I’m curbside recycling, now what?

So now you are into the groove of recycling all the standard Westford curbside stuff. What else can you do, easily. Here are a few more things to add to your recycling list.THE WHAT1) Plastic bags: “Huh”, you say. Wouldn’t I be suggesting to use reusable bags. Well, yes. Whether you use reusable bags or not, a) you still seem to accumulate some here and there, and b) there are TONS of other plasticy-type things that can be taken to those big “Plastic Bag” bins at local grocery store. Things that SHOULD NOT be put in your curbside bin. And again, if you are not currently in the habit of using reusable bags and don’t want to try, yet, here is an alternative.

Hannaford and Stop and Shop accept all #2 and #4 plastic bags or wrappers. This includes grocery and other store bags, produce bags, bags for bread, grapes, carrots, cauliflower, Land’s End bags (the ones they pack the clothes in when you order), wrapper around Honest Kids drink pouches… Check for the symbol. It’s on more than you might think. I bring my reusable bags with me everywhere and I still have a bag ‘o plastic to take back to the grocery store each week.

Other grocery stores and Target have plastic bag recycle bins. These are the only 2 that I can say take all #2 and #4 for sure.

2) Upcycle It! items. If you haven’t heard about this great program. Take a look. We take all kinds of non-recyclables – energy bar wrappers, chip bags, candy wrappers, coffee bags, drink pouches and more – send them to TerraCycle who upcycles them into tote bags, backpacks and flower pots to name just a few of their over 150 products. In return, TerraCycle donates 2 cents per item. This money is goes to the Westford Public Schools. Please be sure to check the Upcycle It! website so you know what is accepted and what is not.


Make it easy and convenient. Pick a place, right now, and set up a bag, box, whatever you have to catch all of your plastic bags. Now, print the list of acceptable items for Upcycle It! and put it up. Pick a place to put another bag or box to catch this stuff too. I have a shoe box on my counter. My neighbor hangs a plastic bag on the door to her food pantry.

Obviously, reducing what you use in the first place is really the key. It saves energy and resources – not only natural ones, but your energy and resources (think hauling all that stuff home, dealing with throwing it away, taking out more garbage, and the money). But again, small steps. I still think it is easier to start here. By doing this you will open your eyes to what you get rid of. From there, you can take steps to reduce where you can.

There are many more things that do not need to go into the trash. Take a look at the Westford Recycling Commission website. Know of any other things we come across regularly that could be recycled or reused by someone instead of thrown away?

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