What to Do with Specialized Waste in Boston

specialized waste

Boston is a beautiful city, and here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we do everything that we can to keep it beautiful. To keep the city looking its best, make sure that you properly dispose of all your waste. For specialized items, check out our handy guide below that will show you the best way to get rid of some trickier items.


Many items are recyclable here in Boston, including the traditional items like newspaper, cardboard, glass bottles, aluminum cans, and more. In addition, the city also added two new items to the recyclable list: cardboard spiral cans (like those used for potato chips, coffee, and nuts) and rigid plastics (laundry baskets, toys, etc.).

Items like Styrofoam, light bulbs, food waste, televisions and computer monitors, and plastic bags should not be recycled. Please visit the Recyclable Materials page on cityofboston.gov for a full list of recyclable (and non-recyclable) materials. We recommend printing out this list and putting it in a visible place so that you know what you can recycle.

Leaves and Yard Waste

From the first week of April until the end of the first week of December, the city of Boston will collect yard waste and debris. Yard waste collection is on the same day as your recycling day during select weeks. Make sure that you place leaves and yard waste in large paper leaf bags or open barrels (do not use plastic bags). Tie large branches together with a string and place them alongside other debris. Make sure that all of this is curbside and ready for collection before 7am on your yard waste pickup day.

Paint and Motor Oil

If you have paint or used motor oil that you wish to dispose of, bring them to one of the many Paint Swaps held throughout the months of May, June, July, and August in the Greater Boston Area. Drop off paint that you no longer want, or pick up free paint that someone else can’t use. They will also take used motor oil for proper disposal.

Hazardous Waste

If you have hazardous waste, plan to visit one of the City of Boston’s Hazardous Waste Disposal and Paper Shredding events. They hold several each year in various parts of the city. Drop off your hazardous materials, and also any sensitive documents that you would like to have shredded. Hazardous materials include aerosol cans, flammable liquids, pool chemicals, pesticides, chlorine bleach, gasoline, and much more – visit the event page for a complete list.

If you have prescription medications that you want to dispose of safely, there are Drug Disposal Kiosks at several local district police stations. They are available for public use 24/7. These kiosks are both anonymous and environmentally friendly.

If there is an item not covered here that you want to get rid of, you can look up instructions on the City of Boston Household Waste Lookup Page. Just input the name of the item that you’re interested in, and you should get instructions on how to recycle or dispose of it. For more tips about how to dispose of specialized waste and keep Boston beautiful, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance Blog.

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