Recycling & Sustainable Materials Management Handbook

This Handbook has been prepared for Massachusetts-based municipal employees and/or volunteers who work to increase recycling and waste prevention measures, whether they are brand new or very experienced, regardless of whether they represent tiny towns or big cities. This handbook cannot provide all the answers for all time because the field changes so rapidly. We have chosen instead to provide a brief discussion of each issue including suggestions for action and resources (both people and places) to turn for more up-to-date information. This handbook provides basic information to use when designing a program or finding information for that resident or businessperson who has yet another version of that perennial question “What do I do with my….?”

The “handbook is excellent.  There is some great information that would be very helpful for some of the towns I work for in” my district.


“This handbook is such an incredible resource!”


Sample of 2022 Handbook

Access to the Recycling & Sustainable Materials Management Handbook is a MassRecycle member benefit.  If you are a member you need to login to gain access to it. Not a member, join today!

Click here to View a Sample.

History of the Handbook

The Handbook was first developed in 2002 as part of a technical assistance grant received from MassDEP. The intent of the grant was to educate and train recycling coordinators by providing a thorough overview of the recycling basics. The first “Recycling Coordinator Training” was held in June 2002. The Handbook was revived in 2006 and distributed at the MassRecycle Conference in January 2006. Each year, from 2007 to 2010, the Handbook was revised and distributed at the annual conference. In 2021, MassRecycle’s Professional Development Committee decided to revive and revamp the Handbook in 2021 to be released in spring 2022. A special thanks goes to many individuals working tirelessly in the field and you can see all the wonderful editors and writers at the end of this document.

Future of the Handbook

MassRecycle’s Professional Development Committee plans to revise this document once a year. If there are topics missing or needing updates, the committee invites you to join them to kick off the 7th edition editing process.


MassRecycle would like to especially thank the 2022 Professional Development Committee for their dedication in bringing life back into the Handbook.

Gail Garron Bernard, MassDEP  |  Jed Lindholm, Wachusett Earthday  |  Abbey Massaro, Center for EcoTechnology
Taylor Millspaugh, WasteZero  |  Charles Tyler, Town of Sherborn  |  Susan Waite, MassDEP
Gunther Wellenstein, City of Haverhill  |  Jessica Wozniak, MassRecycle

Over the years, this document has grown and transformed through many revisions. Several people were especially helpful in writing and reviewing this document over the years. Those in bold assisted in the latest version.

  • Jan Ameen, Franklin County Solid Waste District
  • Peggy Schwarz Ayers, formerly of Marlborough Recycling Committee
  • George Camougis, Former MassRecycle Board Member
  • Mike Cicale, Town of Wellfleet
  • Tessa David, North Central Regional Solid Waste Cooperative
  • Ruth Davis, formerly of MIT
  • Mary Delahanty, formerly of Town of Billerica
  • John Dempsey, Brookline Solid Waste Advisory
  • John Fischer, MassDEP
  • Megan Harrington, Former MassRecycle Staff
  • Robert Holt, Truro Recycling Committee
  • Pam Irwin, formerly of Town of Danvers
  • MassDEP Staff
  • Tina Klein, formerly of MassDEP & N. Andover SWAC
  • Randi Mail, formerly of City of Cambridge
  • Abbey Massaro, Center for EcoTechnology
  • Ed McGrath, formerly of North Reading Recycling Committee
  • Taylor Millspaugh, WasteZero
  • Dmitriy Nikolayev, MA Operational Services Division
  • Linda Paquet, Former MassRecycle Board Member
  • Cheryl Perry, City of Attleboro
  • Lynne Pledger, Hardwick Recycling Committee
  • Rod Robison, formerly of Town of Concord
  • Julie Rose, formerly of City of Salem
  • Laurie Sabol, formerly of Ayer Recycling Committee
  • Samantha Salvatore, Center for EcoTechnology
  • Patrick Scanlon, Scanlon Associates
  • Rachel Smith, MassDEP
  • Angie Sottile, formerly of Town of Framingham
  • Jane Southworth, formerly of Town of South Hadley
  • Claire Galkowski, South Shore Recycling Cooperative
  • Debbie Sullivan, Town of Marshfield
  • Charles Tyler, Town of Sherborn
  • Ruth Yannetti, formerly of Town of Arlington
  • Kim Wetzel, Former MassRecycle Staff
  • Katrina Wheelock, Former MassRecycle Volunteer
  • Jessica Wozniak, MassRecycle Staff
  • Samantha Wozniak, Student

MassDEP Municipal Assistance Coordinators

Irene Congdon | Carolyn Dann | Janine Delaney | Edith DeMello | Gail Garron Bernard
Sharon Kishida | Arlene Miller | Kathi Mirza | Rosemary Nolan | Susan Waite