Why should I recycle?

Most items made of paper, cardboard, glass, steel, aluminum, as well as many plastics, can be recycled - in other words, used over again in a different form instead of being thrown away. By recycling, we preserve the natural resources and save the energy we normally would use to manufacture things from virgin materials. We also generate less pollution and save ourselves millions of dollars in disposal costs by cutting down on the amount of trash we need to throw out every day. In Massachusetts, recycling supports more than 19,000 jobs.

How do I get started?

It's easy. Look for product packaging that is identified as being recyclable or made from recycled materials. Of course, "recyclable" is a relative term. Recycling is possible only if a program for collecting and processing the material in question is available to you.

Where can I recycle?

Probably at home and possibly at work. Nearly every town and city in Massachusetts provides its citizens with an opportunity to recycle, either through curbside collection or by operating a drop-off center. Many companies and institutions also encourage the recycling of office and computer paper, coffee cups and other items that would otherwise be thrown away. For more information on recycling where you live and work - including which materials can be recycled and how they are collected - see: Recycling in My Community

How is the state helping?

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has provided communities across the state with millions of dollars worth of recycling equipment, including bins for setting recyclables out at the curbside and trucks for collecting those materials. To encourage recycling, MassDEP also has prohibited leaves and yard wastes, car batteries and tires, glass bottles and metal cans from Massachusetts landfills and incinerators. Disposal of paper and some plastics were banned at the end of 1994. Finally, MassDEP is working hard to create new markets for recyclables by promoting their use in product packaging.

For More Information

Contact your local recycling coordinator, solid waste committee, public works department or board of health.