Recycling - Solid Waste




To operate a solid waste transfer and recycling facility and to promote programs that are viable alternatives to landfilling.

Special Student Information

Students with a valid student I.D. can bring items into the Transfer Station without a sticker, they just need to pay for what they drop off- in most cases (see Special Student Information for more details).  See Fee Schedule.

Please note the hours for the Transfer Station are: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.

​Pay-As-You-Throw Program

The Pay-As-You-Throw program is available to Amherst residents who generate a small quantity of trash and recycling and are willing to transport it to the Amherst Transfer Station and Recycling Center as needed.

Participants agree to purchase and use only prepaid bags for trash. There is no cost for disposal of recyclable paper and mixed containers. Conscientious recycling can significantly reduce the amount of trash generated, reducing dependency on (and cost of) prepaid trash bags.

Purchase of a 
Vehicle Sticker for the Transfer Station is required

Plastic Bag Recycling

Plastic bags cannot be placed in household recycling bins because they clog sorting machinery. However you CAN return them clean and dry to many retailers for recycling, including Stop and Shop, Big Y, Whole Foods, Lowe's, and Wal-Mart.  The Amherst Transfer Station does not accept plastic bags for recycling. All of the types of plastic bags and film shown below can be recycled:

Plastic Film Recycling

Styrofoam Recycling Program


Amherst Transfer Station accepts clean, white, “block” & “preformed” Styrofoam for recycling, which is collected by Gold Circuit E-Cycling. Styrofoam must be free of any tape or labels and should be placed in the appropriate bin located near the book shed. If possible, please break down any pieces larger than 36 inches prior to bringing them in. This program is in addition to our already successful Styrofoam “packing peanut” re-use program. If you wish to recycle packing peanuts place them in a tightly closed bag or box and turn them in to an attendant. You must hold a current Transfer Station vehicle sticker to participate in both these programs. Vehicle Stickers may be purchased in the Transfer Station Office Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays 8am – 2pm.

Compost Drop-Off

Free composting is available to Amherst, Pelham & Shutesbury residents who hold a current Transfer Station vehicle sticker. Compost collection totes are located in the recycling section of the Transfer Station near the Cardboard chute. Alternative Recycling Systems, a locally based compost service provider, collects the compost. Simply dump your compost directly into a tote, or use a biodegradable compost bag (available at local retailers). Do Not leave your compost in a traditional plastic bag. Handy home compost collection pails may be purchased in the Transfer Station office for a discount rate of $5. This program is for residential use only. Transfer Station vehicle stickers permit access to many services including: free household recycling, access to the book shed and swap shop and inexpensive household trash disposal. They may be purchased in the Transfer Station Office Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays 8am – 2pm. Please see attached links for more information on what you can and cannot compost at the Transfer Station, as well as more information about Alternative Recycling Systems.
Recycling & Refuse Management Committee
The charge of the Recycling and Refuse Management Committee is to develop and maintain a comprehensive, long-term solid waste plan for the Town.
Receive Email Alerts and Reminders about Waste and Recycling 
If you would like notification about waste and recycling-related news and events, sign up for one of the waste-related options of the Town's "Notify Me" feature. Residents and stakeholders who have signed up will receive email or text messages when related information is released.  
Rain Barrels Still Available!
A small number of rain barrels are available at the Transfer Station and may be purchased without a sticker.  
These rain barrels 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. 

2018 Waste Reduction Guide

The annual Reduce-Reuse-Recycle Guide was distributed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Amherst Bulletin in Spring 2018. 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
Single Use Plastic Bag Ban
 Amherst Town Meeting members passed a Single Use Plastic Bag Prohibition Bylaw on May 2, 2016 which went into effect on January 1, 2017. The ban prohibits restaurants and retail establishments from using thin film single-use plastic bags with a thickness of 3 mils (thousandths of an inch) or less in exchange for other recyclable or multiple use bags.  Town staff completed a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist business and restaurant owners with this transition.

Take-Back Program for Discarded Electronics

Consumers may drop off various electronics devices and equipment at Staples and Best Buy stores. Almost all items are taken free of charge regardless of where they were purchased. 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. 
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.