How To Get There > Recycling Policies > Mandatory Recycling: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Mandatory Recycling: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Cambridge requires all households, businesses and apartment complexes to recycle a variety of products and packaging.

Action(s) Taken

  • Recycling Policies



Overview of Recycling Requirements

In Cambridge all households, businesses and apartments must recycle the following materials, as well as any materials banned from disposal under state regulations:

  • Asphalt pavement, brick and concrete
  • Car batteries
  • Cathode ray tubes (TVs and computer monitors)
  • Cardboard
  • Glass and metal beverage and food containers
  • Leaf & yard waste
  • Paper
  • Plastic bottles (containers with a narrow neck)
  • Scrap metal
  • Tires (whole)
  • Wood

The City provides curbside collection recycling for all single family households and apartment complexes (seven or more units) not primarily used to house students and/or nonprofit establishments. Leaf and yard waste must be placed in paper leaf bags or open barrels during collection season.

Businesses and nonprofit establishments must recycle the designated materials if they constitute more than 5% by weight of the organization’s waste stream. Organizations with 50 or fewer employees can use the city’s recycling drop-off center for free to recycle their discards. Businesses are otherwise responsible for contracting with a private hauler for recycling services.

Organizations must submit a recycling plan to the City that includes what recyclables will be collected, types of collection containers and frequency of collection, and how employees and users are educated about the program. Education programs must include written instructions on what materials can be recycled, how to prepare them for recycling and how to use the collection system, and must be conducted for any changes in the program.

Property owners that provide trash services must also provide recycling services for any materials that must be recycled by their commercial tenants. Property owners for commercial buildings must also submit a recycling plan to the city.

Implementation and Enforcement

The ordinance created a Recycling Advisory Committee to provide advice, assistance and recommendations to the City on the recycling programs. The Committee is comprised of designated representatives throughout the community.

A $25 to $300 maximum fine may be issued per day for noncompliance violations by the Public Works Department staff. The City can refuse to collect trash if recyclables are present within the bin.


Required Recycling and Incentives Program Survey Results (includes Cambridge)

More Information

Cambridge, Massachusetts Mandatory Recycling

City of Cambridge, Department of Public Works: Recycling

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