Recycling FAQs

  1. REDUCE consumption if at all possible – think before you buy. When you do buy, buy better quality materials that last longer.
  2. REUSE what you can – take empty containers to the store and buy bulk. Purchase from resale shops.
  3. RECYCLE when it’s not possible to reduce or reuse – recycle only those items that can be recycled. Incorrect recycling costs the city money.


What does the City of Newton recycle?
See the City’s Recycling DO’s & DON’Ts website  to learn the latest in what’s accepted and not accepted.

Is there an App for that?

Yes! Download the City of Newton’s handy Recycle Right smart phone app to keep up to date on your pick up schedule, find out what can be recycled and where, request a busy item pickup, and other useful information. You can also access the same information through their website.

If I don’t know if something can be recycled, can I still put it into the recycling cart and let the recycling company sort it out?

NO! Please place ONLY permitted items into the recycling cart. Items not permitted ‘contaminate’ the collection and the recycling company cannot separate them out easily. Newton has been fined over $20,000 to date for contamination, and if considered contaminated enough, the recycler will throw entire loads into the trash. Your recycling effort will have been then wasted.

May I put my recyclables in a plastic garbage bag and then place it in my recycling bin?

NO, the plastic bag gums up the machine that sorts the recyclables and causes it to break down. Most supermarkets have a collection bin at the entrance. You can also take plastic dry-cleaning bags to the supermarket collection sites.

What do I do with household hazardous waste?

What do I do with used hypodermic needles?

Available to Newton Residents Only

  • Newton Health Department (1294 Centre St., Newton Centre)
  • Newton City Hall (1000 Commonwealth Avenue Main Level, Customer Service)

8:30am-5 pm, Monday—Friday, excluding holidays. Tuesdays until 8pm.

When you arrive at Customer Service or the Health Department, let a staff member know you want to drop off sharps. Sharps will not be accepted unless they are in a red medical waste or sturdy plastic container such as a detergent bottle. Milk jugs, coffee cans (due to the flimsy plastic lid) , and other thin plastic bottles are unacceptable. The City of Newton brochure is available HERE.

What do I do with broken electronics?

What do I do with working electronics?

There is a Goodwill donation site at the Rumsford Recycling Center. The City is also opening a year round Swap Shop at Rumsford in June 2018.

What do I do with used compact fluorescent bulbs?

The recycling depot on Rumsford Avenue has a shed where compact fluorescent bulbs can be dropped off. Home Depot and Lowe’s also accept used fluorescent bulbs.

How do I get rid of bulky items that don’t fit in my garbage bin?

Call 796-1000 to schedule a pick up on your next regular trash day. An example of an appropriate item is a used mattress. If you have an excess of regular trash, it will only be picked up in the orange plastic bags you must purchase.

What do I do with items the City of Newton doesn’t accept?

Check out this excellent guide put together by the City:

How can I reduce junk mail?

You can register with who creates a ‘national do not mail’ list that is made available to marketers. You can read information about them on their website and register your name:

PaperKarma is a free app for smart phones where you snap a photo of catalogs and a stop request will be sent to the catalog company.

Why does Newton have single-stream recycling?  Single stream recycling increases recycling by decreasing the amount of trash we throw away, and that reduces disposal costs. Recycling is now easier and there will be fewer trips to the recycling processing facility, thereby reducing collection and transportation costs.

Newton has been recycling since 1971. In 1990, recycling became mandatory according to the technology of that time—dual stream recycling, meaning all acceptable recyclable materials had to be separated into two stream: paper products and bottles and cans. With new single stream technology ALL recyclable materials can be placed into one container. Newton started Single Stream Recycling in April 2009.

Why should I recycle?

The plastics we use are meant to last and will not decompose for hundreds of years. That means we are leaving a legacy that not only our children but grand children and great grandchildren will have to deal with.

The City of Newton receives money for recycling while we must pay for the waste that goes to landfills. That is money paid through our taxes. The more we recycle, the less of our tax dollar will be taken for trash.