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To find out where to recycle, reuse, or re-purpose items n Massachusetts, use the searchable database, Beyond The Bin which is administered by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
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Automotive-related items: DPW Yard accepts: oil filters, motor oil, tires and car batteries are accepted. The oil is used to heat the DPW building so it must be as clean as possible. Tires are also accepted (with the exception of commercial tires which are not accepted). Please limit your tire disposal to 2 per month. Items not accepted: gasoline, anti-freeze, contaminated motor oil. These items, however, can be brought to the DPW during the Hazardous Waste Collection Day (typically the last Saturday in September).
Batteries are a unique product comprised of heavy metals and other elements. Some of these toxic heavy metals include nickel cadmium, alkaline, mercury, nickel metal hydride and lead acid. It is these elements that threaten our environment if not properly discarded.
Not all batteries are the same, and there are different ways to ensure each type is properly discarded or recycled. The batteries that consumers use most include household alkaline batteries, nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), rechargeable batteries, button cell, automotive and non-automotive lead based batteries.
That’s a lot of batteries – how do you know what type you are using? The following information might help:
Household/Alkaline batteries are common, single-use batteries – AA, AAA, C and D. These batteries have little to no mercury in them and recycling programs generally no longer accept them. In Gloucester, we do not. It is perfectly safe to dispose of them in the trash.
Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) are rechargeable batteries- considered to be hazardous waste, and MUST be recycled.
Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) or Lithium-Ion are commonly used in laptops. They are considered non-hazardous waste but contain elements that can be recycled.
Button cell batteries are commonly used in hearing aids, calculators, and watches. These batteries contain silver, mercury, and other elements that are hazardous to the environment and should be recycled.
Automotive & sealed lead-based batteries contain hazardous materials and elements that can be reused and should be recycled as well.
Clothing & Shoes: The Salvation Army and Goodwill both collect and resell clothing at low prices and use the proceeds to fund their own charitable activities, so donations help make a positive difference on multiple levels. Put clothes in a drop box run by a charity. Donation drop boxes are usually located in the parking lots near stores or shopping centers. You should check beforehand that the charity name on the box is a legitimate one--there are many organizations that use items donated in drop boxes for their own profit, rather than for helping others. Contact local homeless shelters and ask if clothing donations are needed. See if there are any specific clothing items that they need most. Action, Inc., Second Glance, Planet Aid boxes, Winter clothing is always in demand during the winter for warmth drives commonly held at schools, banks, community centers, and places of worship. Special items: such as prom dresses for teens who may not be able to afford to purchase one. Business/professional attire is often collected to help people in interviewing for jobs; Wellspring in Gloucester or other organizations (Rosie’s Place in Boston, MA). Organizations for Clothing/Shoes "Beyond the Bin", Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, Salvation Army, Second Glance. Current Drop Box Locations: Hiltz Disposal, 24 Kondelin Road, Gloucester, MA (accessible M-F 7:00 am - 4:00 pm), JD Myers Pub, 24 Lexington Avenue, Gloucester, MA, Holy Family Parish, 74 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, MA, Red Barrel Restaurant, 171 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA, Tony Tally Motor Sales, 209 Essex Avenue, Gloucester, MA, Dawn’s Studio of Dance, 42 Eastern Avenue, Gloucester, MA.
Electronics/E-Waste Staple’s Office Store locations generally accept electronics and e-waste to no cost to you —regardless of brand, condition, where it was purchased. For more information of Staple’s Recycling Program, visit Staples.com.
The DPW Yard accepts fluorescent light bulbs.
Furniture: Second Glance on Pond Road, Gloucester has a furniture annex. Second Glance is part of the Open Door Food Pantry’s fundraising activities; both are non-profits and all monies raised through the sale of their furniture and other goods go directly to feeding hundreds of families on Cape Ann. For hours of operation, to schedule a pickup, or make an appointment, call (978) 283-4298 or visit their website Open Door Food Pantry. Beyond The Bin also has information on where to recycle furniture.
Although not as prevalent on grocery shelves as they used to be, glass bottles and jars still have a presence and need to be recycled when empty. Whether they once held beer, wine, spaghetti sauce, baby food, or salsa, glass containers are easy to recycle because they can easily be recycled back to new glass.
Inexplicably, only about 22 percent of glass bottles and jars are recycled nationally. Massachusetts recycles 66 percent due in part to our deposit laws on beverage containers. But aside from getting your nickel back for your bottles, why should you recycle glass bottles and containers? Glass is forever. Glass can be recycled an infinite number of times; it really does get recycled! The same glass bottle or jar can be recycled over and over again into the same high quality glass every time. Glass bottles and jars go from recycling bin to store shelf in as few as 30 days. An estimated 80 percent of recovered glass containers are made into new glass bottles.
Glass saves energy. By using recycled glass cullet, the glass container industry reduces the amount of energy it needs for its furnaces. Using recycled glass minimizes consumption of raw materials and lessens the industry’s overall demand for energy. Plus it’s cost efficient. The glass recycling process is a closed-loop system, creating no additional waste or by-products.
Glass recycling lessens greenhouse gas emissions. For container glass, a 10 percent increase in cullet reduces particulates by 8 percent, reduces nitrogen oxide by 4 percent, and reduces sulfur oxides by 10 percent. And, for every six ton of recycled container glass used, one ton of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is reduced.
Glass saves raw materials. For every ton of glass recycled, more than a ton of raw materials are saved, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar. Save the landfill; Save the World. Recycling glass helps to preserve natural resources while lessening the load on landfills—and helping communities avoid expensive disposal costs.
While the majority of recycled glass is made into new glass bottles and jars, glass can also be remade into other products. The second largest market for recycled glass is fiberglass. Other markets include abrasives, "glasphalt" glass beads for reflective paint and filler in storm drains.
Accepted Scrap Metal: Metal items that are at least 80% metal; some acceptable items include bicycles, water heaters, tools, washers, dryers, dishwashers, file cabinets, metal chairs, and gas grills (without propane tanks). Unacceptable items: Propane tanks, any item containing freon such as air conditioners, refrigerators, or dehumidifiers.
In the recycling world, the term is “single stream”; the sorting technology and workers in the sorting plants do the separation, with conveyor belts carrying each type of recyclable to a different place, so now, you can put most everything in together. No more putting recyclable paper and cardboard in a separate bin or putting recyclable cans, bottles, and plastics in a separate bin! Recycling your trash is an important way you can help preserve our environment, reduce our consumption of precious natural resources, save yourself and our City money. The more you put out for recycling, the less you have to spend on bags. Only with your help can we reach our recycling goals. Each item that is removed from the waste stream reduces our trash disposal costs, enabling us to use that money for other important city services - all while helping to preserve our environment! The main reason heard from residents who don’t recycle is that it is too much trouble for them to sort their recyclables and that the bins take up too much room with paper and junk mail in one bin and everything else in another. You can use an old trash barrel with a "Recycle" bumper sticker on it (stickers are available at the DPW at no cost). Now there is absolutely no excuse not to take part. And recycling is mandatory! Mandatory recycling ensures that we get recyclables out of the trash and therefore out of the incinerator in Saugus where Gloucester pays an additional fee for every ton of trash taken there. NOT RECYCLABLE/CONSIDERED REGULAR TRASH: Plastic bags of any kind including: pellet bags, styrofoam, bubble wrap, spray bottle pumps, deli & salad plastic containers, plastic disposable plates & cups, disposable silverware, napkins, styrofoam coffee cups, 3 ring binders, CDs and video tapes, greasy/food stained pizza boxes and paper with food stains.
This Beyond the Bin Directory is meant to help you recycle unique and hard-to-handle items that don't go in your recycling bin or recycling cart. While some of the outlets listed in this directory may accept material that have traditionally been handled by municipal recycling programs (such as paper, cardboard, bottles, cans, etc.), many of the outlets listed here do not accept these materials.
MassDEP provides an alphabetical listing of municipal recycling programs.
Wheels For Wishes is a charity vehicle donation program that turns cars, trucks, motorcycles, SUVs, RVs, and even boats into wishes for children in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They are a tax-exempt charity under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Contact the organization at (855) 641-9474 for more information or to arrange a donation. Visit their website at www.wheelsforwishes.org.
Sharps needles may NOT be disposed of in the trash. Addison Gilbert Hospital on Washington Street has a Sharps Disposal Kiosk in their main lobby; the needles must be in a puncture-resistant plastic container. For more information, call the Gloucester Health Department at (978) 281-9771.
The three recycling arrows is the universal symbol of recycling and printed on millions of products that can be recycled or have been made from recycled content. Each arrow in the recycling logo represents one step in the three-step process that completes the recycling loop. Step #1 is collection. This is when you put your recyclable materials into your curbside recycling bin. The collected materials are then processed and sold to manufacturing facilities such as steel, paper, and glass mills. Step #2 is the manufacturing process; the recyclable materials are converted into new products and shipped to stores across the country to be placed on shelves as new consumer goods, for example: Paper and cardboard are turned into cereal and cracker boxes, book covers, and game boards at a recycling paper mill in Fitchburg, MA. Glass bottles and jars are melted and used to make new containers in facilities such as St. Gobain Containers in Milford, MA. Milk jugs, detergent bottles, and other #2 plastics become landscaping timbers and whiskey barrel planters made by Smartware Products in Leominster, MA. Be careful! The 3-arrow recycle symbol can be misleading. It’s not a recycling stamp, even though the graphic is clearly slated towards recycling. It’s a "resin recycling code", which tells you what kind of plastic you’ve got. The recycling symbol does not necessarily mean that a product is made with recycled content or that it can be recycled in the City’s curbside collection program. Many plastic products are coded with a recycling symbol, indicating that somewhere they may be recyclable, but not necessarily accepted in Gloucester’s curbside program, for example: Codes 1 and 2 (milk bottles and soda bottles) are easily recycled. The other codes usually aren’t. Styrofoam (technically, "expanded polystyrene foam"); is code 6. You can’t recycle it in the sense of reducing it to constituent parts and making something new out of it (the way you can with codes 1 and 2) therefore even though it is stamped #6 it is not accepted in Gloucester’s curbside program . Step #3 of the Recycling Process is where you, the consumer, purchase products made with recycled content. “Buy Recycled” Myths: Here are four common myths and misconceptions about recycled products: Myth #1: "Recycled products are hard to find" This used to be true, but no longer. From the neighborhood grocery store to national retailers, stores sell thousands of products made from or packaged in recycled content material. Myth #2: "Recycled paper isn’t as good as non-recycled paper" Recycled content papers now share the same printing and performance characteristics and looks and acts the same as new paper. Recycled content paper has the same whiteness and brightness attributes as well. Recycled papers offers the same level of performance on copiers, and laser and ink jet printers. Myth #3: "Recycled products cost more". This used to be the case for some materials, but no longer. Many recycled products are priced competitively with their non-recycled counterparts and in fact, may cost less. Myth #4: "Recycled products are inferior in quality" This is simply not true. Recycled products have the same quality, reliability, and dependability. Surveys by the ’Buy Recycled Business Alliance’ asked hundreds of corporate purchasing agents about their satisfaction with recycled content products; 97% of respondents were pleased with the performance of recycled content products. When you “Buy Recycled” you complete the recycling loop!
The DPW/Recycling Department holds two Residential Hazardous Waste Days, typically one in the spring and one in the fall. Gloucester residents are allowed to bring up to 25 pounds or gallons of material at no cost. For over 25 pounds/gallons, an additional fee will be assessed. For up to 10 gallons or pounds over it is $30.00, 11-25 gallons or pounds over the charge is $50.00. Acceptable Household Materials Include: Rubber Cement, Airplane Glue, Fiberglass Resins, Photo Chemicals, Chemistry Sets, Furniture Polish, Floor & Metal Polish, Oven Cleaner, Fluorescent Bulbs, Mercury-Bearing wastes, Drain & Toilet Cleaner, Spot Remover Rug & Upholstery Cleaner, Hobby/Artist Supplies. Acceptable Yard-type Waste: Poisons, Insecticides, Fungicides, Chemical Fertilizers, Weed Killers, Moth Balls, Flea Control Products. Acceptable Workbench Waste: Oil Based Paints only, Stains & Varnishes, Wood Preservatives (except Penta), Paint Strippers and Thinners, Solvent Adhesives, Lighter Fluid. Acceptable Garage Waste: Fuels/Gasoline/Kerosene, Motor oil, Car batteries, Antifreeze, Engine Degreaser, Brake Fluid/Carburetor Cleaner, Transmission Fluid, Car Waxes and Polishes, Driveway Sealer, Roofing Tar, Swimming Pool Chemicals. Unacceptable Materials - Do NOT Bring any of the following: Latex Paint (to dispose of latex paint, pop lid, let dry, throw in trash...acceptable), Empty Containers, Trash, Commercial or Industrial Waste, Radioactive Waste, Smoke Detectors, Infectious & Biological Wastes, Compressed Gas Cylinders (other than propane), Ammunition, Fireworks, Explosives, Flares, Fire Extinguishers, Prescription Medicines/Syringes, Asbestos. How Can I Safely Transport These Hazardous Materials? (Important: Never Ever Mix Chemicals!) Leave materials in original containers, tighten caps and lids. Sort and pack separately: oil paint, pesticides, and household cleaners. Pack containers in sturdy upright boxes and pad with newspaper. Pack your car and drive directly to the site. NEVER SMOKE while handling hazardous material. During the residential hazardous waste day collections, residents are asked to schedule an appointment to bring their materials to the DPW yard. The Recycling Department can be reached at (978) 325-5600. Check the City’s website in the spring and fall to find exact dates; typically April and September.
The DPW has a special collection on a specific schedule where Christmas trees and wreaths are picked up on residents’ regular trash days. Check the website, Gloucester Daily Times, or call the DPW to find out the schedule. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25-30 million real Christmas trees are disposed of in the U.S. per year.