Dept. of Public Works

70 Tapley Street
Springfield, MA 01104
Phone: 311 or 413.736.3111
M-F 7 a.m. - 3 p.m.


Frequently Asked Questions About Springfield's Single Stream Recycling Program

What is Single Stream Recycling?

Single Stream recycling refers to a new system that takes the two recycling streams collected through the Springfield curbside program "mixed paper and commingled containers" and allows residents to put them together in one container. The sorting of the recyclables will be done by machines at a processing facility. It is still important to follow the same guidelines applied to the two-bin program, except you put the two streams together.

How big is the recycling cart?

Your cart will be the 95-gallon size cart.

How should I put out my Single Stream Cart?

 Please place your cart on the tree belt or in your driveway. This will allow easier access for street sweeping and plowing. Please place your carts at least 3 feet apart to allow for easier pickup for the collection crew.

My barrel is too big and I won't fill my barrel every 2 weeks?

One of the advantages of the extra capacity is that you will not have to put it out as often, this saves the City money in collection costs. We ask that residents only put out their carts when they are half full or more.

Note: If you have difficulty with the size of the barrel due to other limitations please contact our call center at #311 and ask to have your blue barrel exchanged for a smaller one. We will process these requests as quickly as possible (there will be no charge for a barrel exchange).

How is this better than my old way of recycling?

Simply put, the Single Stream method requires no sorting of recyclables on the part of the resident's a method that allows residents to put all of their household recycling in to one cart and is easier and more convenient.

Do I need to clean items before putting them in the cart?

Your recyclables should be rinsed of food residue. All paper put into the cart must be dry.

What about recycling cardboard?

Cardboard can be cut up and placed in the cart. If you have too much you can bundle it in 3 x 3 squares no thicker than 1 foot and place it next to your recycling cart.

What if all my recycling doesn't fit in the cart?

For those instances where customers generate extra recycling they can place their recyclables in a reusable container and place it next to their recycling cart. Be sure to break down? or flatten boxboard and corrugated cardboard so that it fits more easily into the cart. 

What if my barrel needs repair?

Please contact customer service at #311. Repairs to blue barrels will be processed the same way
as with green barrels.

What items go in the 95 gallon Single Stream Cart?

Single Stream will allow you to recycle all of your current items which include:

1. Paper:
Newspaper
Office paper (plain or color paper, envelopes, stationery, sticky notes)
Junk mail (inserts, magazines, catalogs, ad circulars, etc)
Boxboard (food box packaging like cereal boxes- flatten to conserve space)
Corrugated cardboard (flatten to conserve space)

2. Aluminum:
Food cans (labels OK)
Soda cans

3. Rigid Plastics:
Jugs and bottles with recycle symbol # 1-7 (check bottom)
Round tubs such as yogurt and butter tubs with symbol 1 through 7
Small plastic food packaging such as fruit cups and baby food containers

4. Glass:
Bottles or jars, any color glass (rinsed and dry)

What items cannot go in the cart? Why not?

We cannot take disposable plastic bags, ovenable meat trays, or Styrofoam- in any form (take out containers, egg cartons, packaging). or broken glass. Why not? The recycling processing facility uses an automated system to sort and bale the recyclables. Plastic bags, for instance, will jam the automated machinery. Residents can take their plastic bags to some grocery stores, and place in their containers for recycling. You are encouraged to ask for paper bags during shopping or opt for the cloth/mesh reusable bags. We cannot take plastic disposable meat trays, pizza boxes, or Styrofoam (in any form- takeout containers, egg cartons, packing materials) because of contamination.

Learn More about Single Stream Recycling:

Page last updated:  Friday, March 28, 2014 02:19 pm