Recycling and Trash

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All single-stream recycling in Massachusetts goes to one of about six materials recycling facilities (MRFs) in the state, where it is processed, baled and sold. Contamination in our recycling bins results in rejection. Massachusetts now permits only 2-3% contamination because any more means it can't be sold to China, where most of our recycling goes for re-manufacture.

That means we have to be very careful about what we put into our Lawrence Waste dumpsters! 

The single worst thing to put in single-stream recycling dumpsters like ours is plastic bags! They tangle the machinery, resulting in work stoppage, and sometimes physical harm.

When thinking about whether something can be put in our recycling dumpsters, first consider whether it could hurt someone when being processed in fast-moving machinery. Long, sharp pieces of metal are not OK, whatever they are. Hoses and cords of any kind should not be put in the single-stream dumpsters because they can tangle the machinery.

Items with food waste or soil are not recyclable.  Rinse!

It ALL goes in together:

  • Newspapers, Magazines, Catalogs
  • Telephone/Soft Cover Books
  • Junk Mail/ Envelopes (All types)
  • Paper (all colors, staples/paper clips are okay)
  • Paperboard (cereal/shoe boxes)
  • Milk/Juice Cartons
  • Cardboard/Brown Paper Bags
  • Plastic food & beverage containers marked #1-7
  • Soda/Juice/Water bottles (glass or plastic)
  • Mile Jugs, Bleach/Detergent, Shampoo Bottles
  • Food containers (cottage cheese/margarine/yogurt)
  • Glass bottles/Jar (any color)
  • Aluminum (pie plates/trays/foil)
  • Metal Cans (tin/steel/aluminum)

What NOT to include:

  • No plastic bags (or recyclables in Plastic Bags)
  • No Unmarked plastics (laundry baskets, chairs, toys)
  • No windows/light bulbs
  • No dishes, no Pyrex, No ceramics
  • No foam packaging, no styrofoam
  • No aerosol cans (paint, hairstray, cleaners)
  • No recyclables containing food waste

Massachusetts Statewide Waste Banned Items:

  • Televisions & Computer monitors
  • Mattressses & Box Springs
  • White Goods (large appliances)
  • Anything containing freon (air conditions, refrigerators, water bottle coolers & Freezers)
  • Tires & Car Batteries
  • Motor Oil & Liquid Paints
  • Propane Tanks
  • Asbestos & Hazardous waste items
  • Construction and demolition debris