Guest Op-Ed: Regarding Trash Policies in Town

By Wendy Millar Page

Winthrop, like all municipalities, has seen a drastic increase in solid waste costs. The cost of solid waste and recycling is a global issue forcing substantial changes to how municipalities regulate trash and recycling. Private hauling companies set prices based on costs of disposal, transportation, wages, fuel, and insurance. As these rates rise, so does the expense of services. Haulers must pay a per-ton fee to dispose of waste. Federal and state regulations have also added to the increase in haulers bottom lines. Recycling rates fluctuate based on national and global demand. The Town anticipates these costs will continue to rise. We continue to engage in initiative-taking approaches to reduce waste and help our environment at the same time. The Town of Winthrop is striving to meet the goals set for the state by MassDEP for reducing tonnage. MassDEP issued its final 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan in October 2021. The document establishes goals to reduce disposal statewide by 30 percent (from 5.7 million tons in 2018 to 4 million tons in 2030) over the next decade. It sets a long-term goal of achieving a 90 percent reduction in disposal to 570,000 tons by 2050. In Massachusetts, we are rapidly running out of space at our in-state landfills. Other states which have agreed to receive solid waste are now regulating and eliminating out of state loads. Winthrop will need to do our part.

The DEP has included textiles, mattresses, and box springs on the list of banned materials for collection by haulers. The Town has Textile Recovery Bins at the Public Landing, the Walden Street basketball courts and by the DPW Yard on Kennedy Drive. Capitol Waste has taken over all mattress and box spring recovery for recycling. There are Book Donation bins located by the Middle School entrance on Payson Street and in the Town Hall parking lot. As residents follow these mandates and utilize these reduction strategies, Winthrop will be on the right track to lowering our tonnage to landfills and incinerators. As part of the reduction plan, the Town Council has approved a new ordinance regarding solid waste collection. As of July 1, 2023, all residents in 1–3-unit dwellings will be permitted to utilize one (1) town-issued trash bin and one (1) town-issued recycling bin per unit, per dwelling. Any trash not in the Town provided bin must be in a Town of Winthrop Overflow Trash Bag. These bags will be removed curbside, if placed inside a closed, covered bin supplied by the resident. Any trash placed for pickup not following this policy will be rejected, and not collected by the hauler. Bags/items left on the curb after pick-up are subject to violations/fees. Overflow bags are available in sleeves of five (5) bags for fifteen dollars ($15.00). Sales locations are to be determined. Before July 1,2023, an announcement of sales locations will be posted on the town website.

Additionally, a limit of (2) two bulk items per unit will be collected weekly. You can select the category for the type of sticker you need to purchase for bulk items online only, by visiting the town website. The oversized item orange stickers will be ($10.00) ten dollars each as of July 1, 2023. Instead of sending useful items to the landfill or incinerator, consider offering these items on a local marketplace site or donating them to charity. Charities will come to your residence to pick up unwanted items. The Town partners with CMRK, Inc., who collects the textiles from the Town Textile bins. CMRK is a wonderful option. Visit for more information. Please note, the Town has an ordinance regarding items left outside for free. ‘Curb-alert’ or ‘take-me’ items may not be on any sidewalk. These items must be on your residential property. Items left on a sidewalk may be subject to a violation/fee.

If you need additional information, please visit the town website( and go to the Solid Waste(trash) & Recycling page.

Working together to find creative solutions, reducing tonnage, and helping the planet at the same time is a win-win for us all. Let us rethink, reuse, repair, refill, reduce, repurpose, reimagine, and re-earth (compost) before we recycle or place anything in the trash.

Wendy Millar Page is the Solid Waste and Recycling Manager for the Town of Winthrop.

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