Zero Waste

zero_waste_web_1-400x300At the 2022 Town Meeting, Lexington adopted a Zero Waste Resolution. The resolution is a commitment to reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and support environmental justice in order to address the Town's declared climate emergency. Explore this page for actions you can take to support this effort.

Zero Waste Plan

The Zero Waste Resolution called for developing a Zero Waste Plan. The process to develop the plan started in 2022, soon after the resolution was passed at Town Meeting. 

The Town hosted a community meeting for the Zero Waste Plan on May 24, 2023. If you missed the meeting or would like to provide additional comments, please complete the public comment form


Lexington's Environmental Services Department has extensive information about how to recycle just about anything. Still not sure how to get rid of something? Check out the "How Can I Get Rid of..." page or search the Recyclopedia tool below.


Composting is an effective way to divert waste from the landfill, reducing unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. It also creates nutrient-rich compost to our soils that helps sequester more carbon and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. By composting food waste, Lexington can reduce the tonnage of waste it incinerates each year by about a third. Learn more about composting at home at 

Curbside Compost Pilot

The Town of Lexington is happy to announce the launch of a curbside composting pilot program. The program will allow 2,000 Lexington households to sign up for curbside pickup of food waste and other compostable items at no cost. The service will be run by Black Earth Compost. With compostable waste making up 35% of Lexington’s waste stream, this pilot is a critical step in reducing waste in our community.

  • How long is the pilot? The program is currently funded for one year—from July 1, 2023 to June 31, 2024. There is the possibility of extension and expansion of the pilot after the first year pending additional funding.
  • Who can sign up? Any Lexington household that can be served by Black Earth Compost is eligible to sign up for the pilot program. Black Earth can work with households living in condominiums or multifamily housing to find a workable solution for providing service. The program is first-come, first-serve, and only the first 2,000 households will be accepted into the program. The Town will maintain a waitlist.
  • When can I sign up? Sign-ups will open at 9 am on May 17th, 2023 on the Black Earth Compost landing page for the pilot program
  • What if I am already paying for curbside compost pickup? If you are currently paying for curbside compost service through Black Earth, you must sign up for the pilot if you would like your subscription cost to be covered as part of the program. If you are not among the first 2,000 to sign up, you will continue to be charged by Black Earth for the service. If you are currently paying for curbside compost service through a provider other than Black Earth, you can still sign up for the Town program. You would then cancel your existing subscription and enroll with Black Earth at no cost.
  • Will I get a bin when I sign up? All new Black Earth customers will receive a free starter kit, which includes the 13-gallon curbside bin, a countertop bin, and a roll of bin liners. Starter kits can be picked up from the Samuel Hadley Public Services Building (201 Bedford St.) after June 1, 2023
  • Do I need bin liners? Bin liners are strongly recommended as they will help keep your bin clean. After the first roll of liners provided in the starter kit, pilot participants are responsible for securing their own liners. All liners must be certified compostable by Biodegradable Products Institute, Compost Manufacturing Alliance, and TUV. Liners can be purchased through Black Earth in the shop section of your online account, but you are not required to purchase liners through Black Earth. Doubled-up brown paper bags can also be used as a liner when the temperature is above freezing.
  • What if I am not accepted but still want to start composting? You can pay for curbside service through Black Earth Compost and/or join the waiting list for the pilot program in case a spot opens up or the pilot is expanded. Alternatively, you can take advantage of the LexSORT drop off locations or start composting at home. See below or visit the Food & Kitchen Waste Composting page for more information about all of these options.

Other Ways to Compost at Home

If you are not part of the curbside compost pilot, you can still compost your food and kitchen waste at home.

  1. Curbside pick up. There are several companies that provide curbside collection of kitchen waste. The Town will provide you with a free covered collection bin if you bring your invoice from a curbside collection company to DPW Operations at the Public Service Building (201 Bedford St.). If you sign up for Black Earth Compost through a referral, you get $5 of your invoice and the referring customer gets a $5 credit. Non-profits like PTAs, churches, and LexZeroWaste can also receive $5 for referring a new customer.
  2. Drop off. LexZeroWaste has partnered with the Town of Lexington to launch LexSORT (Lexington Shared Organics Recovered Together) on a community composting drop-off pilot initiative that started in September 2021. After registering online, residents can drop off household food waste at the following locations:
    • Carriage House @ Lexington Community Center (39 Marrett Rd.)
    • Public Service Building (201 Bedford St.)

Visit LexZeroWaste's website for details and to register. It's free and easy!

  1. At home. You can compost your own food and yard waste at home with a backyard bin, which are available at a discount rate of $25 through the Town. Visit DPW Operations at the Public Service Building (201 Bedford St.) to purchase the bin. Pick it up at the Hartwell Composting Facility (60 Hartwell Ave.). Call 781-274-8300 with questions. 

Composting Yard Waste

Just like with food waste, composting yard waste is an effective method to divert waste from the incinerator and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are three ways you can compost your leaves and yard waste in Lexington:

  1. Put them out for curbside collection
  2. Take them to the Hartwell Composting Facility
  3. Compost them yourself at home

See the DPW's Leaves, Yard Waste & Composting page for details.

Other Waste Reduction Strategies

Donate, Don't Dispose

These organizations would love to get your gently-used, no-longer-needed items. 

Hazardous Waste Disposal Events

The Department of Public Works hosts Household Hazardous Waste collection events throughout the year. Visit the Hazardous Waste web page for details.

Paper Shredding

The Department of Public Works also holds paper shredding events throughout the year so you can safely dispose of documents with sensitive information. Visit the Paper Shredding web page for details.