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Boston, MA     Bags  What to Recycle?  |  Program Background  |  FAQs

In 2009, the City of Boston’s Public Works Department (PWD) launched the Recycle More campaign in order to increase its recycling efforts and reduce the amount of trash the City pays to throw away. At that time, PWD provided residents with big, blue, wheeled, recycling carts into which residents could throw all their recycling, including paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, and metal containers.

For residents that live downtown and in other neighborhoods that find it difficult to use these big recycling carts due to space constraints,  PWD allows residents in these neighborhoods to use designated clear plastic bags for their recycling instead of the bins, making it easier than ever for all Boston residents to continue their recycling efforts.


To participate, residents can easily buy the official City of Boston clear plastic recycling bags in many neighborhood stores throughout the Boston area. (Local retailers receive these bags directly from WasteZero, a PWD-authorized firm who manufactures and distributes trash and recycling bags nationwide.)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Which neighborhoods are allowed to use Clear Plastic Bags for Recycling?
    The following neighborhoods are being served by the recycling bag program: Back Bay Chinatown Mission Hill South End Bay Village Downtown North End West End Beacon Hill East Boston Roxbury Charlestown Fenway South Boston
  • Is there a limit to the amount of materials I can recycle?
    No. The City encourages residents to recycle as much as they can. Learn more at
  • What if my local retailer doesn't carry the bags?
    If you can’t find the official City of Boston clear plastic recycling bags at a store near you, feel free to contact us in one of three ways: 1. Visit our website at 2. Call the City at 617-635-4500 3. E-mail us at Or you may use a clear bag that meets the following specifications: 15-gallon or 30-gallon in size Minimum thickness of 0.85 millimeters
  • What are the advantages of the City's Recycling Bags?
    The City’s new recycling bags provide a number of advantages for residents. Bags… Can be stored easily, taking up little room in your home or apartment. With drawstrings, reduce litter by preventing paper and other items from being blown out of the recycling container. Are lighter than recycling bins, and so are more easy to use. Allow you to add more recycling capacity any time you need it.
  • Why is recycling important?
    Recycling benefits Boston both economically and environmentally. Economically For every ton of bottles, cans, and plastic containers that residents recycle (rather than throw away in the trash), the City saves $80. That means that a 1% change in the City’s recycling rate would save more than $200,000 each year. Your efforts in the Recycle More program help the City reduce its costs, preserve services, and make important investments in our neighborhoods. Environmentally Recycling helps conserve the planet’s natural resources, including oil, water, trees, air, and minerals.
  • What if I have a quality issue with a bag?
    Contact WasteZero Customer Service at 1-800-866-3954 for a replacement bag. When calling, please provide the 7-9 digit code stamped on the bag.

More Information

For more information, please contact the City of Boston Department of Public Works.


Department of Public Works

1 City Hall Square, Room 714

Boston, MA 02201


City Hall hotline: 617-635-4500


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