Recycling IQ Program

The City of Malden is currently running a program known as the Recycling IQ program.  It is a grant-funded program run by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection aimed at decreasing the amount of non-compliant and/or contaminated recycling that is set out by residents each week.

Program Timeline

  • Friday, August 28th - Informational postcard mailed to residents. This postcard
  • Monday, August 31st through Friday September 4th - Inspectors walk route and place warning tags on all recycling bins to inform residents about the program.
  • Wednesday, September 16th - Additional informational post card mailed to residents.
  • Tuesday, September 8th through Friday, October 30th - Inspectors walk trash routes looking for properly set out recycling and tagging any that does not comply.

How will this program work?

A team of inspectors will be walking around inspecting recycling bins to ensure that it contains appropriate items.  If something is in the bin that shouldn't be, they will tag the bin with an sticker that looks like the following.
Recycling IQ - Oops Tag Front

If they find something wrong, they will mark the appropriate box and the tag the bin and the recycling will not be collected that week. If you have more detailed questions, you may want to reference our "What goes in your bin?" flyer(PDF) which explains in detail why certain materials can or cannot be collected. 

What are some of the most common mistakes that are made?

Even the most conscientious recyclers must be careful to make sure they are following the rules. Here are some common mistakes.

  • Not washing out cans/bottles/jars and having food still on them;
  • Pizza boxes or other takeout food containers with food or grease on them;
  • Styrofoam materials (not recyclable); and
  • Using a plastic bag to contain your recyclables - recyclables MUST be in bins/barrels.
  • Putting in tangling items such as wires, string or twine.

These rules(PDF) are for our curbside recycling program.  Many types of materials can be recycled but not necessarily through our curbside program.  For a complete list of how to dispose of just about any material, please use our Waste Wizard database.

Why are we running this program?

Many of these rules have always been in place but haulers such as JRM have been able to deal with improper recycling through separating and sorting at their facility.  Recycling companies who end up purchasing these materials are themselves becoming more strict in what they will accept for recycled material.  This has forced haulers that are collecting these materials to become more restrictive in what they will collect and thus affecting residents who are attempting to recycle.

Additionally, recycling that ends up in the truck is inspected again at the sorting facility and materials found can often disqualify a whole truckload of material which is extremely costly to the City. 


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