Recycling FAQs

In random order, here are some questions that have been asked about the Town of Shutesbury Recycling and Solid Waste program. Please first read through for any questions that you may have, and if you can't find the answer, email your question to the Recycling Coordinator.

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Where do I get a supply of the yellow or purple Town of Shutesbury bags?

Under the current program, 50 bags are given annually to each household.  That is, each single-family home, duplex, or legal two-residence structure gets 50 bags free of charge each year.  "Free" means that the bags are funded by the taxes each of us pays.  The program is supplemented with grants from the State and from profit-sharing funds returned to the Town by the Materials Recycling Facility in Springfield for the materials we recycle.

Bags are distributed at the Annual Town Meeting at the end of April, and the "trash bag year" begins at Town Meeting.  Bags are also distributed at several events through June, staffed by members of the Recycling and Solid Waste Committee (see downloadable distribution schedule here).  After June, allotments are available at Town Hall during normal working hours..

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What if I need more than 50 bags for the year?

The vast majority of households are able to dispose of their trash in their annual allotment of fifty bags. Some households may have to purchase more bags, just as they may have to buy more clothes or food for their larger families.  Bags are available in packs of ten for $20 at Town Hall during regular daytime staff hours or from the Leverett Village Co-Op.  (We urge you to support this store, in appreciation for their support of our program.)

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What is the schedule for trash and recyclables?

Pickups are scheduled for every Wednesday. In weeks when the trash hauler recognizes a holiday, the route runs on Thursday instead.  The recycling schedule is distributed along with the annual bag allotment, and the downloadable file is here.

Recyclables alternate by week.  Pickups for cardboard and paper products alternate with pickups for glass, cans, and plastic containers (detailed by date in the schedule).

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What do I do if my trash or recyclables were not picked up?

Both trash and recycling must be at curbside by 7am on collection day. If your items were not picked up, it is most likely because:

  1. Items were not at curbside when the pickup was made.
  2. The trash was not bagged as required or contained prohibited items.
  3. The alternate recyclables were put out or your bin contained prohibited items.
  4. Your trash was skipped.

If your items were rejected by the hauler, following the Town guidelines, you should see a rejection notice left with the items.  If you're sure you've met the appropriate guidelines and believe your pickup was skipped, please call the Town Administrator at 259-1214 so that the problem can be addressed.

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Why does the hauler reject trash or recycling for pickup?   do they leave a notice of rejection?

The most common causes for rejection are packaging, placement, and contents.  For a more complete description of the requirements, see General Guidelines.

The short version is this:

  • All items must be at the curbside, accessible within a few steps for the driver.
  • Trash must be completely inside TIED Shutesbury trash bags — they cannot be left hooked open over the edges of barrels, have items protruding, etc.
  • Trash must not contain recyclables, hazardous materials, construction material, or items banned from the trash stream by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).
  • Trash bags must weigh less than 35 pounds and be able to support the contents (cat litter is a good example of contents that may violate this guideline)
  • Recyclables must be in a solid container that the driver can dump and set back on the ground. Blue bins (available for $5 at Town Hall) are one option, but covered barrels, storage containers from department stores; or old laundry baskets are all acceptable.
  • Recyclable paper can be put in paper bags or cardboard boxes as long as those are heavy enough to support the weight of the paper contents to be lifted and thrown into the truck.
  • Cardboard must be flattened and folded to two feet or less to fit into the truck opening.
  • Plastic bags cannot be used to hold recyclables of any type. They cannot go into the truck as they contaminate the load at the Materials Recycling Facility, causing rejection of the entire load —and incineration at the Town's expense.

Hauler Rejection Notices —

Your trash was rejected because:
    Trash was not in a Town of Shutesbury bag OR was in a proper bag but the bag was not tied
    The trash bag was located too far from the road's edge
    Weight of the filled bag exceeded 35 pounds
    Trash has been scattered by animals
    Trash contained hazardous or MassDEP-banned materials
    Trash contained a substantial amount of recyclable materials.

Your recyclables were rejected because:
    Items were not in a marked recycle bin or container
    Cardboard was not flattened to 2 feet or less
    Paper items included soda or beer holders/cartons
    Container items were larger than 2 gallons
    Items included plastic bags OR
               items were contained in plastic bags
    Recyclables contained trash

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How do I recycle my computer and peripherals?

Staples Office Supply will recycle your computers and auxiliary components, such as mouse, keyboard, printer, etc. (see list of items accepted here).

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What can I do with....

Motor oil? The retailer who sold you motor oil is required to accept your used oil. Hang on to your receipt so you can show that you purchased [this quantity of] oil from this retailer. If you don't reuse the quart or gallon plastic bottles to bring used oil back to the retailer, throw them in your trash.  Although they have the proper recycling number on them, the oil contamination makes them ineligible for recycling through the Town's program.

Hazardous waste when I can't wait for Hazardous Waste Day in Amherst?  Take your waste to NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Center, 190 East Main Street (Route 20), Westfield, MA 01085.  Check their website for hours of operation, what's accepted, and disposal costs.

Used furniture or other large items? How about donating them to area non-profits?  You can set them at roadside with a "FREE" sign, too. Passing neighbors may give them an extended useful life.  If the item(s) are not suitable for continued use or donation to the Amherst Survival Center, Goodwill, or the Salvation Army, you can bring them to Bulky Waste Day.

Styrofoam packing material?  Your local UPS Store will take *clean* Styrofoam peanuts.  Other such retailers may, also.  Call around.

While we encourage consideration of packaging when you make your purchases, at this point there are some battles that can't be won in the short term. We should all urge manufacturers to reduce excess packaging whenever possible and to use recyclable cushioning materials. Some packing peanuts are made of cornstarch now. Dampen them, and see if they melt. If they do, decide where to discard the melted material — your garden or compost bin, perhaps? Some shippers use inflated plastic bags, and we've been told by the Amherst Big Y supermarket that *clean* inflated bags can go into their plastic grocery bag collection bins. We would expect that Stop & Shop and others would accept them, too.

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