Solid Waste & Recycling FAQ

Q: Why are there so many changes for recycling?

A: In 2018,the Chinese government announced that they would no longer be accepting imports of over 24 types of materials including mixed paper and several types of plastic. The recycling market plunged into distress. Due to the market changes, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in collaboration with waste haulers and processors across the state generated universal recycling standards to help these organizations meet the standards. For more information and market updates, visit Massachusetts Recycling Market.

Q: Why did the Town change haulers?

A: The Town’s current Solid Waste and Recycling Contract was set to expire June 30, 2019. Prior to the end of the  contract, the Town requested proposals for the period of July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2024. Waste Management, the newly contracted hauler, submitted the most advantageous proposal, providing the highest quality services at a competitive price.

Q: Are Pay As You Throw (PAYT) bags affected by the change?

A: No, you are still required to buy the Town bags at the participating stores, and place them at the curb by 7AM on your regular trash pick-up day. Click Here for a list of stores that carry bags

Q: Do I have to purchase new recycling bins?

A: No. You can keep your current bins. If you need new bins you can purchase a 22 gallon bin from the DPW (no lid), located on the 2nd floor in the Town Hall, for $11 (check or cash). Alternatively, you can buy your own bin up to 32 gallons from your local hardware store (may have a cover) and you can either write “RECYCLING” on it or you can get up to two “RECYCLING” stickers free from the DPW.

Q: How do I know what is recyclable and what goes in the trash?

A: The Recyclopedia is a great tool to learn which materials belong in your bin, where to recycle or donate other items, and what to throw away. This tool has been created by MassDEP in collaboration with haulers and Material Recovery Facilities across the Commonwealth.

Q: Will my collection day change?

A: No. Collection days will stay the same; however, the time of collection may differ from what is current experienced. If you are unsure of your collection day, check the Street Listing document. 

Q: When do I need to put my trash and recycling out?

A: Trash and Recycling should be at the curbside by 7:00 AM

Q: What does the new recycling program consist of?

A: Recycling will be collected every week alternating PAPER/CARDBOARD on YELLOW weeks, and COMMINGLED on GRAY weeks (which includes Plastic/Glass/Cans). The recycling calendar can be found Here.

Q: Can I use paper bags or boxes to hold my mixed paper and cardboard on yellow weeks?

A: Yes

Q: Can I bag my recyclables in plastic bags?

A: No, plastic bags are not recyclable at the curbside. If you are trying to keep your recyclables from blowing away, you may cover it with a tarp or durable material as long as the bin is in view. Residents also have the option to buy their own bins with covers as long as the bins are no larger than 32 gallons and the bin is marked “RECYCLING”. The DPW will provide up to 2 free stickers or residents may write “RECYCLING” on their purchased bins.

Q: How do I get rid of items that won’t fit in my PAYT trash bag?

A: If an item weighs less than 20 pounds but will not fit in a trash bag (irregular shaped items such as a mop) you may tie a small PAYT bag to it. Bulk items are defined as any household item weighing over 20 pounds that cannot be recycled and will not fit into a Pay As You Throw Bag. Appliances, Televisions, Computers, and Electronics are prohibited from this program and may be disposed of by calling Waste Management at 800-972-4545 to schedule a “White Good”

pickup or waiting for an Electronic Waste Event. If your item is a bulk waste item, the following applies:

Residents may call Waste Management at 800-972-4545 and purchase and schedule a bulky waste pickup for $15, or may purchase a sticker at a participating retail store for $10. If you choose to purchase a sticker from a store, the pickup MUST still be scheduled by calling Waste Management. Bulk waste pickups are collected on MONDAY only and must be scheduled by the Thursday prior to the pickup date. Check the List of Retail Stores that carry the bulk waste sticker.

Q: If my neighbor’s trash and recycling across the street was picked up but mine wasn’t, was my house missed?

A: Most likely not. The hauler will be picking up on the passenger's side of the street and will then loop back for the other side.

Q: Why does it appear that the hauler is throwing the trash and recycling into the same truck?

A: The hauler is using a split body vehicle. One compartment in the back of the truck is for trash, and one compartment is for recycling.

Q: Should I put the lid back on my recyclables?

A: Yes. Rinse the container, and then put the lid back on the container.

Q: Why aren’t plastic bags recyclable if they have the recycle symbol on them?

A: Plastic bags are not recyclable at the curbside because they get caught in the recycling equipment. If you choose to recycle plastic bags, you may bring them to your local grocery store. Otherwise, throw them in the trash.

Q: Can I recycle shredded paper?

A: No. Shredded paper is not recyclable due to the fibers that are exposed once the paper is shredded. Shredded paper should be thrown in the trash, or can be brought to certain recycling events throughout the year hosted by WE-CAN (Worcester County Environmental Community Agricultural Network)

Q: How can I stay informed about this program as far as waste events and trash delays?

A: We encourage every resident to sign up for our ListServe Notices, and sign up under “Solid Waste & Recycling”, as well as any other ListServe notices you may want to be informed on. Additionally, we encourage you to follow us on our social media platforms Facebook & Twitter and sign up for CodeRed alerts.