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Hard-to-recycle items are non-traditional, recyclable materials that  you cannot recycle with your residential recycling curbside pick-up. Electronics, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, rechargeable batteries, and plastic shopping bags are classified as hard-to-recycle. A number of retailers have programs to collect and recycle them. Many local cities and towns host Hazardous Waste Day events where residents can drop off electronic wastes, batteries, CFL bulbs, etc.

Resources for hard-to-recycle items:

  • Earth911 – Find a drop-off location in your neighborhood for a variety of hard-to-recycle items
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection – Information on recycling in MA and your community
  • Plastic bags – Even though they may have a recycling symbol on them, plastic bags and film cannot be recycled at Massasoit or through residential recycling programs. Many grocery and other retail stores accept these items for recycling, and the bins are usually right at the front of the store. The best idea is to avoid the plastic altogether and shop with reusable bags. Some stores offer you a credit for each reusable bag you bring, and some even give you the option to donate your credit to charity.
  • Expanded polystyrene (EPS) – Items made from EPS cannot be recycled at Massasoit or through residential recycling programs, even though they also often display a number that suggests otherwise. The numbers you see on these items reflect their manufacturing process. Refoamit, the only foam recycler in MA, has recently closed its doors. The best action you can take is to avoid purchasing products made of or packaged in foam.
  • Electronics, rechargeable batteries, & appliances – Best Buy
  • CFLs, rechargeable batteries, plastic plant materials – Lowe’s, Home Depot
  • Medications – When unused medications are poured down the sink, flushed down the toilet, or put in the trash, they can end up in our ground water and our waterways, releasing potentially harmful chemicals into the environment. Protect our water supply and ecosystem by safely disposing of unused drugs. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has established safe medication disposal kiosks (Medication Safe Disposal Kiosklist) at Walgreen’s Pharmacies and police stations throughout the state, including one at Massasoit’s Brockton Campus Police Station. The federal Food and Drugs Administration has additional information about safe drug disposal.
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