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Recycling Corner: A Color-Coded Primer For Residents


If you are in one of the 13,200 households subscribing to municipal waste services, the following information might be helpful. It is color-coded!


Every household was supplied with a Town of Brookline black waste cart for a week’s worth of trash — either a 35-gallon, 65-gallon or 95-gallon model. That cart is the cart that your trash must be in for collection.


Too much trash for your cart this week? Put the excess in a Town of Brookline purple overflow bag. They are available in sleeves of five for $3/bag at local stores. Leave the bag beside your black cart at curbside on collection day.


Recycling is mandatory. Each household was supplied with a blue recycling cart. It is a single stream system so you can mix paper and cardboard in with plastic, metal and glass containers. Recycling, like trash, is collected weekly.


Pink “Simple Recycling” plastic bags are for no longer needed clothes, shoes and usable home goods such as small appliances. Most people donate such things to charities. But if you cannot do that, please use the pink bag service. We are trying to keep stuff out of the waste stream.


Be sure to leave about two feet of clear air between your black cart and your blue cart. On most streets, trucks with mechanical arms grab, lift and empty the carts. Because it helps with his efficiency, the driver appreciates your leaving space between carts.


Yard waste must be in tan, paper yard waste bags or in barrels clearly marked “YARD WASTE.” Curbside collection of yard waste begins in April and ends in December.


Old corrugated cardboard (OCC) and paperboard/chipboard are very marketable recycling commodities. Please be sure that cardboard is flat, free from oil, dry and in your blue cart. Do not leave cardboard outside your cart. You can also drop cardboard off at the Centre Street lot — West.


Styrofoam — either white or any other color – must not be placed in your blue cart. It — like plastic bags — is not recyclable at curbside. Thanks.


Got household hazardous waste to get rid of? We have a free drop-off center for household hazardous products at the transfer station on Newton Street. It is open every Tuesday from 7:30a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through October.


Violation notices come in bright orange. You do not want one. Go to this website to learn more about Town of Brookline waste services so you do not come home to an orange notice on your door.


As nice as your neighbors are, they see red when residents ignore the protocols for solid waste and recycling. Appeal to their equanimity by making sure your household “gets with the program.” It is as simple as a color chart!

The Recycling Corner is prepared and submitted by a member of the Brookline Solid Waste Advisory Committee, in partnership with the Department of Public Works Sanitation Division. The selection of material for publication in the Recycling Corner does not necessarily imply endorsement by the town, nor do the views expressed herein necessarily reflect official positions of the town unless so stated.

For more information on sanitation, recycling and hazardous waste, visit here.