Recycling & Solid Waste

Recycling Guidelines

Single Stream Recycling Video Clip

When to Recycle

Recycle very other week on your trash day. Recycling must be at the curb by 6:30 am - the hauler will not return for late set-outs - and they sometimes need to run their route differently so could be at your house as early as 6:30 am even if they usually come later.


There is no limit on recycling but each container of recycling should weigh no more than 50 lbs.

What to Recycle

See page four of your Chelmsford Recycles flyer to see what to recycle at the curb. No polystyrene foam (such as Styrofoam) or other EPS plastic - even if it has the recycling symbol - and no plastic bags or other film plastic-like wrap in your curbside recycling. Recycle your plastic bags at area grocery store collection bins.

What Not to Recycle

Many items are recyclable but not in our curbside program. For example, plastic bags are not wanted in the curbside recycling program - recycle them at area grocery stores; polystyrene foam and other EPS plastic- goes in the trash, scrap metal - the only metal accepted in curbside recycling bins are food and beverage cans and aluminum pie-type plates – take scrap metal to area scrap dealers; greasy pizza boxes – recycle clean portions only – compost or trash the dirty portions; window glass, drinking glasses, ceramics – donate or trash. Please review page 4 of the recycling flier.

Preparation of Materials

Rinse bottles and cans and flatten boxes. Staples, paper clips, and window envelopes are all acceptable. Recycling is collected "single stream" so bottles, cans, other recyclable containers, paper, and cardboard can be together in the same bin or barrel. Large pieces of flattened cardboard may be placed under or between your recycling containers in to pieces no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet.


Trash-type barrels up to 64 gallons in capacity with free stickers from the Recycling Office (978-250-5203) work best as they hold more than recycling bins, have lids so recyclables stay dry, and many have wheels so they can be rolled to the curb. If you want town recycling bins (two free bins per household while supplies last), sign up at the Recycling Office.


Set recycling containers at least three feet from your trash to make it very clear which is which. Remember that we have two different haulers for trash and recycling: if you set your recyclables out with your trash or if your recyclables look like trash (for example, if you put them out in plastic bags), they probably won’t be picked up. Do not block sidewalks or access to mailbox.

Residents of Multifamily Properties that use dumpsters for trash and toters for recycling will follow these same guidelines as far as what to recycle and how to prepare the recyclables. Put recyclables in the black and yellow or green toters.

If you followed these guidelines but your recycling was missed, leave it at the curb and call Waste Management at 1-800-972-4545 within 24 hours of your scheduled collection. Call the Chelmsford Recycling / Solid Waste Office (978-250-5203) to report any serious or ongoing problems.