Is there a story you think we should be covering? Have a tip on something we should look at?
Contact Us

Worcester Recycling Collection Won’t Take ‘Unacceptable Materials,’ Plastic Bags Starting Oct. 1

By Tom Marino | October 1, 2022
Last Updated: October 11, 2022

WORCESTER – Starting Oct. 1, Worcester’s recycling hauler and processer, Casella Waste Management of Massachusetts Inc., will no longer be collecting recycling bins that contain unacceptable materials or recycling stored in plastic bags.

Plastic bags are problematic for the large machines that do the sorting of materials back at the recycling facility.

“The most important thing for residents to understand is that plastic bags cannot be recycled,” DPW Commissioner Jay Fink said.  “Do not put recycling items in a plastic bag.  Just put all the eligible items right into the green bin and Casella will take care of the rest.”

Residents should put these eligible items inside their green recycling bins:

  • Empty and rinse metal food and beverage cans.
  • Empty and replace the cap for plastic bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs.
  • Empty and rinse glass bottles and jars.
  • Empty and flatten paper and cardboard, including newspapers, magazines, and boxes.

Materials that CANNOT be recycled in the green bin include:

  • No plastic bags, either individually or filled with materials.
  • No wax coated paper items.
  • No disposable items such as plastic cutlery, paper towels, or Styrofoam takeout food containers.
  • No food or liquid, all containers must be emptied.
  • No clothing or linens
  • No items that will tangle in the sorting machines such as hoses, electrical wires, or chains.
  • No batteries, scrap metal, pans, or aerosol cans.
  • No electronic devices or hazardous materials.
  • No ceramics or baking glass.
  • No medical waste, including gloves and masks.
  • No yard waste, such as wood or tires.

Bins that include contaminated items will be left at the curb. Residents can either bring the materials back to their homes, remove the contaminates from the bin, and put the bin out the following week, or they can take the eligible materials to the Residential Drop-Off Center at 1065 Millbury St.

“Recycling is extremely important,” Fink said. “It’s critical for us all to keep reusable materials out of the waste stream. Throwing recyclable materials into the garbage is not only expensive, in terms of disposal, but bad for the environment.”

“If we all do our part by taking a few extra moments to ensure our new recycling bins contain the right items, our City can have a major impact,” Fink added.

Additional bins may be purchased for $12 starting at 20 East Worcester St. Residents can also use their own bins.

For more information, visit or call the Customer Service Center at 508-929-1300.


Lead image courtesy: City of Worcester (Edited)

Follow us on, the social network for Worcester and you!