Below is a reprint of Mayor Ruthann Fuller’s recent email regarding the state of recycling in Newton and tips for recycling during the holiday season.


Unfortunately 18 percent of the recycling in our green bins is contaminated. As a result, our waste hauler is fining us, and it has cost us $65,611 this year.

That’s why we applied for the state grant to run an aggressive educational initiative to help all of us understand what should go into our green bins and what shouldn’t.

Newton inspectors have checked 14,604 recycling bins over the past nine weeks. Preliminary results show people along the three routes (of 25 across Newton) randomly selected for the program are learning and improving.

The inspectors first gave a warning if they found the wrong items in the cart along with specific feedback on what the problem was.

If, after the warning the bin was found to again contain contamination, it was not collected that week. A tag indicating the issue was left on the handles, and follow-up letters were sent. Once the issue was corrected, bins were collected the following week.

During the first week, 391 warnings were given. Last week, during the final week of the program, just 62 warnings were written.

What’s our biggest mistake? Plastic bags! But, we improved. During the first week, 237 of the warnings (or 61 percent) were issued for plastic bags. Last week, just 30 plastic bag warnings (48 percent) were written.

Bravo to Director of Environmental Affairs Waneta Trabert and Recycling Administrative Assistant Conni Melia who walked these routes and checked the bins no matter the weather.

What can and cannot be recycled curbside? Click here.

Here are some post-holiday recycling tips:

  • Ribbon = trash
  • Plain colored wrapping paper = recycling
  • Foil/shiny/sparkling wrapping paper = trash
  • Gift boxes = recycling
  • Packaging peanuts and foam wrap = trash
  • Any wrappers from candy and chips or clear plastic wrappers from items like microwave popcorn = trash

Christmas Trees and Leaves

Christmas tree pick-up runs Monday, Jan. 7 through Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Collection occurs on your regular waste collection day. The tree must be out to the curb by 7:00 a.m. Please make sure all decorations and lights are removed and sorry, trees cannot be in a plastic bag.

More EV Charging Stations at City Hall

Do you have an electric vehicle? Come on over to City Hall and use one of the four new charging stations installed over the weekend in the War Memorial Circle.

The four new stations have ports for eight cars. These are in addition to the charging stations at Newton South High School and at 52 Eliot Street. Two more stations with ports for four cars are coming to City Hall in 2019.

Headline Photo: What is wrong with these carts? Blue and green carts should be filled so that the lid remains open less than 12 inches above the top edge of the cart.  Residents can use the orange overflow bags available in stores for excess garbage, and extra green recycling carts are averrable at no charge from the DPW.