DepartmentMission To operate a solid waste transfer and recycling facility and to promote programs that are viable alternatives to landfilling.
Helpful Holiday Discard Chart Available
The amount of trash produced by the average American household skyrockets during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Use this handy chart to make better disposal choices during the next busy weeks. Careful consideration of the chart can even help reduce the waste you generate. For instance, as wrapping paper with metallic or flocked (fuzzy) embellishments is not recyclable, why not purchase wrapping paper that can be safely recycled?
Downtown Recycling Pilot Commences Can, Bottle & Carton Collection The Department of Public Works has installed seven container recycling bins at various locations in the downtown area this month as part of a pilot recycling initiative. The goal of the pilot is to reduce the volume of trash collected downtown. If the pilot is successful, the DPW will seek grants and funding to purchase more bins for installation at additional sites downtown and in Town of Amherst parks and recreational sites. During the 12-month pilot period, DPW employees will determine the most effective collection method, and measures will be taken to educate the public as to the correct material to place in the bins. DPW employees will not perform additional sorts on the collected material, and it is important to generate a quality stream of recyclable material.
We ask that people place only cans, bottles and cartons in the recycling bins. Signs will be posted for several weeks indicating which items belong in the bin. Paper and trash-bound plastic material lacking market value such as drink cups, lids and straws are the two major contamination concerns.
Potential for confusion is high because Amherst College and UMass campuses employ single-stream recycling systems, whereby recyclable paper and recyclable containers are intentionally collected in the same container. The Town of Amherst employs a dual-stream system, separating the two forms of recycling to ensure the highest quality end product for manufacturers.
Rain Barrel & Rotating Composters Still Available! A small number of rain barrels and composters are available at the Transfer Station and may be purchased by Amherst, Pelham and Shutesbury residents with and without a sticker.
Both items are made in Vermont from reclaimed plastic food-grade barrels (about 55 gallon), and are offered at a special (below-retail) price.
The rain barrel has an overflow valve which can be used to direct water away from a building's foundation and a solid brass, garden hose-friendly spigot. The composter stand is made of rot-resistant white cedar and has a screw-top lid.
Food Waste Collection at Amherst's Transfer Station! Amend Organics, in collaboration with the Solid Waste Division of Department of Public Works, offers a pay-as-you-throw compostable food waste collection program at the Amherst Transfer Station. The program will accept all food waste, including material unsuitable for home composting, and is accessible to Transfer Station sticker holders from Amherst, Pelham and Shutesbury. Residential Transfer Station stickers may be purchased by any residents of the three towns and are valid for 12 months (July 1 through June 30).
- Composting Program Information (PDF)
- Acceptable compost material (PDF) - Food too good to waste flyer (PDF)
- How to get your transfer station sticker
2014 Waste Reduction Guide
The annual Reduce-Reuse-Recycle Guide was distributed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Amherst Bulletin in Spring 2014. The Guide will help you reduce your trash, reuse valuable items and recycle everything you can here in the Pioneer Valley. Copies are available in the Transfer Station's scalehouse and at the Department of Public Works on South Pleasant Street. Get the guide today!
Unwanted Drug Disposal
A Medreturn Box is permanently sited in the lobby of Amherst's Police Station (111 Main Street). This allows for free, safe, disposal of prescription, non-prescription and veterinary medications with no questions asked. No liquids, syringes, IV equipment or chemotherapy drugs will be accepted. Medicines may remain in their original containers. Those with privacy concerns may ink out personal information on labels. Similar programs are in effect at other police stations (Belchertown, Hadley, South Hadley, and Northampton). Program brochure
CVS Pharmacy offers a mail-in program for customers to safely mail unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medication to a Texas facility for proper disposal. Controlled substances are excluded from the program. The postage-paid envelopes cost $3.99 each. More about CVS program. Alternative Instructions for disposal of unwanted medication.
Disposable Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) Food Container Ban
Food establishments and town facility users are banned from dispensing prepared food in disposable food containers made from expanded polystyrene (commonly referred to as Styrofoam®) in the Town of Amherst as of January 1, 2014. More information.
Take-Back Program for Discarded Electronics
Consumers may now drop off TVs, Monitors, DVD players, audio and video cables, cell phones and other items at Best Buy (Hadley) free of charge, regardless of where the item was purchased. CRT TV screens can be as large as 32 inches and flat panels screens can be as large as 60 inches. This is a significant move toward manufacturers and retailers accepting end-of-life disposal responsibility (and costs) for the products from which they derive profits. Best Buy works only with certified third-party electronics recycling companies. More information
Plastic Bag Recycling
Plastic bags cannot be placed in normal household recycling bins because they cause major litter problems and clog sorting machinery. The good news is that several area grocery stores serve as plastic bag recycling collection sites. Learn more about plastic bag recycling, including which types of bags are recyclable.
Cell Phone Collection Cell phones collected at the Transfer Station are donated to the Cell Phones for Soldiers non-profit program. A collection bin for this program is also available at the Amherst VFW at 457 Main Street. Cell phones collected at the Amherst Senior Center are donated to an aging-related non-profit.