Watertown delays start of some waste and recycling changes

Watertown DPW Watertown’s trash can, recycling, compost bins.

Recently, the Department of Public Works announced changes to garbage and recycling collection in Watertown. The changes were expected to take effect soon, but some programs will be delayed.

The new rules for collecting loose items that don’t fit in trash cans, televisions, appliances and mattresses will not come into effect until a date to be announced.

When the new rules go into effect, residents will need to schedule the pickup of these items and pay a fee to have the items picked up. The City will offer a reduced rate to qualifying households. See more details on the upcoming changes below.

The extra day of operation at the Recycling Center (Tuesdays, as well as Fridays and Saturdays) and curbside composting have come into effect.

Watertown DPW Superintendent Greg St. Louis sent the following information:

The City of Watertown recently ratified the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan. This plan sets the goal of a 30% reduction in disposal tonnage statewide by 2030. The Watertown Department of Public Works is implementing new programmatic changes that will allow Watertown to achieve the 30% reduction in our disposal tonnage based on a 2019 baseline. New programs and policies have been created to increase the diversion of materials from disposal through reduced consumption, reuse existing items and expanding recycling programs. Thank you to all Watertown residents for your support and patience as we transition to these new policy changes.

There will be a delay at the start of some of these policy changes. Official start dates to come.

76 Stanley Avenue Recycling Center: Open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Watertown residents. Now active.

• Opening hours increase to 3 days a week from Monday September 12, 2022.
• Materials collected: cardboard, single-stream recycling, garden waste, electronic waste, batteries, textiles (clothing, shoes, bedding), scrap metal, hard plastics (outdoor furniture, toys, etc.), compost collection.
• New addition to the Recycling Center: Compost collection.

Food Waste/Compostable Materials: Watertown partners with Black Earth Compost to provide free food waste collection. Now active.

• Residents wishing to participate in the curbside collection program must register at: blackearthcompost.com/watertown
• Curbside collection pilot available for residents of buildings with 4 units or less.
• The compost depot will also be available at the Recycling Center for all residents.
o All leftover food must be emptied directly into communal bins. NO bags of any kind.
o Acceptable items: Meat, bones, dairy products, vegetables, leftovers, coffee grounds and filters, eggs, eggshells, seafood and seafood shells, napkins.
o Full list of items allowed in bins:

• Food waste collection will begin at Watertown Public Schools for school 2022-2023

Bulk Items: Burnable items (except mattresses) will now need to be scheduled and paid for curbside pickup by phone at 844-737-8254 through Republic Services. These items will be picked up at the curb on Wednesday. Please consider donating, selling or gifting furniture and items in good working order. This avoids disposing of large objects and reduces the need to create and transport new objects. Start date to be specified.

• All consumable bulk items will now need to be scheduled for pickup. Schedule and pay for pickup over the phone at 844-737-8254 through Republic Services. Residents can also use an outside supplier if they wish.
• Objects placed on the sidewalk that have not been programmed by the services of the Republic will not be collected and will be considered as illegal deposits, which may result in a fine.
• Places to donate or sell include Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing-Watertown Facebook page, craigslist.org…etc.
• Each household can schedule the collection of two combustible items per week.
• Prices for bulk item collection will depend on the item, its size and shape.

Small/medium items will be capped at $25/per item, and large items such as sofas will be
be capped at $50/per item.

Televisions/ Appliances: These items cannot go in the trash and must be recycled properly. White goods refers to household appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, ovens and microwaves…etc. Start date to be specified.

• Televisions/appliances will require payment and programming through Republic Services.
• Schedule and pay for pickup over the phone at 844-737-8254 through Republic Services.
• Collections will take place every Thursday.
• Pricing for White Goods/TV Collection will depend on the item, size and shape.

Small/medium items will be capped at $25/per item, and large items will be capped at $50/per item.

• MassSave offers free pick-up and recycling of household appliances. Consider planning a collection with them. To learn more, visit:

Mattress recycling: In accordance with the MassDEP laws coming into force in November 2022, mattresses and box springs will become prohibited items for waste. This means they cannot be thrown away and must be recycled. Watertown partners with HandUp, a mattress recycler. Schedule curbside pickup by phone (617-378-7619) or at www.handupmattress.com/curbside-pickup. Click the “Schedule City Pickup” button to register. Start date to be specified.

• Website for more information: www.handupmattress.com
• The City of Watertown has negotiated a price of $46 per item. HandUp accepts mattresses and box springs.
• Watertown will collect curbside one day per month.
• Mattresses left on the sidewalk that have not been scheduled for pickup with HandUp will be considered illegal dumping, which may result in a fine.
• The Services of the Republic will not collect mattresses at all.

The City of Watertown is offering a fixed price of $20 per item to customers who meet certain criteria based on income. If you are a Watertown resident in an owner-occupied property and have a real estate exemption under Section 17D or Section 41C, you qualify for this fixed price. If you are a resident of Watertown and receive fuel assistance, you are eligible for this fixed price. Please send a letter of interest and appropriate fuel assistance or property exemption documentation to the Recycling Division at recycle@watertown-ma.gov.

For questions and more information, please visit www.watertown-ma.gov/trash or email Watertown Recycling Coordinator Anya Pforzheimer at recycle@watertown-ma.gov