Recycling Right in Boston: A Guide for Apartment Communities

March 28, 2024
boston recycling guide

Boston, a city where cobblestone streets meet cutting-edge innovation, embraces sustainability as part of its identity. Recycling is an integral part of Boston's "greening" efforts, and these efforts extend to apartment communities across the city. If you're an apartment property owner or manager, it's important to go beyond simply having recycling bins; you need to ensure your residents understand how to recycle effectively. Let's break down what you need to know.

Boston's Rules on Recycling: What Apartment Communities Need to Do

  • Recycling is the Law: It's not just a good idea; providing recycling services for residents is required by Boston's ordinances.
  • Knowing What's Recyclable: Boston has a single-stream system, which simplifies things. These items are generally welcome in your recycling bins:
  • Paper and Cardboard (flatten those boxes!)
  • Metal Cans & Aluminum Foil (clean, please!)
  • Glass Bottles and Jars (all colors accepted)
  • Plastic Containers (#1, #2, #3, #5 and #7)
  • The "Don't Recycle" List: Plastic bags, Styrofoam, and similar materials contaminate recycling. The City of Boston's website ( has the most current, detailed list.

Implementing Recycling Success in Your Boston Apartment Community

  1. Choose Your Collection Method:  For properties over 6 units, partnering with a recycling hauler specializing in multi-family housing is essential.  Smaller buildings may qualify for free city pickup! The City of Boston can help guide you on this.
  2. Make It Easy: Ensure recycling bins are just as visible and accessible as regular trash bins.  Ideally, pair them together in common areas.
  3. Clear Communication is Key: Provide residents with user-friendly guides outlining what can and can't be recycled. Visuals always help! The City of Boston and organizations like WasteFree offer ready-made resources for apartment communities.
  4. Education Isn't a One-Time Thing:  Regularly include recycling reminders in newsletters, on social media, or via community events.

Why Recycling Matters in Boston

  • Protecting the Environment: Boston is a coastal city, so keeping our waterways and green spaces clean matters to everyone. Recycling helps!
  • Leading by Example: Your commitment to recycling can inspire residents to adopt more sustainable habits overall.
  • Waste Management Matters: Recycling can potentially help your apartment community manage waste disposal costs more efficiently.

Resources for Success

Let's Keep Boston Green – Together!

By understanding Boston's recycling ordinances and empowering your residents with the right tools and information, your apartment community can make a positive contribution to the city's sustainability efforts.