FAQs

Below are the most frequently asked recycling questions divided into three categories. Please select the category below that is most relevant to your question.

Recycling Information for Melrose Residents

  1. What type of container do I need to put my recycling/trash/ yard waste in?
  2. What do I do if my recycling/trash/yard waste is not picked up?
  3. Why should I recycle? What is a waste ban?
  4. I live in an apartment that doesn’t recycle; what should I do?
  5. How can I keep up to date on recycling news, events and campaigns?

What and How to Recycle

  1. What is allowed in my single stream curbside recycling container?
  2. Do I need to pay attention to the recycling numbers on plastics? How can I tell which plastics are recyclable?
  3. How clean do items/containers need to be before I toss them into the recycling bin? Do I need to take the labels off jars and cans? Do we need to remove staples and/or plastic films off of paper products?
  4. Everything that has a recycling symbol can go in my recycling bin, right?
  5. How do I find out what to do with hard-to-recycle items such as a TV, a couch and paint?
  6. I have sensitive documents, how can they be shredded?

General Information About Recycling

  1. What does the city do with its trash and recycling?
  2. Why does Melrose do single stream recycling? What is single stream?
  3. I own a business in Melrose and want to recycle; how do I arrange this?
  4. If something is made from recycled paper, aluminum, glass or plastic, can it be recycled again?

 

If your question isn’t answered below email us at melroserecyclingcommittee@gmail.com.

 

 

Recycling Information for Melrose Residents

1. What type of container do I need to put my recycling/trash/ yard waste in?

Recycling: All containers must be under 45 gallons and 45 pounds – unlimited number of containers. Barrels must be labeled clearly – free stickers are available at the Public Works Operations Facility at 72 Tremont Street. Paper bags are allowed but plastic bags are not.

Trash: All barrels and bags must be under 45 gallons and 45 pounds. Four barrels or bags are allowed per household. Trash left out in cardboard boxes will not be picked up. One large or bulky item will be picked up for free per week.

Yard waste: Yard waste includes: leafs, grass and small brush under 1 in diameter. No dirt allowed. All barrels and bags must be under 45 gallons and 45 pounds and clearly labeled or in brown paper bag. There is a 10 barrel/bag maximum. Any yard waste in plastic bags will not be collected.

2. What do I do if my recycling/trash or yard waste is not picked up?

Ask yourself these questions: Did I put it on the curbside by 7 a.m.? Did I follow the above instructions for how to prepare my recycling/trash/yard waste? If you still aren’t sure why your pickup was missed, call the Resident Service Office at the Public Works Operations Facility at 781-665-0142 to schedule a pickup.

3. Why should I recycle? What is a waste ban?

Recycling has many benefits. Recycling is financially beneficial for the City of Melrose because it is expensive to dispose of trash while the city receives a rebate for the recycling. From an environmental standpoint, recycling has many benefits including that it has been proven that creating new products with virgin materials uses more energy than using recycled materials. Lastly, recycling generates 10 times more jobs per ton of waste than landfills and incinerators.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection created waste bans to ensure that recyclables items and hazardous waste would not end up in landfills and incinerators. These bans are laws in Massachusetts which make throwing items such as paper, yard waste and appliances in the trash illegal. To learn more about waste bans click here.

4. I live in an apartment that doesn’t recycle; what should I do?

First, contact your landlord or property manager to express your interest in having recycling pickup at your building. If that doesn’t result in recycling pick up at your building, contact the company that hauls your trash (the company name will be on the dumpster). If neither of those options work out, don’t give up! Email us at melroserecyclingcommittee@gmail.com and we’ll help you!

5. How can I keep up to date on recycling news, events and campaigns?

Get involved with Melrose’s social media!

  1. Like the Solid Waste and Recycling Facebook page
  2. Follow the and Recycling Committee blog  and the Melrose Recycles blog (written by the Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator)
  3. Sign up to receive the monthly recycling e-newsletter (written by the Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator)
  4. Follow Melrose DPW on Twitter (tweets by the Solid Waste and Recycling Coordinator)

 

 

 

What and How to Recycle

For a full list of how to dispose of household items go to our Recyclopedia by clicking here.

1. What is allowed in my single stream curbside recycling container?

Single Stream means that all recyclables can be mixed in one container including plastic, glass, aluminum, paper and cardboard. For a full list of items that go in single stream recycling, click here.

2. Do I need to pay attention to the recycling numbers on plastics? How can I tell which plastics are recyclable?

Not really, plastics are numbered 1-7 to identify the type of plastic polymer. In Melrose, all numbers can go in your recycling container except Styrofoam (#6). Styrofoam can be recycled at Melrose’s Styrofoam recycling event or at various events in the area. Click here for more information about recycling plastics.

3. How clean do items/containers need to be before I toss them into the recycling bin? Do I need to take the labels off jars and cans? Do we need to remove staples and/or plastic films off of paper products?

Items should be as clean as possible. Rinse the containers to remove food residue. There is no need to take labels off bottles and cans. Staples are ok. Take all plastic film out of the recycling and recycle it with plastic bags.

4. Everything that has a recycling symbol can go in my recycling bin, right?

Unfortunately, no. Just because something is designated as being “recyclable” with the chasing arrows symbol on it doesn’t mean that it can go in your curbside recycling container. For example, many plastic bags have the recycling symbol on them but cannot go in the curbside recycling container. They must be dropped off at grocery stores to be recycled.

If a product doesn’t have a recycling logo on it shouldn’t go in the recycling container. We don’t want to contaminate the recycling with non-recyclable items. If you find yourself having to dispose of a lot of items that don’t have the chasing arrows logo on them, consider finding a reusable version of the item or an alternative that is in a recyclable container.

5. How do I find out what to do with hard-to-recycle items such as a TV, a couch and paint?

Go to the Recyclopedia to figure out how to recycle those items and much more!

6. I have sensitive documents, how can they be shredded?

Melrose holds two paper shredding event each year. Look at the Saturday Recycling Events Calendar for the dates. You can also bring your paper to be shredded at North Shore Recycled Fibers at 53 Jefferson Ave, Salem, MA 01970. You can also contact your local Office Max or Staples stores to see if they have paper shredding services.

 

 

General Information about Recycling

1. What does the city do with its trash and recycling?

Trash and recycling are collected by JRM Hauling and Recycling. The trash goes to Covanta, a waste to energy incinerator in Haverhill, and recycling goes to JRM’s GreenWorks in Peabody.

2. Why does Melrose do single stream recycling? What is single stream?

Melrose wants to do everything possible to increase recycling and decrease waste. To do that curbside, the city listened to many residents’ requests and decided to switch to single stream. This means that all recyclables are mixed together into one container. To learn more about single stream click here.

3. I own a business in Melrose and want to recycle; how do I arrange this?

You can contact your trash hauler to set up a recycling program. Businesses can also use Melrose’s Recycling Center at 72 Tremont Street to drop off plastic, glass, aluminum, paper and cardboard for free.

For assistance in setting up a recycling program, contact the Melrose Recycling Committee or go to RecyclingWorks website for information about how businesses and institutions can maximize recycling, reuse, and food waste diversion opportunities.

4. If something is made from recycled paper, aluminum, glass or plastic, can it be recycled again?

Yes! Certain items such as glass and metal can easily be recycled many items without the quality of the material degrading. Whereas the quality of paper and plastic degrades each time it is recycled. Plastic especially cannot be recycled many times and therefore you should try to reduce your use of single-use plastic containers.

Check out this infographic to learn what happens to your recyclables.

 

 

 

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