Watertown Delays Start of Some Trash & Recycling Changes

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Watertown DPW Watertown’s trash, recycling, compost toters.

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

The new rules for collection of bulk items that don’t fit into trash bins, TVs & appliances, and mattresses will not go into effect until a date to be announced.

When the new rules take effect, residents will have to schedule pickup of these items and will pay a fee to have the items collected. The City will offer a discounted rate to households that qualify. See more details about the upcoming changes below.

The additional day of operation at the Recycling Center (Tuesdays, along with Fridays and Saturdays) and the curbside composting have gone into effect.

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

The City of Watertown recently ratified the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan. This plan establishes the goal of a 30% statewide reduction in disposal tonnage between now and 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 diversion of materials away from disposal through reduced consumption, reuse of existing items, and expansion of recycling programs. Thank you to all Watertown residents for your support and patience as we transition into these new policy changes.

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

76 Stanley Ave. Recycle Center: Open Tuesday, Friday, & Saturday 9AM-4PM to Watertown residents. Active now.

• Open hours are transitioning to 3 days a week starting Monday, September 12th, 2022.
• Materials collected: Cardboard, single stream recycling, yard waste, e-waste, batteries, textiles (clothing, shoes, bedding), scrap metal items, hard plastics (outside furniture, toys, etc.), compost collection.
• New addition to Recycle Center: Compost collection.

Food Scraps/ Compostable Materials: Watertown is partnering with Black Earth Compost to provide free food waste collection. Active now.

• Residents that would like to participate in the curbside collection program must register at: blackearthcompost.com/watertown
• Curbside collection pilot available for residents in buildings with 4 units or fewer.
• Compost drop off will also be available at the Recycle Center for all residents.
o All food scraps must be emptied into communal totes directly. NO bags of any kind.
o Acceptable items: Meat, bones, dairy, vegetables, leftovers, coffee grounds and filters, eggs, eggshells, seafood and seafood shells, napkins.
o Complete list of items that are allowed into the bins:

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

Bulk items: Burnable items (excluding mattresses) will now have to be scheduled and paid for curbside pickup by phone at 844-737-8254 through Republic Services. These items will be collected curbside on Wednesdays. Please consider donating, selling, or gifting furniture and items that are in workable condition. This keeps large items out of disposal and decreases the need to create and transport new items. Start date to be announced.

• All burnable bulk items will now need to be scheduled for pickup. Schedule and pay for a pickup by phone at 844-737-8254 through Republic Services. Residents may also use an outside vendor if preferred.
• Items placed on the curb that have not been scheduled through Republic Services will not be collected and will be considered illegal dumping, which can result in a fine.
• Places to donate or sell include Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing-Watertown Facebook page, craigslist.org…etc.
• Each household can schedule collection for two burnable items per week.
• Prices for bulk item collection will depend on the item, size, and shape.

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

TVs/ White Goods: These items cannot go into the trash and must be recycled properly. White Goods refers to household appliances like stoves, fridges, dehumidifiers, ovens, and microwaves … etc. Start date to be announced.

• TVs/White goods will require payment and scheduling through Republic Services.
• Schedule and pay for a pickup by phone at 844-737-8254 through Republic Services.
• Collections will occur every Thursday.
• Prices 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 provides zero cost appliance pickup and recycling. Consider scheduling a collection with them. To learn more, visit:

Mattress Recycling: Per MassDEP laws going into effect November, 2022 mattresses and box springs will become waste ban items. This means they cannot be thrown away and must be recycled. Watertown is partnering with HandUp, a mattress recycler. Schedule a curbside pickup by phone (617-378-7619) or at www.handupmattress.com/curbside-pickup. Click the “Schedule town pickup” button to sign up. Start date to be announced.

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

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

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

3 thoughts on “Watertown Delays Start of Some Trash & Recycling Changes

  1. Thanks for the comment about the changes to the trash and recycling (and reminder you must sign your full name on comments).

    Sounds like the Council may be discussing the changes to the bulk items, appliances and mattresses on Tuesday night.

    I believe the timing of the change was due to the City’s recently signed agreement with the State.

  2. If people are concerned about the new fees going up at a time all other costs are going up and the lack of inclusive notice of the various changes much in advance might want to consider going to the Council meeting on Tuesday evening or connecting to it by calling in, zooming in or sending emails to your Councilors in advance of the meeting. No formal notifications were sent to residents. If you don’t subscribe to get news directly from the City website or read the Watertown News every day, you probably wouldn’t know this was even happening in another week!

  3. I received the notice of these changes only because my City Council rep sends out monthly updates. Changes or notices such as this and others should only happen after appropriate time and notice to residents
    (don’t depend on residents routinely consulting the town website or relying on FB to issue them)is ensured. A second and even more basic concern is a notice regarding. 2030 requirement going into effect just two weeks after a notice is issued. Another concern over this in my view is one of transparency and that changes to an existing contract between the City and the waste management contractor had been made which results in an increase to residents apparently without discussion involving potential effect to those residents. In addition, in my opinion the current contract is too limited in what a resident can and can’t properly dispose of. I certainly appreciate the current recycling alternatives the City has established and I’m not proposing a open ticket for disposal but the next contract discussion should certainly look at increasing what can be disposed of because the idea that “it is the hired contractor’s responsibility” is often not the answer.
    Lastly, perhaps DPW Superintendent St. Louis should choose better words in his memos than “illegal” and “fines” to describe a resident’s curbside waste disposal actions.

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