Knowing Boston’s trash and recycling schedule is key to keeping the city clean and green. This comprehensive guide provides everything you need to know about trash and recycling services in Boston, including collection days, accepted materials, special programs, and more.
How to Find Your Trash and Recycling Schedule
The first step is looking up your address to determine your assigned collection days.
The City of Boston provides an online search tool where you can input your address to view your collection schedule:
When searching your address, make sure to:
- Only include the street number and name, no apartment or unit numbers
- Abbreviate street numbers – e.g. “First St” not “1st St”
- Include cardinal directions – e.g. “E” for East
You can also download Boston’s “Trash Day” app on your smartphone to view your collection schedule and set reminders.
Trash Pickup Schedule
- Trash is collected once per week on the same weekday from building to building.
- Collection begins at 7AM. Make sure bins are curbside by 7AM on your pickup day.
- City services do not operate on holidays – your collection day slides to one day later if it falls on a holiday.
Recycling Pickup Schedule
- Recycling is collected every other week on the same day as your trash pickup.
- Check your address to confirm if you have recycling on odd or even weeks.
- Make sure recycling is out by 7AM on your designated recycling weeks.
Yard Waste Collection
Boston provides seasonal yard waste pickup from April 1 to December 23.
- Yard waste is collected on the same day as recycling pickup every other week.
- Place leaves, grass clippings, plant trimmings, and branches in paper yard waste bags or open barrels labeled as “yard waste.”
- Bundle branches under 18 inches in diameter and under 4 feet long.
Check the yard waste schedule for your address here:
City-Accepted Trash and Recycling Materials
Boston accepts the following materials for regular curbside collection:
- Food waste
- Non-recyclable paper
- Plastic bags and wrap
- Foam cups and containers
- Pet waste and litter
- Paper and cardboard
- Metal food and beverage cans
- Glass bottles and jars
- Rigid plastic containers
Make sure all recycling is clean and dry before placing in bins. Keep trash and recycling separate.
- Plant trimmings
Do NOT place these items in with your regular trash or recycling:
- Hazardous waste (chemicals, oil, batteries)
- Electronics (TVs, computers)
- Large appliances
- Construction debris
Special Collection Programs
Boston offers additional collection services for specific waste streams:
- Food scraps can be placed in a curbside compost bin for weekly pickup along with trash.
- Compost bins can be requested through the City – only available in select neighborhoods.
- Drop off hazardous waste, electronics, textiles, mattresses at designated city facilities on select Saturdays.
- Drop off food scraps at select farmers markets for composting.
Large Residential Buildings
- Private haulers service large apartment and condo buildings over 12 units. Building managers arrange trash services.
- Recycling is mandatory for all buildings over 8 units.
Schedule Special Pickups
- Arrange for bulk item pickup (furniture, appliances) through the City’s 311 hotline for a per-item fee.
- Donate or sell usable items locally to keep them out of the landfill. Check Boston’s Reuse Directory.
Recycling and Composting Tips
Recycling and composting properly ensures these materials get diverted from landfills. Help Boston meet its zero waste goals with these tips:
- Break down cardboard boxes and remove any plastic/styrofoam.
- Rinse food residue from containers – no need to scrub.
- Place loose recyclables in bins, not bagged.
- Separate paper, metal, glass, rigid plastic – no sorting needed within each category.
- Cut branches to 4ft lengths and bundle for yard waste pickup.
- Line compost bins with biodegradable bags or sheets of newspaper.
- Layer “green” and “brown” organic materials in compost.
- Freeze food scraps before adding to curbside compost bins to reduce odors.
Trash Rules and Regulations
Following Boston’s sanitation guidelines helps keep neighborhoods clean and prevents issues:
- Place barrels/bins at the curb after 5PM the evening before pickup day.
- Retrieve empty barrels by the end of the collection day. Barrels cannot stay at the curb overnight.
- Only place acceptable materials in the appropriate bins – contamination can disrupt collection.
- Bundle, bag, or contain trash appropriately so it does not spill or blow away.
- Store bins properly to keep area neat and deter rodents.
- Properties found violating trash rules may receive citations and fines.
Getting Help and Staying Updated
For questions, requests, or issues with your trash and recycling services, contact the City’s 24/7 constituent hotline:
Or submit requests online via Boston’s 311 system:
Stay up to date on changes to trash and recycling services by signing up for email and text alerts through the Trash Day app.
Keeping up with Boston’s waste collection schedule and guidelines ensures you receive timely service while helping the city minimize landfill waste. Refer back to this handy guide for the key details you need to properly sort and dispose of trash, recycling, yard debris, and food waste from your home or apartment.