Northampton discontinues recycling of some bulky plastic items

  • Susan Waite, the waste reduction cordinator for the DPW, is seen at the ReCenter in Northampton in October 2016. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 10/18/2017 3:29:02 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Some bulky rigid plastic items will no longer be recyclable in Northampton, the city announced Monday.

Previously, items such as pet carriers and lawn toys were accepted at the Glendale Road transfer station for recycling. Now, due to a decision by China that it will stop importing certain kinds of waste and scrap materials by the end of 2017, only plastic bins, crates, buckets, baskets, garbage cans and lawn furniture will be accepted.

Susan Waite, waste reduction coordinator for the city, said this will also have a substantial effect on the Nov. 4 Recycle and Reuse Rally at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.

These rallies are held in the spring and fall, and traditionally people brought out bulky plastic items such as pet carriers and lawn toys, that others could then take home free of charge. Those items that weren’t reused, meanwhile, were recycled, and Waite said this activity was a popular one.

Because many bulky plastic items can no longer be recycled in Northampton, these items will not be accepted at the rally this year, which will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Indeed, large blocks of styrofoam are the only plastic materials that folks can bring to the rally to dispose of.

“It will be quieter perhaps,” Waite said. “It’s still a great thing.”

The rally will still offer the opportunity for people to dispose of unpainted, unvarnished pumpkins, as well as jack-o’-lanterns with the candles taken out. People can also bring documents to be shredded, with a limit of two recycling bins’ worth per person.

Bicycles and bicycle accessories are also being accepted, although a $10 donation to Bikes Not Bombs will be required to help with the refurbishment.

Waite said she does not anticipate China’s new import policies having an effect on Northampton’s household container and paper recycling programs.

Bera Dunau can be reached at


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