New Trash & Recycling Collection Program Information

In anticipation of the end of our existing contract, the City of Melrose competitively bid and negotiated new trash and recycling collection and disposal contracts to begin on July 1, 2024.

The following are the anticipated changes that will be brought on by the new program. To learn more, read the Frequently Asked Questions.


Increased Trash Fee

The City's Trash Fee will increase to approximately $430/per household/per year. 

Why? The City has not updated its Trash Fee since 2005 (nearly 20 years) and since entering into its last contracts in 2012, the cost of providing trash and recycling services to residents has more than doubled. The increased cost of services and corresponding Trash Fee (listed below) reflect the City’s competitive bidding and thorough negotiation process to reach the best deal for Melrose in the current marketplace.

New City-Purchased-and-Owned Carts (Toters)

Casella Waste Management is requiring the City to purchase new wheeled carts (toters) to comply with the hauler’s automated pickup feature. The City will purchase and distribute the wheeled carts to customers and provide replacement parts and repairs at no additional cost to residents. All haulers that responded to the City’s proposal request required the City to purchase new wheeled carts.

We will provide each household with one (1) recycling toter and one (1) trash toter. The City will distribute the wheeled carts directly to customers' residences.

Universal Carts (Toter) Size

City-provided toters for recycling and trash will be 64-gallon carts (toters). The carts will be delivered to residents’ homes between June 3 and June 14. Residents do not need to be home at the time of delivery. The carts, which come with wheels for easy maneuvering and attached lids to keep recyclables dry and secure, must be used in place of the trash and recycling receptacles that residents are currently using for curbside collection.

Cart Placement for Automatic Pickup

Beginning July 1, residents must take care when placing their new carts on the curb to ensure Casella's automated trucks can pick them up.

Please follow Casella's steps for placing your carts on the curb for collection:

  1. Make sure your carts’ wheels and arrows face the curb. 
  2. Give 3 feet of space between each cart and other objects.
  3. Avoid overhead obstructions (wires, trees, etc.) within 4 ft. 

Doing your part to follow these steps ensures Casella’s driver can lift and dump your carts using the truck’s mechanical arm.

All Trash & Recycling MUST be Placed in City-Provided Carts 

Residents MUST place all their trash and recycling, materials inside their carts on collection day. Materials placed outside of carts cannot and will not be collected by automated trucks.


In January and February 2024, we solicited your input via a Trash and Recycling survey, and in response, we published a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page.

Have a question? Send it in to the Department of Public Works by emailing


February 20, 2024

On Tuesday, February 20, the DPW staff provided the Appropriations and Oversight Committee (A&O) with an overview of the City's trash & recycling contract negotiations.

The 2.20.24 A&O agenda packet includes the DPW's slide deck that outlines the following:

  • Procurement and Bidding of New Contract
  • Bid Comparison and Final Pricing
  • Side-by-Side Comparisons
  • Cost for Every Week Recycling Services
  • Key Services and Changes
  • Strategy of New Program Rollout

Click here to view the 2.20.24 A&O agenda packet.

December 11, 2023

In December, 2023, DPW staff updated the City Council on the new contract. Click here to watch the discussion.

How do other communities pay for trash and recycling? 

To learn how other communities in Massachusetts pay for trash and recycling servicies, visit