Recycling A-Z

Please note, this page is run by volunteers and may not have the most up to date information.

Follow the links below for reuse, recycling, and disposal options around Salem for a variety of items. Check out Recycle Smart and their Recyclopedia for more general information to determine if you should put an item in the trash or recycling.


Appliances with a plug, such as refrigerators, microwaves and toasters, can be brought to Salem’s quarterly Electronic Waste (E-Waste) day at Salem High School. Please refer to our Events Calendar and the City’s Recycling Page for the next E-Waste day.


Bulk items and larger appliances like washers, dryers, stoves, hot water heaters, dishwashers, and trash compactors can be scheduled for pick up by Waste Management. Request a Bulk Pickup online or call Waste Management at 1-800-972-4545 and follow the prompts to residential service to schedule your pick-up.

Click here to see a full list of what is accepted as a bulk item pick up.
Please note the following: Only two bulk items can be scheduled for pickup on the same regularly scheduled recycling day.  You need to request pickup two days in advance.


Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 58R Pulaski St., Bldg. 14, Peabody – accepts large appliances under 8 years old

Art and School Supplies

Recycle your unwanted crayons and find new ways to reuse old ones!

  • Visit Crazy Crayons for fun ideas.
  • Beverly Bootstraps Back-to-School program accepts new art supplies. Or call 978-921-4710 for more information.
  • Visit Rethink Recycling for proper disposal of aerosol cans.

If you are collecting for a cause and are willing to pay for a collection, check out Terracycle.


Although there are no specific depositories for school supplies in Salem, several websites offer a variety of options. Just search “recycled school supplies” online.  Try reusing supplies like binders, pens and pencils or ask teachers if they would want used supplies.

The Ultimate Green Store does not collect, but does sell recycled products.



Consider donating your car.  Here are a few suggestions; many other organizations have car donation programs as well.

MA Special Olympics, Recycle for Gold Program  1-800-590-1600.Tax deductible. Vehicles are completely recycled down to the remaining gas, oil, and antifreeze. The proceeds from the recycled materials help fund athletic training programs and competition for over 9,300 Massachusetts Special Olympics athletes.

Volunteers of America  441 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-8088. Free towing, tax deductible. Donate your early ’90s or newer vehicle and help support at-risk youth, adults in recovery from substance abuse, elders in need of housing, and mental health services. Motorcycles, boats and RVs are also accepted.

National Kidney Foundation, Kidney Cars Program 1-800-488-CARS/1-800-488-2277.  Nationwide, year-round pick-up service. Donations help the NKF fund public and professional education, patient and community services, research and organ donation programs.

Habitat for Humanity   877-277-4344. Cars for Homes helps to build and rebuild houses for families in need.

WBUR also has an active car donation program.

Veteran Car Donations 877-594-5822. They accept both working and non-working vehicles to provide assistance to veterans and their families


Car parts

Autozone will take scrap car parts. Visit their website for more information.


Car Glass

Most auto glass companies will recycle broken or replaced windshields. In Salem, check out JN Phillips Auto Glass, located at 53 Canal St. Salem. They will recycle broken or replaced windshields (only for windshields they are replacing onsite).


Car Tires

  • You can use old tires as garden planters or a tree swing, just two of many suggestions for reuse you can find online.
  • You can also return used tires to new tire retailers.


Car Batteries and Oil

  • All municipal hazardous waste collection programs accept car batteries and oil.
  • Alternatively, you can take used car batteries and used oil to AutoZone for free. Visit their website or go to the nearest location at 292 Canal St. Salem, MA 01970
Batteries Bedding and Towels

Many shelters, thrift stores and organizations serving the homeless accept clean, usable bedding, including sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels. Locally, try the following:

  • Goodwill has drop-off locations in the parking lot of the Peabody Stop & Shop (19 Howley Street) and Swampscott Stop & Shop (450 Paradise Road)
  • LifeBridge Thrift Store at 47 Canal St, Salem. 978-745-2459
  • Beverly Bootstraps Thrift Store, 198 Rantoul St, Beverly.978-921-4710

Northeast Animal Shelter on 347 Highland Avenue welcomes blankets and towels, as do most veterinarians.

For bedding that is not useable, bring to Salem Recycles annual textile drive every November. See our Events Calendar for the next date.

Bikes and Tires

Bikes can be donated to:

Bikes Not Bombs – you can drop off at their HQ in Jamaica Plains or at one of their upcoming scheduled bike drives at locations that may be closer to Salem

Pick Up Please – A Vietnam Vet organization where you can schedule a pick up.



The SalemRecycles Book Swaps, typically held every September and March, are not to be missed. See our Events Calendar or Facebook page for dates and location.

Some other possibilities:

  • Thrift stores such as Goodwill, Savers, and Lifebridge Thrift (limit 2 bags, no textbooks or children’s).
  • More Than Words empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business.
    • Drop off bin at SSU located at the College Drive entrance of the library
  • Wicked Good Books you can donate books to this local shop, no appointment necessary.  Please no textbooks, cookbooks, magazines or children’s books.
  • Salem Little Free Libraries here’s a list for little free libraries in Salem where you can donate or take books
  • Salem Re-reads, Facebook group for Salem residents to give away and ask for books.
  • Planet Aid bins located at 94 Bridge St, Shaws on Traders Way, North Shore Medical Center on Jefferson Ave, 95 Congress St, 50 Grove St, 19 Boston St, 36 Margin St, 323 Highland Ave.
  • PaperBack Swap is an online site that allows you to trade books with other users for free.


  • Salem Public Library has two main apps for checking out e-books and e-audiobooks:
    * Libby (aka Libby by Overdrive)
    Available to anyone in the NOBLE network* Hoopla
    Available to Salem residentsBoth apps are listed on the library’s homepage, For anyone who needs help using the apps, the library has handouts and is also happy to help people in person. There are no “returns” required or late fees associated with virtual checkouts.
Building Materials
  • Building Materials Resource Center has a reuse center for donated building materials. It is in Boston, here are no disposal fees if you are rehabbing, they do have a pick-up program for a nominal fee, and your donation is tax deductible.
  • Reuse Marketplace is another option
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 58R Pulaski St., Bldg. 14 – Peabody – they accept cabinets, sinks, faucets, counter tops, tubs, toilets, tile, flooring, doors, windows and other building material

Dry wall or sheetrock can be recycled at these locations:

Bulky Plastics

Bulky Plastics are no longer accepted at Grief Recycling Center on Jefferson Ave and considered trash or a bulk item pick up.
Call 800-972-4545 to call Waste Management and schedule a free bulk item pick up.

If in good condition, see Furniture and Household Goods


Salem’s e-waste vendor, RMG Enterprise, accepts both digital cameras and older film cameras for recycling. Salem residents can bring these items to the City’s quarterly e-waste collections, see electronics

If you camera still works, consider donating, see furniture and household goods



Waste Management will collect carpeting as a curbside BULK ITEM. Phone Waste Management 24 to 48 hours in advance at 800-972-4545 to schedule the bulk item pick up, which will be on the same day as your recycling pick up.

Carpeting must be cut into 3 foot lengths, and tied in bundles with a maximum diameter of 1 foot.

Up to five bundles will count as one bulk item.

CDs, DVDs and Tapes

Bring unwanted CDs and DVDs to Salem Recycles semi-annual book swap, held every March and September.
*We are no longer able to accept VHS and cassette tapes at our Book Swaps
*Please make sure CDs and DVDs are in their original cases
See the Events Calendar for next date.  Book swaps are now held at the Salem Community Life Center, 401 Bridge Street.

You can also take CDs to the Record Exchange, 256 Washington St, Salem, which is a retail outlet for new and used records and CDs.

If you have a lot of CDs, DVDs and old VHS/cassette tapes to unload, check out GreenDisk.

Cell Phones

Electronic Waste: Salem Residents can drop off electronics to Salem High School the last Saturday of every quarter. Please refer to the Events Calendar.

There are many other options for recycling or disposing of cell phones:

  • Target has a cell phone recycling bin at the front of the store on Highland Avenue.
  • Best Buy has a trade-in or recycle program as well.
  • MedicMobile (formerly Hope Phones) supplies prepaid mailing labels and refurbishes donated phones for resale. It uses the profits to supply third-world medical workers with devices.
  • The Wireless Alliance accepts individual phones for recycling and also has collection programs for larger volumes of phones or tablets
  • Verizon’s Hopeline from Verizon has some drop-off locations as well as a mail-in program with prepaid labels. Newer phones generate a credit toward your next purchase, while older phones are recycled and donated to victims of domestic violence to help ensure their safety.

You might also want to check out what the EPA says about recycling used electronics.

Wipe your phone before donating.  Here’s how.

Christmas Trees and Greens

The City will pick up Christmas trees curbside during the two weeks after Christmas.
There is also usually a bonfire on Dead Horse Beach after New Years.
Please refer to the annual trash and recycling calendar for dates by clicking here

Whether you’re taking your Christmas tree to the annual bonfire on Dead Horse Beach or placing it curbside for pick-up, please recycle it “naked,” i.e, no decorations please!

Trees, wreaths and greens have other uses.

  • Leave the tree whole and convert to shelter and feeding station for birds. Here’s how.
  • Branches can be turned into a brush pile to shelter small birds or to cover and protect perennial plants.
  • Rent a wood chipper and make homemade mulch.

If you have a FAKE or PLASTIC tree, call Waste Management at 800-972-4545 to schedule a free curbside pick up.

Clothing, Footwear and Leather Goods


Many organizations welcome used clothing. Donate items in fair to good condition to homeless shelters, humanitarian organizations or second hand clothing stores. Here are a few local options.

  • Goodwill has drop-off locations in the parking lot of the Peabody Stop & Shop (19 Howley Street) and Swampscott Stop & Shop (450 Paradise Road)
  • LifeBridge Thrift Store at 47 Canal St, Salem. 978-745-2459
  • Beverly Bootstraps Thrift Store, 198 Rantoul St, Beverly.978-921-4710
  • Bring clothing to the Salem Recycles Swap ‘n Drop, held every May. See the Events Calendar for the next date.

For clothing, including footwear, that is not re-usable, Salem Recycles holds a textile collection every November. See the Events Calendar for the next date.

Baby clothes

All of the above accept baby clothes. Here are two other options that focus specifically on infants.

Other Specific Uses

Or, reuse clothing and create DIY art!  There are lots of online suggestions.

Construction Debris

Construction Debris may never be placed in curbside recycling or trash collection.  See City of Salem website,, for more information.

The site provides information on disposal of construction and demolition waste.

The Massachusetts DEP website also provides guidelines.

Durable Medical Equipment

REquipment — They accept and refurbish donations of gently-used durable medical equipment (DME), and provide them free of charge to MA residents in need. They accept wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, mechanical sling lifts, portable ramps, and more.

See a full list of items and learn more at



E-Waste is one of the fastest growing categories of waste and often contains hazardous components making it unsustainable and unsafe to be disposed of in curbside trash and recycling.  This is why it is so important to dispose of it properly!  Here’s how:

Electronic Waste Collection Days in Salem: Salem Residents can drop off electronics at Salem High School the last Saturday of March, June, September, December from 8am-noon.  There will be a $20 fee for TVs, monitors, freon appliances (air conditioners, refrigerators)  or exercise equipment, anything else with a plug is free. Please refer to the Events Calendar for more details.

White Goods or Appliances: Are not accepted at E-Waste Day but can be scheduled for a curbside pick-up by calling WM at 800-972-4545.  WM will not pick up electronics curbside.

Drop off Options:

  • Best Buy Trade In Program – In addition to computer / technology recycling you’d expect at a store like Best Buy, you might be surprised that they also recycle a variety of other items, including: TV, alarm clock, audio equipment, calculator, CB radio, digital camera, fan, GPS, hair dryer and curling iron, shredder, vacuum, weather station. The nearest Best Buy to Salem is located at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers.
  • Goodwill Dell Reconnect, a partnership between Goodwill and Dell, offers residents the opportunity to donate old computers (any brand) and certain accessories free of charge. All computers and parts are responsibly recycled within the U.S. The nearest location to Salem is Goodwill’s Attended Donation Center (trailer) in Vinnin Square, by Stop & Shop. Open 7 days from 8:00-4:00, often closed for lunch. Please do not leave items outside the trailer when it is unattended or closed.
  • Staples Recycling and Eco Services– Staples offers free recycling of certain electronics/technology, rechargeable batteries, and toner. Their Salem store is at 17 Paradise Rd. in Vinnin Square, and you may drop off at their EasyTech Bench, indoors to the right.
  • Circuitry Recycling call to make an appointment for a drop off of general household electronics 978-969-1472. 100 Cummings Center, Suite 210E, Beverly

Other options:

  • World Computer Exchange– They connect developing countries to the internet and accept donations of computers, printers, etc. They are in Massachusetts and Pamela Cooney is director of operations can be reached at 781-0925-3078. This is another option for disposing of electronics that are in a condition to be reused.
  • Dell offers free recycling of any Dell product, and other brands when buying Dell.
  • HP has free recycling of HP or Compaq products; there is a small fee for other brands.
  • Gazelle – Type in your product in the Gazelle search bar and choose your product from the search results. Continue through the steps to evaluate the condition and value of the product. Accept offer and checkout. Ship your product to Gazelle; once it is received and verified, a check or gift card will be sent to you. Products accepted: various electronics including computers, video games, cell phones, etc.
  • CRTRecycling Inc. 800-944-7019 accepts items less than 8 feet long.
Eye Glasses
  • Bring old eyeglasses to eye doctors, most accept donations.
  • Local drop off boxes are at the Salem Senior Center, Dave Eng’s Flowers, & Marblehead YMCA.
  • Lions Club International Headquarters – Visit the Lions Club website for details on how to package and send your glasses.
Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are a challenge to recycle! Currently, you cannot recycle them at Salem Fire Department, or Household Hazardous Waste Day.   Here’s the nearest resources we found:

-Boston Fire Extinguisher
168 Commercial St, Lynn, MA 01905
(781) 592-1670

North Shore Fire Appliance Co.
98 Main St., Wenham MA
(978) 468-1600

-AC&M Fire Equipment Company
6 Ledge Rock Way, Acton MA
(978) 264-4412

Please phone first to ensure someone is in office; do not leave extinguisher at door. They will depressurize and recycle for free.


Here are some locations where you can drop off old flags for proper disposal:

Fire Stations

You can return flags to fire stations and they will have the boy scouts properly dispose of them.  You can bring them to the Salem Fire Department headquarters on 48 Lafayette Street and Boy Scout Troop 83 will make sure they are disposed of properly.

Veterans Services
5 Broad St, Salem MA.  Third Floor
Kim F. Emerling

Veterans Agent
(978) 745-0883

Veterans of Foreign Wars
95 Derby St, Salem, MA
(978) 745-0010

Food and Cooking Oil

Food Scraps & Compostable Paper GoodsCompost at home in your backyard or indoors with worms, or join the City of Salem’s Curbside Compost Initiative by signing up at Find more information here. If you cannot compost at home, drop-off food scraps.

What about using my garbage disposal for food waste disposal? In-sink garbage disposals should only be used for certain types of food waste and liquids from food preparation.

Cooking Oil:     (DO NOT POUR DOWN THE SINK!)

Small quantities: Pour into an empty milk carton or old non-recyclable takeout container; store until full and place in trash.

Large quantities: Free collection from restaurants through the MA Alternative Fuel Foundation. A fee-based collection is available through Save That Stuff or Green Grease Monkey.

American By-Products accepts used cooking oil from everyone; however, it is costly for them to pick up from individual residents. They suggest an individual either bring the oil to the Lynn facility (77 Alley Street, Lynn, 781-593-3580) , or see if a local restaurant will accept the oil to include with their used oil, which ABP picks up.  Many Salem restaurants use this service, including Mandee’s, Deb’s Diner, Lena’s Subs.  The restaurants get paid for this oil.

Donate Edible Food: provides a list of many of the food pantries in Salem and surrounding towns.

Lifebridge: 56 Margin Street Salem, MA also accepts food donations.

Bread & Jams: 617-497-9200, 50 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA. Daytime shelter accepts food donations. Food must be unspoiled and packaged in unopened cans, jars or dry boxes.

Food Not Bombs – Donate unopened food and toiletries (781-492-3009)

Furniture and Household Goods

You can schedule a bulk item pick up with Waste Management by phoning them at 800-972-4545. Pickup will be on the same day as your recycling day, and you must call at least 48 hours in advance. You may schedule up to 2 items per household per recycle week. Please do not leave furniture on the curb for more than 24 hours.
Bulk items may include: mattress, box-spring, couch, chair, desk, TV stand, dresser, bed frame, table, rug, grills.
Click Here for a full list of what is accepted.


The Junkluggers of North Boston & Southern NH will come to your home and help find sustainable ways to dispose of your furniture and other household items.
p: 1-781-730-2733


Places that accept a wide variety of things:

Boston ReStore, Inc. is a nonprofit office furniture enterprise. Visit the website for additional information.

Goodwill has a list of what can be donated.  Drop-offs are located at 450 Paradise Rd, Swampscott and 301 Newbury St, Danvers; more details here

Furniture Banks Association maintains a directory of organizations that reuse furniture for people in need. They seek gently used dressers, beds, tables, chairs, etc.

Lifebridge Thrift Shop – 47 Canal St, Salem.  Accepts furniture, household goods, toiletry and personal care items. 978-745-2459

Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 58R Pulaski St, Bldg. 14, Peabody. Seeks new or gently used home accessories, building materials, furniture, or appliances.  978-587-3077

Witch City Consignment located at 301 Essex St, Salem. 978-744-4433

Savers 139 Endicott St, Danvers 978-777-8631, and 1160 Broadway, Saugus 781-231-1232.


Posting your item online:

Popular options are Facebook Marketplace, local Buy Nothing groups, TrashNothing and Nextdoor’s For Sale & Free section.



See Household Hazardous Waste


Community Facility Telephone Details
Braintree Clean Harbors Inc. 781-380-7177 Private facility, open to all municipalities. Saturdays, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, March through November, and by appointment.
Sutton New England Disposal Technologies Inc. 866-769-1621 Private facility, open to all municipalities. Open 20 Saturdays and 100 weekdays per year, and by appointment.
Westfield New England Disposal Technologies Inc. 866-769-1621 Private facility, open to all municipalities. Open year-round on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Glass Bottles & Jars: Rinse and recycle in the curbside program.

Broken Glass: Do not put broken glass in recycling.  Small amounts of broken glass can be securely wrapped up and placed in household trash.

Drinking Glasses & Glassware: Donate to Goodwill, Salvation Army or MA Coalition for the Homeless. Give away or sell on Craig’s List. Bring small quantities to the Recycling Center during open hours only. Glassware often is leaded glass and is not accepted for curbside recycling.

Eyeglasses: Donate to OneSight at a participating retailer including Cambridgeside Galleria (Lenscrafters, Sears Optical or Sunglass Hut), or donate to Lions Clubs International

Light Bulbs: Incandescent bulbs go in household trash. Fluorescent bulbs should be taken to the DPW on 5 Jefferson Ave. CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs are accepted at Lowes, Home Depot and Whole Foods as well as the DPW on 5 Jefferson Ave.  See Lightbulbs for more details.

Car Glass: JN Phillips Auto Glass – located at 53 Canal St. Salem, MA, will recycle broken or replaced windshields – see website for more information or find another private disposal facility.

Hearing Aids

Lions Clubs – Send used hearing aids to the following address:

Massachusetts Lions District 33-S Hearing Foundation

P.O. Box 249, Somerset, MA 02726

Holiday Lights and Decorations

Holiday Lights

Recycling old lights:

  • – Christmas Light Recycling Program. They will mail you a 15% off coupon for their lights after you recycle.
  • Home Depot has recycling bins in stores for incandescent (not LED) light strings during November and December.
  • Lowes should also have a drop off box. You may want to call just to be sure they have a Christmas light recycle program at your local store.
  • Earth911 lists local recycling options for Christmas lights.
  • Holiday lights can be brought to the quarterly electronic waste collection at SHS.

Purchasing new lights:

When you go to buy new Christmas lights, be sure to get LED Christmas lights, which will lower your energy bill. LED lights are 80 percent more efficient than the old incandescent lights and LED lights can last up to 20 years. Compare that to incandescent Christmas lights, which usually don’t last more than a year or two. Another benefit of LED Christmas lights is that they don’t heat up so they are a safer option for Christmas tree decorating.


Gift Wrap

  • Recycle all gift wraps except those with foil, metallic inks or glitter, which should be put in the trash.
  • Follow Salem Recycles Facebook page for new and inventive ideas on gift wrapping alternatives.
  • Note that ribbon is NOT recyclable because it gets tangled in machines. But you can reuse it!



Compost pumpkins.

Keep an eye out for the Great Pumpkin Drop in early November! Come toss your old pumpkins into Black Earth Compost’s truck.

Did you know you can use fake cob webs as stuffed animal stuffing!

Home and Business Documents – Shredding

Free shredding for Salem residents and businesses is available at Greif (formerly known as Caraustar) on Jefferson Avenue.  978-744-4330

Guidelines for dropping off recycling:

  • You can drop off cardboard for recycling.
  • You can drop off paper for recycling – but it must be kept separate from cardboard, and you must also keep separate anything with names, addresses, or other confidential info so that can be shredded.
  • You can drop off paper for free, confidential shredding.

Drop off hours:
Monday-Friday from 7:15 -3:00
There is no shredding from 9:30-10:00 each day

Staples, UPS stores are among other locations that offer shredding for a fee.

Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste Day –Salem holds Household Hazardous Waste Days twice a year.  See for dates and details.
Click Here to see what is accepted at Hazardous Waste Day

A note about latex paint: Cans of latex paint must be dried out and placed in your curbside collection trash bin with the lid on.  You can let it evaporate outside or add kitty litter to speed drying. They will NOT be accepted at Household Hazardous Waste Day, only oil based paint will be accepted.

Other options:

Click Here for more information about disposing of various types of hazardous waste

Bring items to Clean Harbors in Braintree, 1 Hill Ave (off Quincy Ave) on Saturday mornings from May through October. There is a small fee per pound Call 781-380-7100 for details.

Take items to Minuteman Hazardous Waste Facility  in Lexington. Fee based on quantity. They do eight collections per year. Call 781-862-0500 for details.


Got old/worn jeans and don’t know what to do with them?

Visit Blue Jeans Go Green, donate them, or reuse to make bags, wallets, etc.

See Clothing, Footwear and Leather Goods for more options!


RJ Coins and Jewelry –  68 Wharf Street in Salem is a great place for repairs as well as for exchanging old silver, gold and platinum jewelry for money.

Many thrift stores or consignment stores will take jewelry, see our clothing tab

Bring Jewelry to be repaired at our Repair Cafe events! Visit our Facebook page for more details


Keys for Hope collects keys and sells the metal; proceeds from sales go to food banks.

Please mail to
285 Elm Street
Pembroke MA, 02359


Fluorescent, CFL, & High Intensity Discharge (HID) light bulbs contain mercury and must be recycled appropriately, not thrown in trash or in your regular blue recycling bin.  If you break a fluorescent bulb, follow clean-up directions here.  Do not put light bulbs in the recycling bin.

Incandescent bulbs go in household trash.

CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs are accepted at Lowes, Home Depot and the DPS on 5 Jefferson Ave.  They are also accepted at Habitat for Humanity ReStore at 58R Pulaski St., Bldg. 14, Peabody

Fluorescent bulbs and tubes should be taken to the DPS on 5 Jefferson Ave. (Salem residents can recycle ALL mercury-containing items at this location).

Mattress and Boxspring

Bulk items can be scheduled for pick up by Waste Management. Request a Bulk Pickup online or Waste Management at 1-800-972-4545 and follow the prompts to residential service to schedule your pick-up.

There is currently no option to recycle mattresses in Salem.  The closest option is UTEC Mattress in Lawrence, MA.

Click here for a mattress recycling/donation guide

Medications, Pharmaceuticals, Sharps
  • Sharps can be brought to the fire headquarters on the corner of New Derby and Lafayette Street – near Engine House Pizza.
  • Prescription pills can be brought to the police department at 95 Margin St
  • CVS has a mail back pharmaceutical program available at all locations.
  • Purchase an envelope for $3.99 to send back to pharmaceutical companies


Parade (July 4, 2010)

Stay Healthy by Dr. Ranit Mishori

Dispose of Meds Safely

Left over medicine has a way of making trouble. Flushed down the drain, it pollutes lakes and rivers as well as our drinking water. Kept at home, it’s a poison risk for small kids and teens. And passed along to a family member or a friend, it encourages people to dose themselves without a prescription. None of this is good.

Of the more than 4 billion prescriptions written yearly, it is estimated that some 40% go unused. That’s about 200 million pounds of meds – including those in liquid form. To help dispose of unused medications properly, the National Community Pharmacists Association has launched a ‘Dispose My Meds’ campaign. More than 800 community pharmacies in 40 states have signed on. It’s easy. Just bring the drugs to a participating pharmacy, and it will send them to a medical-waste-disposal facility. Or you can get a postage-paid envelope from the pharmacy and mail the drugs from your home.

Go to for details and to find a pharmacy near you.


Curbside: In your blue curbside toter, please recycle only those metal items listed on the toter lid, namely rinsed food cans, aluminum cans, foil and pie tins.

Scrap Metal: Most other metal items NOT listed on your recycling toter’s lid can be recycled at a scrap metal facility.  Search online for a local facility that accepts the type and amount of metal you wish to recycle.

One suggestion: North Shore Scrap Steel

Music and Media (including Musical Instruments)

There are several local options for recycling musical instruments.

They can be donated to the Salem Public Schools Music Department by contacting Mrs. Cynthia Napierkowski (Salem High School Band Director) at 978-740-1136.

Plummer Youth Promise has an active music program and often needs musical instruments. Call Candice Pechelis at 978-744-1099, extension 119

Unwanted or used musical instruments in working or almost working order can be brought to the Salem YMCA for a volunteer music instruction program. Call the Y at 978-744-0351.

Musical Instruments can also be donated to The Musary in Hamilton. They accept and refurbish instruments for students.

Office Supplies
  • Earth911 provides information on reusing and recycling office supplies.
  • Recyclebank has a great guide to recycling a variety of office supplies.
  • Cans of latex paint may be dried out and placed in your curbside trash bin, with the lids off. Let evaporate outside or add kitty litter to speed drying. These will not be accepted at Household Hazardous Waste Day.
  • Please do not put oil based paint in the trash.  Bring it to Hazardous Waste Day or drop it off at one of these locations:
    • Bring items to Clean Harbors in Braintree, (781)380-7100, 1 Hill Ave (off Quincy Ave). Small fee per pound. Saturday mornings from May-October. Call for details.
    • Bring items to Minuteman Hazardous Waste Facility in Lexington. (781)862-0500. Fee based on quantity. 8 collections per year. Call for details.

Can I donate leftover paint?
If you have leftover, unwanted paint that is in good condition, you can donate it to nonprofits and other agencies in your area for reuse in remodeling, set design and other applications. Organizations that accept unwanted paint include high school drama departments, community theater groups, schools, charities and places of worship.  A local chapter of national agencies such as Habitat for Humanity and Keep America Beautiful will also gladly accept unwanted paint.

Click here to learn more about recycling your paint with RECOLOR

Can paint be dried out, then thrown away?
Latex, water-based and acrylic paints can be disposed of in this manner. As long as these paints are fully dried, you can throw them into your household trash can.

Oil-based paints should never be tossed in the trash, even if they are dried.

Can paint cans and lids be recycled?
Paint cans cannot be recycled curbside in Salem. Steel paint cans are recyclable, but not every community accepts paint cans as part of the local recycling program. Check with your local recycling or HHW coordinator for more information. To recycle, the paint can must be completely empty and all paint contents dried prior to recycling.

Paper & Cardboard Packaging

Office documents

  • Free shredding is available at Greif (formerly known as Caraustar), 53 Jefferson Ave, Salem. Phone: 978-744-4330



  • State regulations require that all clean cardboard be recycled. This includes all types of cardboard– thin as well as corrugated. Cardboard goes in your recycling bin. Note that BOXES NEED TO BE FLATTENED so that they don’t get stuck when the bin is emptied.
  • Uncut cardboard may be dropped off at Greif, 53 Jefferson Ave, during regular business hours,  Monday – Friday 7 am – 3 pm






Goodwill’s website states they only take decorative pillows, not bed pillows.
Northeast Animal Shelter does not take them.

The Salvation Army donation guide,  states they DO accept pillows. As long as the pillows are clean and dry, not damaged and not stained, they accept them.  If you place pillows in a Salvation Army drop box, they ask us to bag the pillows first.  (If they receive pillows that turn out NOT to be resalable, they will recycle them.)

Salvation Army – Where to Donate near Salem
Drop box, 60 Farm Ave, Peabody
Drop box, 159 Endicott St., Danvers
Drop box, 1 Franklin St., Lynn
Thrift store, 10 Monroe St., Lynn
Thrift store, 209 Broadway (Route 1), Saugus

Plastic Bags, Films and Wraps

Plastic Bag Recycling

Even if you shop with reusable bags, and REFUSE, REDUCE, and REUSE the best you can, chances are you still bring some plastic into the home.  Did you know that plastic bag recycling stations accept much more than the ubiquitous grocery bag?  Here’s info to help you maximize your recycling:

  1. Plastic bags can be recycled in retail stores only.
    CLICK HERE to learn more about what is accepted at retail stores. 
  2. Never put plastic bags in your curbside recycling bin, or put recyclables inside plastic bags.  They jam recycling equipment
    CLICK HERE  to watch a video of the plastic bags damaging recycling machinery. 


  • Recycle bags that are empty, clean and dry; remove receipts and trash
  • Grocery and produce bags
  • Newspaper bags
  • Dry cleaning bags (no receipts/staples)
  • Sandwich/ziploc/bread bags (clean and dry)
  • Cereal bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Plastic outerwrap from toilet paper, paper towels, diapers
  • Case wrap from cases of water
  • Bags with sealed air used for packaging (deflate the air cushions)
  • Stretch wrap from furniture or electronics
  • Any plastic bag labeled with:  2, “HDPE,” “PE-HD”
  • Any plastic bag labeled with:  4, “LDPE,” “PE-LD,” “LLDPE”
  • Retail bags (#2 or 4) with string/hard plastic handles removed


  • NO bag with food in or on it
  • NO garbage bags
  • NO food or cling wrap, e.g. Saran
  • NO prepackaged food bags (frozen food or pre-washed salad)
  • NO chip bags or candy wrappers
  • NO bags with paint or glue
  • NO compostable plastic bags
  • NO bag with a recycling symbol or # other than those described in the “yes” column
Producer Take Back

Many companies have take-back programs. Here are a few:

  • Best Buy: $25 fee for monitors and TVs . No gift cards. Best Buy also has a haul-away program..
  • Dell: Free recycling of any Dell product, and other brands when buying Dell.
  • Apple’s program works for trade-in on new products or, if your old device has no value, Apple will recycle for free.
  • HP: Free recycling of any HP or Compaq product, small fee for other brands.
  • Printer Cartridges – STAPLES: $2 Staples Rewards per recycled cartridge.
  • GreenDisk: check their website or call 1-800-305-DISK.
Propane Tanks
  • For a large number of empty gas grill propane tanks, follow this link for more information on Blue Rhino pick-up program.
  • Amerigas has local drop off centers. Find one near you here.
  • Holden Oil, 91 Lynnfield Street, Peabody MA. (978)-531-2984 accepts propane tanks at a cost of $2 per tank.
Rubber Bands

U.S. Postal Service will take unwanted rubber bands. You can…

  • bring to a local post office.
  • put them in a blue U.S.P.S. mailbox as you would regular mail.
  • hand them to a mail deliverer.

Visit the USPS webpage on sustainability here.


Annual Textile Drive in November: refer to Events Calendar

Salem Recycles’ annual Swap ‘n  Drop event on the Salem Common is held annually on the first Saturday in May and is a great place to drop off shoes of any kind.

Athletic Shoes:

Other Shoes:

New options appear regularly.  Search “shoe recycling” online.


Click Here for our Textile Recycling Flyer

Silica Gel Packets

This annoying packet has a multitude of household uses, from keeping important documents and photographs dry to dealing with a wet cell phone or keeping in your tool box to prevent tools from rusting.   Learn more  or search online for even more uses.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors have a limited life span; it is suggested you replace them every 8-10 years.  Recycle Nation is a good source of information on how smoke detectors work and what to do with them at the end of their useful life.

  • Dispose: Certain smoke detectors contain a radioactive sensing device, but the radioactivity is so low that it is considered harmless. It is okay to dispose in the trash so long as the batteries are removed before disposal.
  • Return to Manufacturer: Many manufacturers accept returned radioactive detectors for disposal as hazardous waste.  These smoke detectors should have an “I” on the back along with the symbol for radioactivity. Radioactive
  • Other Disposal Resources: Curie Environmental Services is the only organization that actually recycles smoke detectors. The advantage of this, in addition to dealing with any even mildly radioactive material responsibly, is that it avoids additional plastic ending up in landfill.

If you have questions, call the retailer where you bought your smoke detector

Snack Bags/ Wrappers

Subaru / TerraCycle partnership – Look for the boxes below at Subaru retailers in Belmont, Danvers, North Reading and Wakefield.

Here’s what they’re collecting:
 Any brand of disposable cups, lids, and straws
Any brand of candy and snack wrappers (Potato Chip and Cookie Bags)
Any brand of coffee or creamer capsules (K-Cup)

Click here for more information

Snow Blower / Shovel

Snow Blower – snow blowers are not accepted as bulk items.
Here is one option to get rid of snow blowers: Junk King

Shovels – shovels are not recyclable and should be placed in the trash.  It is OK if they do not fit perfectly in the trash and the handle is sticking out a bit.
If they are still in good condition, please consider donating them.
Click here for a few possible options of places that will accept shovels

Sports Equipment

You can resell or buy used sports equipment or donate equipment to charitable organizations that will recycle them. The City of Salem can also use recycled equipment. Call the Recreation Department at 978-744-0180.

Other options:

Play It Again Sports accepts both new and used equipment. They have several locations in the Boston area.

Coast to Coast Paddle is part of Adventure Gear Exchange accepts consignments for all sorts of used outdoor adventure equipment, including snow sports, water sports, hiking / camping / climbing, and things that roll (e.g. bikes, roller blades). It’s located at 296A Cabot Street, Beverly.


Salem residents should not put Styrofoam in curbside recycle bins, even if it has a recycling symbol.
You can place it in your trash bin.

Rigid, white styrofoam (Expanded Polystyrene) can be brought to Save That Stuff at 200 Terminal Street, Charlestown, MA (617) 241-9998.
Click here for more details about what they collect.

One excellent way to reuse styrofoam is in the bottom of large planters. Break up pieces of styrofoam or use styrofoam peanuts (the non-dissolving kind) to take up extra space before topping with soil.  Here are some more options on how to reuse styrofoam.


You can recycle certain streams of TerraCycle during our Textile Drives!

TerraCycle is a social enterprise Eliminating the Idea of Waste®. In 21 countries, they tackle the issue from many angles. We have found that nearly everything we touch can be recycled and collect typically non-recyclable items through national, first-of-their-kind recycling platforms.

They make it possible to recycle difficult items that are unable to be recycled curbside.

Heres what we are collecting:

– SWIFFERS: save all used, dried Swiffer pads.

– RAZORS: save all brands of reusable and disposable razors, blades, & cartridges, as well as any flexible or rigid plastic packaging they come in.

– ORAL CARE: Toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, mouthwash bottles, and floss containers. Save all brands, plus toothbrush packaging.

– DEODORANT: All brands of deodorant containers and caps.

– OFFICE SUPPLIES: All brands of empty writing instruments, glue sticks, watercolor dispensers, paint sets, and flexible packaging.


There are many options for recycling textbooks.

  • Sell back to college bookstores.
  • Sell on Amazon or Ebay.
  • There are often cash-for-books trucks on college campuses at the end of semesters.
  • Many elementary, middle, or high schools will accept them.
  • Last, there are online organizations that collect used textbooks for distribution both in the United States and in other countries.

    We are no longer able to accept textbooks at our Book Swap that are older than 10 years old.

Textiles (General)

Textiles is a broad subject, covering everything from clothing to carpeting. SalemRecycles provides both information and events to encourage textile recycling.

  • Our annual Textile Recycling Event takes place every November.  Check our Events Calendar for the next date and location.
  • The annual May Swap ‘N Drop is a great time to swap or just recycle clothes and other household items. See Events Calendar for more information.
  • The Clothing, Footwear and Leathergoods section contains additional information.

A new addition to Salem’s clothing recycling options is the Salem High School’s  Food & Clothing Pantry to help out students and families. It is always seeking seasonal clothing as well as year-round things like socks and shoes.

In addition, there are numerous organizations and collection bins throughout Salem where you can recycle textiles.

  • Bay State Textiles – They partner with schools and communities to create a process for diverting clothing donations along with shoes, and fabrics away from the solid waste stream. Bay Sate find a bin at all of Salem Public Schools, and on Salem State Campus
  • Goodwill – Clean, tattered, torn clothing, singleton socks/gloves or bedding (except pillows) can be brought to Goodwill. These textiles will be processed into new products such as carpet underlayments or other mats. Clothes or other textiles not suitable for the American market will get a second life in another part of the world. The good news is they will not go in a landfill.  Goodwill has drop-off locations:
    • Parking lot of the Peabody Stop & Shop (19 Howley Street, Peabody, MA 01960)
    • Swampscott Stop & Shop (450 Paradise Road, Swampscott, MA 01907).
  • HELPSY (formerly Recycle That) has several locations in Salem:
    • St. Peter’s Church, 24 St Peter Street.
  • H&M Garment Collecting. Customers are encouraged to bring in unwanted garments of any brand and in any condition to any H&M store.
    • North Shore Mall in Peabody
    • Square One Mall in Saugus.
  • Planet Aid bins located at 94 Bridge St, Shaws on Traders Way, North Shore Medical Center on Jefferson Ave, 95 Congress St, 50 Grove St, 19 Boston St, 36 Margin St, 323 Highland Ave.
  • Salvation Army maintains drop-off bins at these locations:
    • 60 Farm Ave, Peabody
    • 159 Endicott St., Danvers
    • 1 Franklin St., Lynn;
    • Thrift store, 10 Monroe St., Lynn;
    • Thrift store, 209 Broadway (Route 1), Saugus.
    • A note about pillows; the Salvation Army accepts them as long as the pillows are clean and dry, not damaged and not stained.  If you place pillows in a Salvation Army drop box, they ask us to bag the pillows first. (If they receive pillows that turn out NOT to be resalable, they will recycle them.)
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Beyond the Bin Recycling Directory will tell you where to recycle, reuse, or repurpose your textiles throughout Massachusetts.

For more information on textile recycling in general, see the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s page on textile recycling page.


Salem’s Quarterly E-Waste Collection is held the last Saturday of March, June, September, & December from 8:00AM-12Noon at Salem High School. E-Waste includes almost anything with a plug. There is a $20 fee for each television.

  • Best Buy – Limit two TVs per household per day. Best Buy’s recycling page has details and restrictions on the type and size of TVs accepted. Best Buy now charges $25 for all TVs and monitors.
Video Games
  • Visit your nearest GameStop to find out the value of the video games in exchange for a GameStop gift card. There are numerous GameStop stores in the area, including Highland Avenue, Salem.
  • For more information on recycling games, including damaged ones, go to
Wine Corks

You can recycle natural corks (not plastic ones) at the customer service desk inside of the Whole Foods on Paradise Road in Swampscott – This program is temporarily suspended.

ReCork is the largest collector/reuser of corks in the country. Here is Recork’s list of Boston area drop-off locations.

Wine corks are also a great thing to reuse and make into art, click here for some inspiration!

Winter Coats

Click Here to Check out our Guide for Disposing of Textiles

Many organizations sponsor winter coat drives but because the need is seasonal, information does not become available until August or September at the earliest. is a nationwide website that provides information on local coat drives.

Local thrift shops, such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, Beverly Bootstraps and Lifebridge also collect winter coats, hats, mittens, etc.


Plywood and wood from fallen limbs may not be disposed of in curbside trash or recycling.  Plywood and other wood from construction projects must be disposed of through a private contractor. Click here for options to dispose of construction and demolition debris wood

Suggestions for disposing of wood from fallen limbs:

  • If the limb is less than 3” in diameter it can be taken to the transfer station on 12 Swampscott Road along with other yard waste.  The transfer station is opened from 7-3 on Saturdays and 9-5 on Sundays.
  • If the wood is larger than 3” in diameter:
    • Post free wood on Craig’s List.
    • Do a google search for projects utilizing fallen tree limbs–there are LOTS to choose from.
Wool Dryer Balls

Wool Dryer Balls can be used in place of dryer sheets and can cut down dryer time, eliminate chemicals, and soften fabrics! Check out this DIY website for instructions on how to save money and make them yourself. They’re also sold at Target, Walmart, and grocery stores.


X-Ray Film Recycling  will pick up old/used x-rays anywhere in Massachusetts…if the quantities are large enough.  While many people with just one or two films will discard them in the trash, that just adds to the landfill problem.  A better solution?  Per X-Ray Film Recycling, put them in an envelope and send to  BW Recycling 2035 SW 31st Avenue Hallandale, FL  33009

Recycle Nation is a good source of information on the value of the silver in your x-rays, why we should recycle them, and how to do it.

Yard and Garden

For soil and plant material:

  • Dirt or soil: Call a private hauler or try giving away good soil on Craig’s List.
  • For Salem residents: view the City of Salem’s Recycling and Trash Calendar for yard waste pick-up dates.

For non-organic junk that sometimes ends up in yards:

  • The Salem Beautification Committee accepts garden pots and planters for its annual plant sale on Salem Common. Call 978-619-5672 for more information.
  • Chemicals, Paints, Tires: Bring to the next household hazardous waste collection day.
  • Vinyl kiddie pools and pool liners?  Get creative. There are many suggestions on line.
  • Similarly, an online search will uncover many ways to re-purpose old garden hoses, lawn furniture, etc. Click Here for Some Ideas

Please note: Plant pots (the inexpensive plastic pots containing seedlings, vegetables and flowers you buy) are not recyclable.  Please trash if you cannot reuse.