Please note: You are viewing an archive of the City of Somerville's previous website. Please visit our new website at for the latest & most accurate information about the City of Somerville.
Search Site
Somerville Top Banner
Home Departments Residents Businesses Government

Somerville Environmental Service Guide title graphic


Please Note: Due to closure of the region's only municipal styrofoam recycling company, there will be no styrofoam recycling events for the remainder of 2016. 


Somerville Waste Wizard

Find your trash, recycling, and yard waste schedule.
Sign up for pickup alerts.
Find out how to dispose of items.

Environmental Service Guide PDF thumbnail

View the Environmental Service Guide PDF


Click on an item below to learn more:



Look up your trash and recycling pickup day

To find out when your trash and recycling collection day is, use our online Waste Wizard. For weeks with a city holiday, trash pickup is delayed by one day for that day and for each remaining weekday that week.

(Back to top)

What time should I put out my trash and recycling?

Trash and recycling bins may be placed on the curbside no earlier than 4 p.m. the day prior to your scheduled pickup, and no later than 7 a.m. on pickup day. Empty barrels must be removed from sidewalk by 7 p.m. on trash collection day.

(Back to top)

Trash disposal policies: the DOs and DON'TS of trash pickup

Note: Follow the DOs and DON'TS below to avoid a ticket or fine for improper trash disposal. Fines will range from $50 to $300 per offense. The first offense will be $50.


  • Keep full containers under 50 lbs.
  • Put your address on your cart (in case it becomes lost or stolen)
  • Use the right trash cart or bin: the City-issued 64-gallon uniform trash cart meets the City requirement that you use a rodent-resistant cart with a tight-fitting lid. Use this container, or one that meets these same requirements, to avoid tickets and fines.
  • Stow trash outside only in a waterproof trash cart. 
  • Keep your trash cart tightly closed (overflowing and partially open carts are subject to ticketing and fines).
  • If you have excess trash beyond what fits in your City-issued cart, stow it properly by using your own overflow container that is rodent-resistant with a tight-fitting lid. 
  • During pickup times only, you may place your overflow container (and only your overflow container) curbside for pickup without the lid to avoid lid loss or damage. Your primary, city-issued cart must always have its attached lid tightly closed.
  • To avoid the need for overflow trash storage, please reduce your trash amounts by putting all recyclable items in your blue Zero-Sort recycling cart.
  • Report lost or stolen trash carts to 311. (If necessary, a new cart can be purchased from the Department of Public Works for $50.)



  • Do not stow or place trash curbside only in plastic bags. Trash must be in a rodent-resistant, tightly closed receptacle.
  • Do not store trash in cardboard boxes.
  • Do not place extra bags on top of your cart or in a container with an open lid.
  • Do not sell or take your City-issued uniform trash cart with you if you move; the cart is property of the City and must remain with the new property owner.
  • Do not use or take carts that were not issued to your property

(Back to top)

Where can I get a copy of the Yard Waste & Hazardous Waste Calendar?

A copy of the Environmental Service Guide is mailed to all Somerville households each April. You can also print your own guide from the online version or call 311 for a copy. For the updated Yard Waste & Hazardouse Waste Calendar for 2016, please click here.

(Back to top)

What can I recycle?

Somerville offers recycling for a wide range of items from paper and glass to electronics and yard waste. See each category below for details on 

  • Zero-Sort Recycling for household waste
  • Yard Waste
  • Electronic Waste Recycling
  • White Goods Recycling
  • Christmas Tree Recycling
  • Food Waste Composting

(Back to top)

Zero-Sort Curbside Recycling

Most household packaging, plastics, papers, and aluminum can go in your City-issued Zero-Sort recyling cart. No need to sort. It all goes in one cart. Here's an A to Z list of clean items you can put in your Zero-Sort cart:

  • Aerosol cans (metal): Must be empty. Remove cap from can. PLEASE dispose of paints, cleansers, automotive sprays via household hazardous waste drop-off.  
  • Aseptic packaging: Wax-covered or foiled line containers such as juice boxes
  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil: Only completely clean foil can be recycled.
  • Books: Paperbacks only (hardcover books are not recyclable). 
  • Bottles: Glass bottles and glass containers 
  • Boxboard and paperboard: Cereal boxes, dry food boxes, paper egg cartons, shoe boxes, tissue boxes, paper towel and toilet paper cores, pizza boxes. PLEASE remove all food wasteand remove plastic liners. Large amounts of cardboard boxes must be broken down into 3ft x 3ft pieces, bundled up and tied together.
  • Cans (metal): Food and beverage cans only. Labels are OK. Place lids in can.
  • Cans of compressed gas/air duster: Make sure there is no compressed air left in the can. Once it is empty, puncture the can.
  • Cardboard (corrugated): Empty. Staple, tape and labels are OK. NO strapping or string, NO wax-coated cardboard, no paint or oil stains, no foam/Styrofoam packing materials.
  • Envelopes and opened mail: White, colored, gummed and window envelopes. Remove non-paper items such as plastic cards or CDs. Labels are OK. NO Tyvek or plastic envelopes or bubblewrap-padded envelopes.
  • Egg cartons
  • Foil: Clean
  • Glass: Rinse clean. Food and beverage containers only. NO lightbulbs, window glass, Pyrex, or ceramics.
  • Magazines: Staples and labels are OK.
  • Newspapers: All sections and advertising inserts. NO plastic wrapping. Do not tie with string.
  • Paper (white & colored): Plain and glossy, printed, letterhead, copier paper, brochures, file folders (leave on plastic tabs and metal strips), manila folders, craft paper, index cards, construction paper, non-metallic wrapping paper, tissue paper, cards. Stapels are OK. NO paper towels, facial tissues, stickers, or sticker backing paper.
  • Paperback books: Paperback books, phone books, and catalogs. NO hardcovers. NO plastic wrapping.
  • Pie pans (aluminum): Clean
  • Pizza boxes: Only clean boxes
  • Plastics 1-7: Any plastic item numbered 1-7 (look on the bottom for the number), as well as rigid plastics such as plastic toys, plastic chairs, etc. Includes plastic bottles, jugs, containers, dairy tubs (for yogurt), laundry baskets, take-out containers, flower pots and trays. NO Styrofoam, filmy products such as plastic bags, housewares, motor oil containers, biodegradable plastics. 
  • Shredded Paper: Place with recycling in a clear see-through plastic bag
  • Wrapping paper: Matte, glossy, non-metallic. NO metalic papers.

Environmental Service Guide as a readable PDF with yard waste calendar: /sites/default/files/documents/Enviro%20Service%20Guide%202015%20FINAL.pdf

(Back to top)

Yard Waste Recycling 

Yard Waste Pickup Resumes Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Please note, due to the Patriot’s Day Holiday on Monday, all trash, recycling and yard waste pickup will be on a one-day delay for the full week. Please put out your refuse one day after your normal pickup day.

  • Seasonal Yard Waste Curbside Pickup (mid-April to early December): To recycle your yard waste into compost, place it curbside on your regular trash pickup day during highlighted weeks on the Environmental Services calendar (below)
  • Year-round Yard Waste Drop-off at DPW: Bring proof of residency (utility bill and valid picture I.D.). Drop off at DPW, One Franey Road
  • Yard Waste Do's and Don'ts: 
    • Store in paper bags or barrels marked with City-issued “Yard Waste Only” stickers. Call 311 for stickers or visit DPW at One Franey Road or the City Clerk at City Hall, 93 Highland Ave.
    • Cut and tie bush and tree limbs into 3ft x 3 ft bundles. 
    • No plastic bags allowed. Do not place yard waste in plastic bags.

Yard waste calendar thumbnail

Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Days
  • When and where: Second Saturday of the month from April to November, 9 a.m.—12 Noon, at the DPW yard, One Franey Road. 
  • Residents only: Bring proof of Somerville residency (a utility bill or driver's license). No businesses or rental property owners are eligible. 
  • Do's and Dont's: Do not place in plastic bags! 
  • Accepted material: 
    • Automobile Tires (remove rim & hub cap): You may bring up to four tires to DPW Monday- Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (You don't have to wait for Hazardous Waste Day.)
    • Antifreeze
    • Brake Fluid: One gallon or less; otherwise, dispose of privately.
    • Batteries: Rechargeable batteries or car batteries.
    • Driveway Sealer: Up to two buckets. Larger amounts must be disposed of privately.  
    • Fire Extinguishers: Commercial grade or non-empty household extinguishers.
    • Fluorescent lights bulbs
    • Insect spray cans
    • Mercury and lead sheets
    • Motor oil
    • Paints and thinners: To prevent spilling, please bring cans with paint in a box. Do not put in a plastic bag.
    • Pool chemicals: Small quantities can be brought to the DPW; large amounts must be disposed of privately.
    • Propane tanks and propane torches
    • Thermometers (mercury): If broken, place inside a covered glass jar and keep in a well-ventilated area away from children's reach until it can be brought to the DPW on Hazardous Waste Day.
    • Transmission Fluid: Up to 1 gallon; larger amounts must be disposed of privately.'

    (Back to top)

Televisions and Monitors

Call 311 to schedule free, curbside pickup of TVs and computer monitors. Or drop them off at the DPW Yard, One Franey Road, weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as Electronic Waste. Old TVs or monitors with broken glass will not be accepted for electronic waste recycling.

(Back to top)

Christmas Tree Recycling

Place curbside with regular trash in December and January. Remove all decorations. Do not place in a plastic bag. Trees picked up through January are mulched. Trees picked up in February are disposed of as trash. Pick up free mulch through February.

(Back to top)

Electronic Waste Recycling

Drop off for recycling at the DPW Yard at One Franey Road, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proof of residency (driver's license or utility bill) or business location/license is required. 

  • Desktop computers and laptops: With keyboard and mouse
  • TVs and monitors: No broken glass 
  • Electronic cables
  • Servers and server racks
  • Networking equipment
  • Electronic instrumentation
  • Printers, copiers and scanners
  • Telephones
  • Projectors
  • Battery backups
  • Electronic and audio equipment
  • Toner and ink cartridges
  • DVDS, CDs, VHS players
  • Household electronics and small appliances such as: 
    • Blenders 
    • Microwave ovens 
    • Irons, toasters, coffee makers 
    • Most small household items that can be plugged in



    Please note: Many device retailers have recycling programs for select electronics, including Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless. The City of Somerville does not endorse any of these options, and residents should be aware that the details of each program differ. Please contact your selected retailer(s) directly for more information.

    White Goods: Large Appliance Disposal

    Large appliances require a $25 White Goods Sticker that can be purchased at the DPW (by check or money order) or at City Hall (by cash, credit card, check or money order). When placing your white goods, curbside, be sure not to block pedestrian traffic. 

    • Air Conditioners
    • Dryers
    • Refrigerators: Remove door before placing item on sidewalk.
    • Stoves
    • Washers
    • Water Coolers (bubblers)
    • Water Heaters

    (Back to top)

    Regular Trash

    These items may disposed of with your regular trash.

    • Appliances: Small household appliances including radios, VCRs (including tapes), toasters, irons, etc. can be disposed with regular trash, but please consider dropping them off for Electronics Recycling any weekday at DPW, One Franey Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Basketball pole & net: The pole must be cut down to three feet in length.
    • Alkaline Batteries: Only regular household alkaline batteries (such as A, AA, C, or D) may be disposed of with regular trash. Rechargable batteries, button cell batteries, and lithium batteries must be disposed of as Hazardous Waste. Laptop battery packs should be disposed of with Electronic Waste.
    • Bicycles
    • Building or construction material: These items will be picked up by the City only if there is a building permit on display with the green sticker. Otherwise you must contract with a private disposal company.
    • Camping stove: The City will pick these up if there is no propane tank attached.
    • CDs/DVDs and their covers: But please consider dropping them off for Electronics Recycling any weekday at DPW, One Franey Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • China/ceramics
    • Christmas trees: Artificial trees can be put out with regular trash.  Real trees will be picked up by DPW for mulching in January. Trees put out after January, will be picked up for regular trash.
    • Computer accessories: The tower, printer, keyboard, computer laptops, and toner and ink cartridges can be placed with regular trash. But please consider dropping them off for Electronics Recycling any weekday at DPW, One Franey Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Dehumidifier
    • Door: Wooden doors must be cut in half. Tape storm doors with glass to prevent shattering. Multiple doors would be considered construction material, which requires private disposal.
    • Fan
    • Fire Extinguishers: Small, empty household extinguishers can be disposed with regular trash. Larger or non-empty ones (regardless of size) must be brought to the DPW on Hazardous Waste Days.
    • Furniture: The City will pickup two pieces of furniture per week. Any mirrors or glass should be taped on both sides to avoid shattering. Drawers and doors should be tied down or removed to avoid injury.
    • Glass: Wrap the glass in heavy paper and/or with tape to ensure that it won't break easily. If wrapped in paper, please write on it that it is glass and must be handled with care. (Includes mirrors, table top glass etc.)
    • Kitty Litter
    • Ladders: Wooden and metal ladders may be put out for pickup, but must be broken down into pieces no longer than 4 feet in length.
    • Lawn mowers: Non-motorized mowers may be placed with regular trash; motorized mowers must be disposed of privately.
    • Medical equipment: Call 311 to arrange a pickup of hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers, etc. Some of these items can be donated to Council on Aging, if in good condition. To donate, call 311.
    • Mattress and Box Spring
    • Microwave ovens But please consider dropping them off for Electronics Recycling any weekday at DPW, One Franey Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Pools: Children's rubber pools may be placed with regular trash; adult, aboveground rubber pools must be cut down to pieces no longer than 3 feet in length and tied with string or twine. Metal pools must be disposed privately.
    • Paint cans: If they are dry and empty, place in regular trash. Non-empty cans must be brought to the DPW on Hazardous Waste Days.
    • Pots and Pans
    • Rugs/ Carpets: Must be rolled and tied with string/twine. Roll must not exceed three feet in length.
    • Sewing Machines
    • Styrofoam: Peanuts/pellets must be disposed of with regular trash. Do not place in recycling. But please consider saving clean Styrofoam for drop-off at one of our twice-yearly Styrofoam Recycling days.
    • Swing Sets: A wooden set must be dismantled in order to be picked up. A metal set must be disposed of privately.
    • Trash barrels & Recycling Bins- To dispose of damaged barrels or bins, place a sign indicating that item is broken and you wish to dispose of it.
    • Vinyl Records
    • Wood: Small quantities cut into pieces no longer than 3 feet in length and tied into a bundle with string or twine. Large amounts are considered building/construction materials, which require private disposal.

    (Back to top)

    Private Disposal

    These items will not be accepted for disposal by the City and must be disposed of privately:

    • Building or construction materials: Toilets, sinks, windows, wood, masonry, siding, shingles etc. must be disposed of privately, unless there is a building permit on display with the green sticker (issued on construction jobs for less than $5,000).
    • Business hazardous waste
    • Car parts
    • Dirt/loam
    • Heavy metal items: These include exercise equipment, exercise bikes and metal cabinets.
    • Kerosene, gasoline or heating oil
    • Lawn mower (motorized)
    • Pools (aboveground metal)
    • Snow blowers
    • Windows: These are considered construction material and will therefore be picked up only if a building permit with green sticker is displayed.

    (Back to top)

    Charitable Donations

    Please consider donating gently used household items (furniture, clothing, books, etc.) to area charities, including those listed below. When you donate items that are still in useable condition, you are saving money for the city and its taxpayers by reducing bulk waste trash disposal costs and you help local charities serve those in need. At the same time, a donation for reuse is a valuable form of recycling, which helps all of us fulfill our shared commitment to sustainability and environmental quality.

    (Back to top)