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Waste Reduction & Recycling

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Repeat

Waste Reduction & Recycling


Reducing Waste and Improving Our Recycling Rate Saves Money, Reduces Litter, and Conserves Natural Resouces

Most people haul their trash out to the curb or place it in a dumpster each week with little thought as to where their trash goes or what it costs to dispose of it. Yet each year, consumers, municipalities, and businesses in Massachusetts spend millions on solid waste disposal fees. The majority of this waste ends up in landfills or incinerators. 

According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, we incinerate about 60% of our trash each year, while about 40% goes to landfills. As recently as the 1980s, there were more than 300 operating landfills in Massachusetts. Today, we are down to 5 in-state operating landfills, and most are due to reach capacity and close by 2030. As a result, we are now shipping approximately 20% of our state's trash to other states. That's a costly and inefficient system.

While there is no silver-bullet solution, we can all take steps to reduce the amount of trash we each generate. Simple changes, such as using reusable beverage containers and shopping bags, can help. We can also step up efforts to promote recycling, educate people on how to recycle correctly, and pass extended producer responsibility laws.

To learn more about the latest efforts to improve recycling in Massachusetts, watch our Talking Trash & Recycling program or request a live or Zoom-based presentation. We also encourage everyone to listen to Mass Recycle's Podcast.

Keep Massachusetts Beautiful supports and promotes all efforts to reduce the production and consumption of single-use plastic and increase recycling rates in Massachusetts homes, schools, and businesses through a variety of programs, including:

  • RecycleSmart serves as a hub of information that helps to demystify the recycling process here in Massachusetts. Visit to get answers to your recycling questions.

  • Zero waste is not simply a fad and it’s not some pie-in-the-sky idea. It’s our future. Learn more about efforts to achieve a zero-waste Massachusetts.

  • A recycling assistance program that helps businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and food waste diversion opportunities.

  • Event organizers educate neighbors, friends, and colleagues about the benefits of recycling through thousands of recycling events across the U.S. on November 15 each year.

  • Disposing of HHW products in the trash or by adding them to recycling bins is harmful to the health of humans, animals, and the environment. Learn how to manage these items in your household.