Waste Reduction: Recycling can-do

In a previous column, I explained why some common items can’t be put in curbside recycling. Here is information on what you CAN do to reuse or recycle items that cannot go in curbside recycling, rather than throw them in the trash.

You can find a lot of this information and more in the Gazette’s “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair Guide,” and you can also search http://www.earth911 .com and whotakeswhat.word press.com.

Briefly, here’s what you can do with…

Plastic bags

Return clean and dry to any of the following stores- Stop and Shop, Big Y, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Whole Foods, and Target. They all have collection bins inside near the entrance.

Small electronics

(NOT including appliances)

Staples and Best Buy take back all working and non-working small electronics (phones, laptops, hard drives, monitors, printers, faxes, music players).

Old cell phones can be brought to Staples, Target, Home Depot, and Whole Foods.

Goodwill, Salvation Army and Savers accept working small electronics in good condition.

Most town transfer stations take electronics or have take-back events (fees apply) – contact your town solid waste department.

Valley Recycling takes electronics for a fee, no permit required

Compact fluorescent bulbs

Recycle at:


Home Depot

Whole Foods

Town transfer stations (check)

Ink and Toner Cartridges

Return to:


Best Buy



Whole Foods


(Clothing, shoes, linens, etc.)

Salvation Army, Goodwill, Savers, some transfer station swap shops, and Northampton and Amherst Survival Centers (call first), take these items. Consignment stores pay for clothing in good condition, or sell online.

You can leave these items, even in bad condition, in donation boxes for resale or recycling. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Savers also take ripped and stained clothes for recycling.

Appliances (working):

Donate in good condition to Goodwill, Salvation Army, Savers (call to schedule free pickups), or the Amherst Survival Center (small appliances only).

Some transfer station swap shops accept appliances (check first).

Give away or sell online.

Appliances (not working):

Lowe’s takes back all appliances for a $20 fee.

Best Buy takes back most small appliances for no charge.

Most transfer stations take appliances for a fee, permit required.

Valley Recycling takes appliances for a fee, no permit required.

Household items

(Cookware, toys etc.)

Salvation Army, Goodwill, Savers and transfer station swap shops (check first) generally take these items in good condition.


Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Savers take donations of furniture in good condition – call to schedule a free pickup. Some transfer station swap shops also accept furniture.

Give away or sell online.

Hazardous materials

Bring household hazardous materials such as oil-based paint, pesticides/herbicides, and anything containing lead, mercury, or petroleum, to hazardous waste collection events. Pre-registration is required for all events- contact your town’s solid waste department. For a list of 2018 local events, go to /northamp tonma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/7051/2017-Reciprocal-HHW-Events

Garden pots and trays

Lowe’s takes plastic trays and pots back, including broken ones, for reuse and recycling.

Hadley Garden Center takes back trays and pots in good condition for reuse.

Food waste

You can significantly reduce your trash output by composting food waste. You can compost it yourself, pay for a collection service, or drop it off for free at the Northampton or Amherst Transfer Stations (permit required). Alternative Recycling, Pedal People, and City Compost have curbside collection services in many towns.

Unsure about something not on this list? Check the Gazette Earth Day guide, or go to http://www.earth911.com or whotakeswhat.wordpress.com.

Author: Going Green

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