What's Recyclable?

Don't Forget to Reuse When Possible!


All paper and cardboard must be clean and dry. Keep these materials together and separate from recyclable containers. Remember: you do not need to remove staples, tape, or envelope windows prior to recycling your paper.

Massachusetts Recyclable Papers - detailed list (PDF file)

  • Junk mail — Remove plastic overwraps, but plastic windows within the envelopes can remain.
  • Boxboard — Cereal, shoe, cracker boxes, etc. Paper liners are okay, but remove plastic liners.
  • Newspapers/inserts
  • Magazines/catalogs
  • Paper bags
  • White and colored office paper
  • Computer paper
  • Corrugated cardboard — Flatten; remove tape and string.
  • Paperbacks & phone books
  • Hardcover book pages — Remove covers & spines and put in the trash.
  • Pizza boxes — No food, but grease is okay.
  • No soda or beer holders/cartons. These are made from previously recycled paper.
  • No shredded paper.
  • No waxed paper or waxed cardboard.
  • No paper or Styrofoam egg cartons or gift-wrapping paper. These have clay coatings attached which contaminate machinery, or have been previously recycled, making them unmarketable.

Return to top



Rinse. Keep these materials together and separate from paper.

  • Glass bottles/jars — smaller than 2½ gallons.  Labels, lids, corks, and neck rings are okay.
  • Aluminum, tin, and steel cans and lids.  Labels are okay.
  • Aluminum foil and aluminum pie pans, if clean (no grease or food).
  • Clear plastic egg cartons
  • Clear plastic cups (if not labeled "compostable")
  • Milk & juice cartons (tent top), drink boxes — Remove straws & caps; flatten.
  • Plastic bottles, jars, tubs and microwave trays/containers — remove wraps; lids and pumps are okay but must be left on. Labels and detergent spouts may be left on.  Plastic flower pots, and Styrofoam trays and packing materials are not currently recyclable in our area.
  • No aerosol cans, even if emptied.

Return to top


Tips for Recycling Other Materials . . .

  • Rechargeable (Ni-Cd), lithium, and button batteries (for watches, cameras, hearing aids, etc.) — Most electronics and hardware stores accept used rechargeable and "button" batteries, which contain mercury and other toxic metals and are banned from disposal in the trash stream. These items are also acceptable at Town Hall during regular business hours and at Bulky Waste Days. Because alkaline batteries (AA through D sizes) are no longer manufactured with mercury, they may be discarded in your regular trash.
  • Fluorescent bulbs and mercury-bearing devices — These are banned from the waste stream, just as the batteries described above. These, too, are recyclable at Town Hall during regular hours and at Bulky Waste Days. To prevent breakage and mercury release, please package your bulbs, fever thermometers, and heating thermostats before you turn them in.
  • Toner and Printer Cartridges — The Shutesbury PTO collects reusable laser toner and various computer printer cartridges, using the redemption funds to stock their reference library.  You can bring them to the elementary school, Town Hall, or Bulky Waste Days to donate them for recycling.  [Note: no Epson printer cartridge is recyclable.]  Please package any cartridge carefully to avoid leakage.
  • Books — Donate to libraries.  Some book stores buy used books.
  • Wire Hangers — Accepted by many dry cleaners in the region. May be accepted in scrap metal locally.
  • Plastic Bags — Recycled at some area supermarkets.
  • Polystyrene 'peanuts' or Styrofoam — Can be recycled at Gold Circuit e-Cycling, 1 Third St. Palmer, MA.  Call ahead to make sure of hours: (888) 283-0007.  If not recycled, polystyrene/Styrofoam should be discarded in trash.

Return to top


Recycling & Solid Waste Home