw all their recycling, including paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, and metal containers.

Since the program has started, however, a number of residents downtown and in other neighborhoods found it difficult to use these big recycling carts because residents did not have space to store them on their property. In response, PWD has begun allowing residents in these neighborhoods to use designated clear plastic bags for their recycling instead of the bins, making it easier than ever for all Boston residents to continue their recycling efforts. To participate, residents can easily buy the official City of Boston clear plastic recycling bags in many neighborhood stores throughout the Boston area. (Local retailers receive these bags directly from WasteZero, a PWD-authorized firm who manufactures and distributes trash and recycling bags nationwide.)

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Question and Answer

What are the advantages of the city’s new recycling bags?

The City’s new recycling bags provide a number of advantages for residents.

Bags…

  • Can be stored easily, taking up little room in your home or apartment.
  • With drawstrings, reduce litter by preventing paper and other items from being blown out of the recycling container.
  • Are lighter than recycling bins, and so are more easy to use.
  • Allow you to add more recycling capacity any time you need it.

Where do I buy the recycling bags?

City of Boston recycling bags are available in a variety of stores across the City, including:

AreaRetailerStreet Address
Back BayDeluca's Market239 Newbury Street
Back BayMarlboro Market 45 Massachusetts Ave
Back BayShaw's Supermarket53 Huntington Ave
Beacon Hill Beacon Hill Market55 Anderson Street
Beacon Hill DeLuca's Market11 Charles Street
Beacon Hill Rite Aid100 Cambridge Street
Beacon Hill Roche Brothers10 Summer Street
Beacon Hill Tedeschi Food Shops126 Cambridge Street
Beacon Hill Whole Foods181 Cambridge Street
Charleston7-11140 Main Street
Charleston777 Convenient Store269 Main Street (Opening soon)
CharlestownCharlestown Ace Hardware5 Austin Street
CharlestownWhole Foods50 Austin Street
East Boston Walgreen’s1 Central Square
East BostonShaw's Supermarket246 Border Street
Mission HillBoston Building Resources100 Terrace Street
North EndGreen Cross Pharmacy393 Hanover Street
South BostonRite Aid710 East Broadway
South BostonStop and Shop713 East Broadway
South EndFoodies Boston1421 Washington Street
South EndSouth End Food Emporium465 Columbus Ave
South EndWalgreens1603 Washington Street
Symphony AreaEconomy True Value Hardware219 Massachusetts Ave
Symphony AreaWhole Foods Symphony15 Westland Ave
West EndWhole Foods181 Cambridge Street

Which neighborhoods are allowed to use clear plastic bags?

The following neighborhoods are being served by the recycling bag program:

  • Back Bay
  • Chinatown
  • Mission Hill
  • South End
  • Bay Village
  • Downtown
  • North End
  • West End
  • Beacon Hill
  • East Boston
  • Roxbury
  • Charlestown
  • Fenway
  • South Boston

What if my local retailer doesn’t carry the bags?

If you can’t find the official City of Boston clear plastic recycling bags at a store near you, feel free to contact us in one of three ways:

  • Visit our website at www.wastezero.com/boston
  • Call the City at 617-635-4500
  • E-mail us at BostonBags@wastezero.com
  • Use a clear bag that meets the following specifications:
    • 15-gallon or 30-gallon in size
    • Minimum thickness of 0.85 millimeters

Why is recycling important?

Recycling benefits Boston both economically and environmentally.

Economically
For every ton of bottles, cans, and plastic containers that residents recycle (rather than throw away in the trash), the City saves $80. That means that a 1% change in the City’s recycling rate would save more than $200,000 each year.

Your efforts in the Recycle More program help the City reduce its costs, preserve services, and make important investments in our neighborhoods.

Environmentally
Recycling helps conserve the planet’s natural resources, including oil, water, trees, air, and minerals.

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What can I put in the recycling bags?

You can put all of your recycling in the clear recycling bag. Here are lists of whats acceptable and what is not.

Acceptable Materials for Recycling

Paper

  • Newspaper (with inserts)
  • Magazines/catalogs
  • Bulk/junk mail (remove free samples; plastic envelope window is acceptable)
  • White & colored paper/brown bags
  • Telephone books
  • Paperback books

Boxes, Cartons, and Food Containers

  • Flattened food boxes
  • Flattened cardboard boxes
  • Juice/soy milk boxes
  • Pizza boxes (empty)
  • NEW! Cardboard/spiral cans (potato chip, coffee, nut cans, etc.)

Plastic

  • All plastic containers (caps & lids are acceptable. No motor oil or chemical containers)
  • New! Rigid plastics (laundry baskets, buckets, toys, etc.)

Glass

  • Glass bottles / jars (lids and labels are acceptable)

Metal

  • Tin and aluminum cans, foil, and pie plates (lids and labels are acceptable)

Unacceptable Materials for Recycling

Glass

  • Light Bulbs
  • Window glass, mirrors
  • Televisions
  • Ceramics or dishes
  • Computer monitors

Containers

  • Motor oil containers
  • Chemical containers

Other

  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic Bags
  • Yard Waste
  • Food Waste
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More Information

If you have other questions, please call the City Hall hotline at 617-635-4500 or visit www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks/recycling.

Thank you for recycling! City of Boston Public Works Department