Amherst Recycling Guidelines

Separating & Sorting Recyclables

Most curbside recycling collection in Amherst must be separated into 2 containers, 1 for paper products, and 1 for mixed containers. Here is basic recycling information - for more detailed sorting information consult the Household Recycling Guide. This Annual Guide put out by the Hampshire Gazette also lists reuse and recycling options for just about every item and material you can think of. This is a quick guide for reusing and recycling items that can't go in curbside recycling.

Paper Products 

The general rule of thumb is to put only clean cardboard, box board, and paper into this bin. Boxes from frozen foods, and soda and beer cases are not recyclable because they are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Staples, paper clips, plastic envelope windows, and spiral bindings do not need to be removed. Do not include material that has that has absorbed food, oil, paint, or pet waste. The clean parts of pizza boxes can be recycled, but parts with grease on them cannot.

Mixed Containers 

Please empty and rinse all containers. They do not need to be completely clean. In general, food, beverage, personal care and washing detergent containers are the only acceptable forms of plastic for recycling. Expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) is not accepted in any form. No plastic cups or black plastic. 

Curbside Storage

Haulers provide free recycling bins along with trash carts when residents purchase their services, but they may charge for replacement bins. Durable blue plastic recycling bins are also available for purchase at the Transfer Station and the Department of Public Works. While the use of bins is not mandatory, a similar system employing an easily emptied box or recyclable container is required. Plastic bags cannot be used for curbside storage, as they are not recyclable, slow processing, clog machinery, and create litter. Paper bags and cardboard boxes may be used to store paper recycling at the curb. Please make an attempt to keep your paper and cardboard dry on rainy days. 

Plastic Identification Numbers

The numbers surrounded by chasing arrows found on plastic items were developed by the plastics industry for resin identification. The presence of one of these symbols does not indicate that the item is recyclable. The degree plastic can be recycled is driven largely by market demand; if a resin is difficult or expensive to work with, few-if any-manufacturers will buy it. Recycled PETE (#1) and HDPE (#2) plastics tend to be in the highest demand.

In order to simplify the process for the consumer, the general guideline is that most plastic bottles, tubs, or jars that are less than 2 gallons in size and have a plastic identification code of #1-#7 may be put into your container recycling bin. Plastic cups (either clear or colored) are NOT accepted.