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Massachusetts Trash & Recycling Updates During COVID-19

Massachusetts ​Trash & Recycling Updates During COVID-19

Trash and Recycling Are “Essential Services” Under Governor Baker’s Executive Order

While we are all adjusting to the “new normal”, many folks are wondering if anything has changed with recycling. Good news.  Collection of trash and recycling is considered an “essential service” under Governor Baker’s executive order, meaning most trash and recycling services will continue to operate normally, with a few exceptions:

If you take your trash and recyclables to your municipal transfer station it’s wise to check hours of operation as some communities are reducing them.  If you have curbside collection, we recommend checking your municipal recycling web site to confirm that no changes have been made to collection schedules. For folks that privately subscribe to trash and recycling services, contact your service provider to confirm schedules and services. 

Temporary Change to Bottle and Can Deposit Rules

In light of COVID-19, Massachusetts has temporarily suspended enforcement of the requirement for retailers to accept beverage containers that have a deposit. Some stores and redemption centers may still choose to accept deposit items, but if your local supermarket or grocery store is not, try contacting a redemption center or hold onto your containers until they re-open for container redemption. You can also recycle these containers through your curbside or drop-off program. Click here for more info.

Reusable Bags Temporarily Prohibited at Grocery Stores and Pharmacies 

The Department of Public Health has issued an Order prohibiting the use of reusable checkout bags at grocery stores and pharmacies until further notice, as a precautionary measure to protect against the spread of COVID-19.  Essential businesses continuing to operate during this time, including those subject to local bans on single use plastic bags, may choose to use recyclable paper bags, compostable plastic bags or single-use plastic bags.  They may not charge customers a fee for these bags.  As you know, plastic bags and plastic wrap should not be included with household recycling. Given the precautions being taken, we ask that you hang onto plastic bags and plastic wrap for future recycling at a drop-off location. Please visit www.RecycleSmartma.org for tips and answers for recycling plastic bags and wrap.

With things changing every day — we appreciate your steadfast commitment to recycling smart. We hope all of you are staying healthy and safe.

The Recycle Smart Team at MassDEP

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