You can put all of your recycling in the clear recycling bag. Here are lists of whats acceptable and what is not.




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

Plastic Bottles, Jars, Jugs, & Tubs

  • Plastic Bottles and Containers (clean & empty containers with lids and caps ON)

  • Plastic Soda, Water & Drink Bottles

  • Plastic Food & Household Bottles/Jars
    (screw top bottles and jars, ex. ketchup, mayonnaise, detergent, shampoo)

  • Plastic Tubs & Lids
    (ex. yogurt, margarine, cottage cheese)

  • Plastic Produce, Deli & Bakery Containers, Cups, Trays
    (take-out containers, berries/produce containers)

  • Rigid plastics (laundry baskets, buckets, toys)

Please do not include:

  • No plastic bags or plastic utensils


  • No Polystyrene (Styrofoam)


  • No motor oil or chemical containers

Glass Bottles & Jars

  • Glass bottles and jars (empty containers with caps OFF)

  • All glass colors


Please do not include:

  • No windows, mirrors, or auto glass


  • No light bulbs

  • No dishes, ceramics, or Pyrex

Metal Cans & Aluminum

  • Metal cans and Aluminum (empty containers)

  • Steel, tin, and aluminum cans


  • Clean aluminum pie plates, trays, and foil

Please do not include:

  • No chains, wires or hangers

Paper & Cardboard

paper and cardboard.png
  • Magazines & Catalogs

  • All newspapers & inserts

  • Paperboard (cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, etc.) & paper bags

  • Cardboard – please flatten

  • Pizza boxes – remove food and greasy sections

  • Office paper, Junk mail (Staples, paperclips, spirals, & plastic envelope windows are OK)

  • Soft cover books

  • Phone books

Please do not include:

  • No recyclables with food waste


  • No napkins, paper towels, tissues

  • No waxed-, foil, or plastic- coated paper


Wondering if something is recyclable?  See the City of Boston A-Z directory

Why is recycling important?

Recycling benefits Boston both economically and environmentally.


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.


Recycling helps conserve the planet’s natural resources, including oil, water, trees, air, and minerals.

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