Joan Sawyer of Bedford said the ring, which belonged to her late great-aunt, was wrapped in a paper towel when she mistakenly threw it away Nov. 8. She did not realize she had disposed of the ring until after the weekly garbage pickup the following day, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday.
Sawyer called Bedford's Department of Public Works, which told her to contact Allied Waste Services. The trash company told her the garbage had been taken to the Covanta incinerator in Haverhill, where she and her husband met workers and searched through 10 tons of trash to find the ring.
Sawyer said she recognized some of her trash and the ring was in the first paper towel her husband picked up when the bag split open.
"This is our second time in 20 years that we've been able to recover jewelry," said Ken Nydam, business manager for the Covanta plant. He said those who lose valuables in the trash are often too late to retrieve them.