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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 or Styrofoam cannot be recycled at Massasoit or through most residential recycling programs, even though they often display a number that suggests otherwise. The numbers you see on these items reflect their manufacturing process. Insulation Technology (35 First St., Bridgewater, MA) accepts white #6 foam items for recycling. Items must be clean, bagged, and left inside the company’s front doorway. The Home for Foam website has information on other foam recycling locations in the US.  The very best action you can take, however, 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
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