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guide

Trash and recycling

Last updated:

Find out your trash day and learn the rules in your neighborhood. We also have information on recycling, composting, and more.

Download trash and recycling guide

For 2020, we created an updated, downloadable version of our trash and recycling guide for Boston residents:

Download the guide

Upcoming events

Events
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Oct 31

Household hazardous waste, paper shredding, textiles, and electronics drop-off

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Nov 1

Leaf and yard waste drop-off

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Nov 8

Leaf and yard waste drop-off

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Nov 15

Leaf and yard waste drop-off

Trash and recycling tips

Contact: Public Works

Please place your trash and recycling out no later than 6 a.m. on your scheduled day.

Find your collection schedule and more through our trash day app. You can mix your recyclable materials in one container, there is no need to sort or separate. 

HOW TO DISPOSE OF TRASH AND RECYCLING
  • Place trash in a container with a lid or use a sturdy trash bag. If you use a barrel, it can be any size up to 96 gallons. If you use a barrel that's bigger than 32 gallons, there must be a grab bar on the barrel so that our trucks can lift it up.
  • Place recycling on the curb in a City-issued, recycling cart. Contact BOS:311 to request a new recycling cart. 
  • Do not use small plastic and paper bags from market or convenience stores for trash or recycling on your curb. 
  • You can turn a trash can into a recycling bin with a sticker from 311. The bin should be smaller than 32 gallons, and needs to have a lid.

Trash and recycling guide

Timing

You can place trash and recycling out as early as 5 p.m. on the night before your collection day, but we urge you to place your trash out in the morning. This reduces spillage and scavenging.

Code violation TICKETS

If you don't comply with our regulations, you may receive a ticket from our Code Enforcement Division. If you have been issued a ticket in error, you can appeal the citation. Residents can report offenses to BOS:311

Don't use City sidewalk litter barrels or solar-powered compactors to get rid of your household trash. It's illegal, and carries a fine for each day you leave your trash.

Pay ticket citation

CONSTRUCTION DEBRIS

Do not place building or construction debris out for residential collection. The City will not pick it up. 

Request pickups

Request a pickup through BOS:311 for refrigerators, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, televisions (including flat screens) and laptops. Please note: you can place furniture out with your regular trash.

Search the directory

To learn more about what we will and won't pick up, search our trash and recycling directory.

Trash and recycling directory

Download the Trash Day app

Contact: Public Works

Never miss yard waste collection again.

With our free Trash Day app you can view a calendar for your home's collection dates, set reminders, and get notifications of schedule changes. You can also search a directory of hundreds of household items to find out the right way to dispose of them.

Watch: Trash day in the City

Leaf and Yard Waste

Contact: Public Works

We pick up leaf and yard waste from April to December on scheduled days. We also hold leaf and yard waste drop-off events throughout the year.

2020 leaf and yard waste dates

Leaf and yard waste tips
  • Place leaves and yard debris in large paper bags or open barrels labeled YARD WASTE. Do not use plastic bags.  
  • Tie branches with string. The maximum size for branches is three feet with a one-inch diameter. Do not put branches in barrels. 
  • Place barrels, bags, and branches curbside by 6 a.m.
  • If you have two recycling days each week, yard waste collection is on the first recycling day of the week.
  • Christmas trees are picked up during the first two weeks of January on your first recycling day and shredded for compost. The trees should be placed on the curb by 6 a.m. without ornaments or lights.

Hazardous waste drop-offs

Contact: Public Works

We hold household hazardous waste drop-off days for Boston residents four times a year.

At these events, you can also recycle electronics, clothing, and textiles. Learn more about hazardous waste, and what types of waste we accept:

Hazardous waste drop-offs

COVID-19 UPDATE:

Due to the public health emergency, we have postponed our June hazardous waste drop-off. For future events, there are certain restrictions in place:

  • You will need to stay in your car at all times during our dropoff events.
  • To limit contact, we will not return containers back to you.
  • All waste must be in the trunk of your car or in the bed of your truck.
  • If your waste is inside your car when you arrive — instead of your trunk or the bed of your truck — you will be given the option to leave the line of cars, place your waste in the trunk or bed, and then come back through the line.
Recycling electronics

If you are a Boston resident, you can also recycle your electronics at our drop-off events. We don't take commercial material from businesses. Learn more about what we will and won't take at our events.

Recycling clothing and textiles

We take everything, including pants, coats, hats, and suits. Please keep in mind: we will not take carpets, rugs, oil rags, mattresses, or wet or mildewed items. Learn more about the clothing items we take.

Paper shredding

We offer paper shredding at all of our events. We will shred up to 10 copy paper size boxes or containers of your personal documents.