Town of Duxbury, MA
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Welcome to the Town of Duxbury Recycling Page!   

Ever stand at the recycling center and wonder if you can throw that pizza box into the bin?  Many people assume that pizza boxes are recyclable. In fact, most boxes have recycling symbols on them and are traditionally made from corrugated cardboard. They are, in and of themselves, recyclable.  To read more of this article, click on the link above "The Pizza Box Mystery".

Okay, I've recycled.  Where does it all go?  Massachusetts has seven processing facilities that sort and bale over 500,000 tons of recyclable each year.  Recyclable are valuable commodities in today's global economy.  According to the MassDEP, about half of the bottles, cans, and paper collected in Massachusetts are sold to manufacturing plants in the Northeast; the other half goes to markets in China, India, and Brazil.

Wondering what is made out of all that stuff?  According to MassDEP, Paper and cardboard are turned into cereal and cracker boxes, book covers (Harry Potter books are an example), and game boards at recycling mills in Fitchburg and Haverhill.  Glass bottles and jars are melted and used to make new containers at facilities such as St. Gobain Containers in Milford.  Plastic soda bottles become polyester fiberfill for jackets and sleeping bags, or polar fleece made by Malden Mills in Lawrence.  Milk jugs, detergeant bottls, and other #2 plastics become landscaping timbers and whisky barrel planters made by Smartware Products in Leominster.

Recycling saves money.  We throw away 1.5 million tons of paper every year.  If we recycled just half of that amount, we would save nearly $52 million in disposal costs. Recycling means jobs.  19,000 people are employed at 1,400 recycling businesses and organizations in Massachusetts. Recycling reduces greenhouse gases.  Recycling helps Massachusetts residents reduce the equivalent of 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.  That's like taking 1.6 million passenger cars of the road for a year!  Recycling conserves energyand saves resources.  Massachusetts saved over 85 trillion BTUs of energy last year, enough to power 820,292 homes for one year! And Massachusetts recycled enough paper last year to prevent the cutting of nearly 17 million trees.

What is Single Stream?  Single Stream, or co-mingled, is a system in which all recyclables are collected together without the need for a resident to separate items.  Paper, cardboard, plastic*, glass, aluminum and tin cans can be collected together and brought to the Transfer Station and put in a single location.  The exception to co-mingling would be plastic bags such as grocery bags, plastic bags in cake mixes, etc.  Those should be separated from the rest of the recyclables and tied or clipped together and thrown in a separate bin located next to the Single Stream bin at the Transfer Station.  While these types of plastics are recyclable, they are also very light and have a tendency to get blown around the sorting center.  This creates problems for wildlife and has the potential to litter the surrounding neighborhoods.  

The number one rule in recycling?  The container must be cleaned of all contaminants.  If you think about what you use a paper towel for, you can understand what a "contaminant" is.  Food residue, oils, cleaners, and bodily fluids are all considered contaminants.  If you cannot clean it off, you cannot recycle it.  An example would be the plastic tray holding raw chicken.  Many of them have the recycling symbol on the bottom; however, if that tray is not scrubbed clean, the juice from the chicken will have contaminated the tray.  We don't recommend putting it in the recycling bin.  

Understanding PLASTIC.   Plastic is the most widely used material in the United States cropping up in everything from toys to clothes to food containers.  But not all plastics are created equal.  Plastics are typically classified by a number from #1 to #7, each number representing a different type of resin.    Here is a breakdown of the plastic resin types:

1.  polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE).  Product examples are dispisable soft drink and water bottles, cough-syrup bottles.
2.  high density polyethylene (HDPE).  Product examples are milk jugs, toys, liquid detergent bottles, shampoo bottles.
3.  polyvinyl chloride (V or PVC). Product examples are meat wrap, cooking oil bottles, plumbing pipes.
4.  low density polyethylen (LDPE).  Product examples are cling wrap, grocery bags, sandwich bags.
5.  polypropylene (PP).  Product examples are syrup bottles, yogurt containers, diapers
6.  polystyrene (PS).  Product examples are disposable coffee cups, take-out containers, meat trays.
7.  other (misc.; usually polycarbonate, or PC, but also polylactide, or PLA, plastics made from renewable resources).  Product examples are baby bottles, some reusable water bottles, stain-resistent food-storage containers, medical storage containers.

For more information on how plastics are recycled, visit

4112008_13335_0.pngSingle Stream Recycling

One of the basic rules of recycling is to make sure all containers (i.e., pizza box, tuna can, pet food can, food jars, etc.) are fairly clean as contaminants can damage the machinery used to separate the recyclables.   Metal caps and lids should be removed (labels can remain).  Lids can also be recycled but should be removed, if possible.

Accepted Items include
Newspaper (with inserts), magazines, catalogs, phone books, soft cover books, manila envelopes, folders, spiral notebooks, greeting cards, flyers, lottery tickets, envelopes (windows are okay), office paper (staples and paperclips do not have to be removed), cereal boxes, shoe boxes, CLEAN pizza boxes, post-it notes, etc.  Paper includes colored, construction kraft, fax, packing paper, glossy paper, corrugated cardboard and paperboard.  Shredded paper contained in another bag is also acceptable.

Plastics numbered 1-7: Look for the recycling logo like the one above with a number in the middle.

Tin, steel, aluminum food containers and lids

Material made of aluminum

All glass drinking bottles and jars (including wine and liquor bottles, soda and beer bottles, juice containers, ketchup bottles and food containers)
Plastic bags if contained in a bigger bag.  This category can be confusing.  Plastic bags include the plastic inserts, for example, in a box of cake mix.  As long as there is not a foil lining within the bag, the plastic bag is acceptable.  It is preferred if the bags are contained in another bag (paper or numbered plastic such as store shopping bags) to keep them from blowing around the transfer station.

Non-Acceptable items
No oil contaminated containers
No cookware, dishes, drinking glasses, ceramics, mirrors, automobile glass or light bulbs, clay flower pots, crystal and ceramic cups.  (Mixing these with other acceptable recyclables renders the whole load unacceptable for recycling)
No waxed cardboard
No plastic-coated paper or cardboard (such as paper milk containers)
Aerosol Cans (whipped cream, etc.)

Should you still have questions after reading this list, please feel free to contact the DPW Department or ask a staff member at the Transfer Station.   

E-Waste While the Transfer Station accepts residential electronics (computers, televisions, monitors, etc.) there are other alternatives for disposing of or recycling them.  Many manufacturers and retailers are offering e-waste recycling.  For a list of manufacturers and retailers, visit or by clicking on the link above.  

It is important to prepare your e-waste for recycling or disposal.  For computers, one major concern is to make sure all data is permanently erased from the computer before sending it or taking it anywhere.  A lot of personal data can be retrieved from the hard drive so you'll want to make sure it is completely "scrubbed clean".  There are many options such as software to ensure the that the data is permanently erased.

Plastic Bottle Recycling Facts

In 2006, Americans drank about 167 bottles of water each but only recycled an average of 38 bottles per person, which equals about 50 billion plastic bottles consumed, with only 23% being recycled.  That leaves 38 billion water bottles in landfills.  For more water bottle facts visit or click on the link above.


Recycling saves energy, preserves our natural resources and reduces pollution and waste.  Getting into the habit of conserving our natural resources and recycling our waste is a simple and effective means of preserving our environment and protecting our children's future.