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Boston Trash & Recycling FAQs

The City of Boston provides residents with weekly curbside collection of recycling bins for metal, glass, plastic and paper. However, recycling and disposing of certain household items can seem unclear. Click here and scroll down to search for disposal instructions on specific items within the city's website. This guide is meant to answer some of the most commonly asked questions!




Does Boston have special days for recycling and disposing of less common materials? 

Yes, Boston has “Household Hazardous Waste Days” throughout the year for residents to drop off various household hazardous waste items, textiles, electronics, and offers on-site paper shredding. You must provide a photo ID, utility bill, or lease as proof of residency. Click here to see when the next one is on the calendar and a list of acceptable items. 



Can I dispose of any electronics via curbside collection?

Yes, both Tv’s and computer monitors can be discarded with a scheduled curbside collection. Dial 311 to schedule a special collection item for pickup with the City of Boston.



How can I dispose of medical waste, such as old prescriptions? 

The Boston Police Department has anonymous disposal kiosks at select stations throughout the city. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the kiosk locations.



Can I throw away textiles such as clothing and fabrics? 

No, as of November 1, 2022 textiles are banned from trash disposal. You can either recycle your textiles at a drop-off location, on hazardous waste day, or schedule a curbside pickup. Click here for more information.



Can I throw away household batteries?

Yes, depending on the type of battery. Household alkaline batteries such as AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V are non-hazardous and can be discarded in the trash. Other types of batteries will need to be properly disposed of on hazardous waste day. 



How can I dispose of paint or used motor oil?

From May through August, the City of Boston hosts swap shops for surplus paint, and drop-offs for used motor oil. Click here for more details. Acrylic and latex paint can also be allowed to completely dry and then discarded in the trash.



Is there a better way to discard food waste? 

Yes! The City of Boston has started a free food waste curbside collection program as of August 2022. To qualify you must live in a building with six-units or less. Click here for more information and to enroll.



How can I dispose of leaf and yard waste? 

The City of Boston will collect yard waste curbside on scheduled days from April to December, and host drop-off days throughout the year. Click here for more information.



What about furniture or a mattress? 

The city of Boston considers couches, box springs, mattresses, headboards, bookcases, tables, TV stands, and desks as regular “trash” items. These items can be placed next to your trash bins on curbside collection days.



Which miscellaneous items are acceptable for curbside collection?

For air conditioner, television, laptop, dehumidifier, and refrigerator disposal dial 311 to schedule a special collection.



Which items must I hire a private company to dispose of? 

Exceptionally large furniture items other than the ones listed above, large appliances, scrap metal, car parts, etc. must be disposed of with a private company, not the city.




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