Archive 2008 - 2019

New Trash and Recycling Program Comes to Holliston in July

by Hannah Catlin

Holliston is adopting a new waste management system as of July 1, 2019. The town has declined to renew their current contract with Republic Services and has switched to Westborough-based hauler E.L. Harvey instead.

The first and most notable change will be the new trash and recycling carts. Each resident will be allotted a 35-gallon trash cart and a 65-gallon recycling cart. Both trash and recycling carts will be provided by E.L. Harvey and delivered to each household sometime in mid- or late June.

Citizens will be required to use the new carts — which will be grey and marked with the town seal — as the new haulers are automatic and will not be able to pick up other carts or old bins.

According to the Sustainable Waste Management and Recycling Committee, the new system represents a “lateral move.” They want to assure citizens that while the look of Holliston’s trash collection is changing, the system remains much the same.

“We are not changing the existing trash program that’s been on the books since the mid-nineties. 35-gallons and then the [$2] overflow sticker [on any additional trash],” committee member Christine Schulz-Beling said. “The only thing we’re changing is we’re giving you a barrel, and they’re doing automated collection.”

In fact, the switch to E.L. Harvey should represent financial savings for the town. Automated collection, like that used by the new hauler, is more efficient and safer than the old system.

“That creates efficiency for the hauler so our cost to the community goes down,” committee member Michael Lavin said.

And while the amount of trash is remaining the same, citizens will also be able to dispose of more recyclable waste per week: 65 gallons.

“What we’ve found is the larger container we give people to recycle, the more they recycle. The more they recycle, the less trash they dispose of,” Lavin said. “Our opportunity is to give them the most opportunities to recycle as conveniently as possible.”

In addition to increasing the allowed quantity of recycling, the town is also switching to single-stream recycling as opposed to a sorted system. This means that residents will no longer have to sort their paper and plastic recycling and can dispose of all recyclables in the same cart.

That being said, the committee members agreed that citizens should take the opportunity to re-familiarize themselves with what belongs in the recycling in the first place. Oftentimes, people accidentally recycle trash, thinking their waste should be recyclable.

“They call it wish-cycling,” Schulz-Beling said. “Where people wish they could recycle something but you really contaminate the stream by doing that.”

This often happens with so-called “tanglers.” Garden hoses and clothes-hangers are common perpetrators. When trash and tanglers contaminate the stream of recycling, it can stop up the process later on. In the case of tanglers, contaminants can even damage machinery.

“It’s incumbent upon us to keep the contamination rate down so we pay as little as possible,” Lavin said.

More information about single-stream recycling and the new waste management program more generally will make its way to residents in the coming weeks.

“They’re going to be doing a townwide mailer that currently the town and the new hauler are working on to educate each homeowner,” Lavin said.

Additionally, homeowners will be individually notified of any changes to the waste pick-up schedule.

Overall the schedule should not change very much if there were to be a change we will try to notify residents of the change,” Town Administrator Jeff Ritter wrote in an email to

The Sustainable Waste Management and Recycling Committee said that while the change may seem sudden, the switch is essential to keeping Holliston up-to-date with the waste management process in the rest of the state.

“Holliston has been a little antiquated,” Schulz-Beling said. “The best management practice is these carts… We’ve just joined the twenty-first century.”

Comments (17)

How do you handle excess waste? Can you use a non-provided trash barrel along with the extra barrel stickers?

Ken Campbell | 2019-06-05 11:07:11

Thanks for the info Hannah. I'm happy with the change, no need to chase lids down the street anymore!

Joe Jankovsky | 2019-05-31 09:15:59

What is going to be done for the commercial businesses that uses the curbside pick-up and who should be contacted for more information about that?

K McKeown | 2019-05-31 09:11:10

I thought it was a well-written article! Thoughtful layout, contained a lot of great information, and stellar follow-up to questions in the comments. Can't wait to see what's next!

Justin Brown | 2019-05-31 01:33:32

Another followup on bulky waste from Jeff Ritter. Bulky pickup "must be done by appointment by calling the 1-800 number in advance to schedule." E.L. Harvey can be reached at: (800) 321-3002

Hannah Catlin | 2019-05-30 21:50:47

I'm not happy about all...

Terry Duerod | 2019-05-30 18:50:01

Gene and Claire: Update from Town Administrator Jeff Ritter - households will be allowed to put out "one bulky item per week per resident no additional charge."

Hannah Catlin | 2019-05-30 11:25:16

Since the automatic trucks will only be able to pick up the new barrels, how will plastic bags with the stickers be picked up?

joe rajunas | 2019-05-29 23:24:47

Claire: Tanglers can be disposed of in the regular trash, they just can't be recycled. Here's a website with more information on tanglers Gene and Claire: From what I understand from the meeting I attended, bulky item pickup will be pay-as-you-go. I'm currently pursuing answers as to how residents will be able to pay - whether beforehand or through a bill afterwards - and will check back in as soon as I hear more. Mark: Unfortunately, even though your barrel is compatible with other automated trucks, E.L. Harvey will only collect waste in the new carts distributed to you by the town and emblazoned with the town logo. To dispose of additional trash, you will need a sticker. In a previous comment, I described where you can obtain these overflow stickers and more information about the overflow program. Again, the rules as to how much trash you are allowed to dispose of are not technically changing, even if exceptions may have been made in the past. As for what to do with your current barell, the town is currently working on finding a location for residents to drop off their old bins. They have not come to a decision yet, but citizens will be informed when a location is determined. As soon as I hear a location, I will update the article. In speaking of updating the article. Joe: The following are the sizes of the new barrels. Trash carts: 37.5 inches tall, 18.5 inches wide, 24.1 inches deep Recycling carts: 41.3 inches tall, 26.7 inches wide, 28.1 inches deep

Hannah Catlin | 2019-05-29 14:43:14

I think people are going to be unpleasantly surprised when they realize how small a 35 gallon barrel is. That may technically be the limit with Republic, but in reality I think they take any size barrel that is put out there. I have a 55 gallon barrel I've been using, that is compatible with the automated trucks - can I continue to use that? If not, what do I do with it - try to fit it into the 65 gallon recycle bin? Also I think having such as small trash barrel and large recycle barrel is just going to encourage more "wish-cycling", when people find that their trash barrel is full but they still have room in the recycle barrel.

Mark Haddad | 2019-05-29 12:16:41

Danglers=what are the instructions for these items? Yes, what are the plans for disposal of mattresses, old furniture, appliances?

Claire Bresnahan | 2019-05-29 09:40:19

Can we still call to get large items (mattresses, appliances) picked up.

Gene varley | 2019-05-28 19:21:07

John: The sticker program is not changing, so no new barrel is necessary. If you have trash that doesn't fit in your 35-gallon barrel, you will need to purchase a sticker to mark the bags when you put them out on trash day. These stickers will still be available at Town Hall, Holliston True Value, Superette, and various other locations around town. Also, seniors and families who use the Holliston Food Pantry will still be eligible to receive six free overflow stickers annually at Town Hall. More information on the sticker program is here: Joe: I've reached back out to a representative of the Sustainable Waste Management and Recycling Committee and will update the article with the dimensions of the new bins as soon as I get a response. Thanks for your question!

Hannah Catlin | 2019-05-28 15:55:51

I have so many questions that I don't know where to begin...

Terry Duerod | 2019-05-28 14:44:03

The sticker program will not be changed. Any bags or barrels with the sticker affixed will be collected.

Mike Lavin | 2019-05-28 13:17:38

Can someone share the dimensions of the new bins? Wondering if I need a new space for them. Thanks.

Joe Jankovsky | 2019-05-28 10:37:59

How will the $2.00 overflow trash be handled? Will we need another trash barrel?

John Grimes | 2019-05-28 09:50:30