MassDEP Recycle Smart Partnership

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced a groundbreaking, statewide recycling education initiative to reduce contamination in recycling by asking residents to “do their part and recycle smart.”  

The cornerstone of this initiative is MassDEP's new website called that features the Smart Recycling Guide.  The Guide identifies the four categories of materials that every materials recovery facility (MRF) across the state accepts: 

  • Mixed paper and cardboard
  • Metal food and beverage cans
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Plastic bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs

The guide also identifies the top five contaminants that MRFs do not want in recycling loads and explains that these materials should be managed in other ways.  The top five contaminants are:

  • Bagged recyclables and bagged garbage
  • Loose plastic bags/plastic wrap
  • Food and liquids
  • Clothing or linens
  • “Tanglers” - hoses, wires, chains, strings of lights, etc.

The website includes theRecyclopedia search tool, where residents can search for hundreds of items (from paper bags to pizza boxes) to find out how to properly manage them.  There is also a video showing the recycling sorting process inside a MRF and answers to frequently asked questions about why and how to recycle smart.  But, the most important element of this initiative is your participation and partnership in helping to get the word out about smart recycling.