Recycling & Composting

Composting and Hazardous Waste Information is near the end of this page, scroll down.

Our Transfer Station is located at 68 Bates Trail and is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Summer hours start after Memorial Day Weekend (on May 27th) to add Wednesday nights from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Summer Hours end on September 2). Transfer Station will be open on July 4th from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Click here for info on obtaining a Transfer Station Permit, or call 392-3800 x 102

bye bye mattress logo

What's NEW? Starting May 1, 2016, West Greenwich will host Mattress Recycling at our Transfer Station through the Rhode Island Bye Bye Mattress Recycling Program! Just take your used mattresses and box springs to the Transfer Station. There is no longer a fee to recycle your mattress at the Transfer Station. (The program is funded through a recycling fee that will be collected when you buy a new mattress.) Click here for what condition is acceptable for recycling.


Upcoming Eco-Depot for your Household Hazardous Waste. You must contact RIRRC to schedule an appointment. It's easy!!

Cleaning products

Eco-Depot Brocure (it includes a list of common hazardous waste items, like nail polish remover and flea and tick collars, etc.)


*Important notice about electronics recycling: West Greenwich no longer provides E-Waste Recycling at our Transfer Station. You can either take your stuff to the COVENTRY TRANSFER STATION (DPW) or any of the other State e-waste locations , OR you can take your electronics waste to Staples or Best Buy.*

Residents looking for recycle bins: You can get them by calling the Department of Public Works at 392-3800 x. 124 (leave a message and give them your address), or by filling out this form: Request for Bin.

What's New in 2015 for Recycling in Rhode Island? Now you can recycle even BIGGER plastic containers-- as long as it is a plastic container under 5 gallons in size you can put it in your recycle bin! AND, you can recycle pizza boxes with some grease and food bits, but not soaked in grease (rip the botton off the top and recycle the top). In the spirit of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, you will continue to use the recycling bins you already have. 

West Greenwich Transfer Station Users Please Note: Even though the State is mixing the paper and plastic when it gets to the Johnston Materials Recycling Facility, PLEASE continue to keep your paper in your green bin and the mixed containers in the blue bin. This helps the loads at our Transfer Station pack better so we make less trips up to Johnston. (When you mix the paper and bottles and cans together they don't pack down good so we don't get as full a load. This wastes time and fuel, so please continue to keep your paper and containers separate.) THANK YOU!!

Recycling Information:
*Here is a list of everything you can think of and how to recycle or properly dispose of it!*

General RECYCLE BIN Stuff: Recycling How To Poster and the RIRRC's Recycle Together Webpage

Any container 5 gallons or smaller: empty and rinsed: aluminum and steel/ tin cans, plastic bottles, milk cartons, juice boxes, egg cartons, plastic to-go cups (NO STYROFOAM OR PAPER CUPS), yogurt containers, butter tubs, and glass jars. Also, those plastic containers that strawberries or salad greens come in. Use common sense-- no broken glass because it is dangerous. Real people handle this stuff after it leaves your house. Aerosol Cans: MUST BE EMPTY!! Why you ask? Because the contents are flamable!! When they get squished in the recycling machines they catch fire.

Paper Items: like junk mail (minus the fake credit cards), computer paper, magazines, and paperboard like cereal boxes. Also, newspaper can go in your bin, but needs to be kept separate like in a brown paper bag-- do not use plastic bags to put newspaper in- paper and plastic DNA just don't mix! (The only exception to this is shredded paper-put shredded paper in clear double bags so the recycling workers can see what it is and sort these out fast). Also, corrogated cardboard can go in your recycle bin- just break it down.

OR, for those gardeners and composters out there: You can shred the papers and use it as mulch in your garden, or put in your compost pile. You can use full sheets of newspaper and cardboard in layers on the ground to keep down weeds under your bark mulch in your existing gardens, or to make new garden areas-just lay the cardboard or thick layers of newspaper down on the grass, and cover with compost and then a layer of mulch. Before you know it the worms will work their magic and you can start planting in your new garden next season!

Some common items that people get confused on (I know I do) are plastic straws (trash), foil juice pouches and foil yogurt tops (trash, can't be recycled), and beer boxes (put in trash, anything that has a special coating on it to go in the fridge or freezer can not be recycled.). Also, SCRAP METAL of any size DOES NOT GO in your recycle bin--take it to a scrap yard and get your money for it. When in doubt, look it up here: Alphabetical list of everything you can think of and how to recycle or properly dispose of it!

Electronics: Did you know that e-waste recycling is free everyday at the Central Landfill (aka RIRRC), Monday through Friday, 6a.m. to 3:45p.m. and Saturdays 6:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Old computer monitors and televisions have a cathode ray tube which contains lead and other hazardous substances that threaten human health. They cannot be put in trash. E-waste may be recycled at no cost at the RIRRC. Appointments are not necessary for E-waste. For Rhode Island Residents Only!! Or, you can take them to Staples or Best Buy, or the Town of COVENTRY TRANSFER STATION (the local designated center).

  • To recycle Cell Phones, printer cartridges, dvd players and all those other electronic things, you can take them to Best Buy. They have a great recycling program, even if you didn't buy your stuff there! Be sure to check out the video on their website "What happens to my recycled product?"
  • Here is another good site for finding out where to recycle stuff: Earth 911

Household Hazardous Waste Information: You MUST take it to an Eco-Depot! oil based paints, fluorescent light tubes and bulbs, rechargeable batteries, lithium batteries, unwanted pool chemicals, solvents, a lot of household cleaning products with 'poison' or 'danger' on the label, etc.-( for tips on non-toxic household cleaners scroll down to the bottom)

What is Eco-Depot? It is a drop-off location where you take your household hazardous waste for proper disposal-- you don't even have to get out of your car. The main Eco-Depot is at Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation up in Johnston, but they host satellite drop-off locations in different towns throughout the year (and any RI Resident can go to any one of these-- you don't have to wait for it to come to your town). There is an Eco-Depot somewhere in RI almost every single Saturday.

Did you know that there is mercury in fluorescent bulbs and tubes? It is very important that fluorescent bulbs and tubes be disposed of properly, which means DO NOT BREAK THEM and DO NOT THROW THEM IN THE TRASH!!. And DO NOT PUT THEM IN YOUR RECYCLE BIN. They are considered hazardous waste and need to go to RI's Eco-Depot. You can take the spent compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL's) (only the bulbs, not the tubes) to Home-Depot and they take care of them (they do not take broken bulbs).

Why else do you want to properly recycle and/or properly dispose of e-Wastes and Household Hazardous Waste? To keep our WATER CLEANYou can learn more about how to keep our water clean here.

Did you know that Eisenhower Lake has mercury in it? Yes, right here in West Greenwich. The way it got there is most likely from atmospheric deposition, meaning it gets into the environment and is blown by the wind and the rain and lands in the lake--unless you've seen little trolls breaking old thermometers and thermostats and throwing them in the lake. Most people don't realize the consequences of breaking those fluorescent tubes and putting them in the trash--the vapors get away, and the powder gets away. Breaking the tubes inside a bag does not contain the hazardous waste, because once that bag gets on the garbarge truck, it gets compacted and broken, and if the bag isn't broken by then, it gets broken at the landfill when they dump and spread out the trash. It certainly does have a negative effect, and very real consequences. Actually, the biggest source of atmospheric mecury is from coal burning for electricity. But YOU can control what happens to those fluorescent lights.

RI Recycling and Revenue Sharing: Rhode Island has a law requiring all cities and towns to achieve a goal of recycling at least 35% of our wastes. Our latest report for January 2015 has us at a 26 % recycling rate. We can do better!! Please recycle!!

The State shares the revenue from selling the recyclable materials with the communities. In 2014, we received $5,942. In 2008 West Greenwich received $11,004.00 back. It really pays to recycle because not only do we get money back, but there is no cost to us to bring recyclables to the Central Landfill, whereas we pay a fee per ton for regular trash. So the more we recycle, the less going into our trash bags, the less we have to pay.

If people don't recycle (you have to, it's the law by the way), and it goes in the trash, it makes the trash weigh more. We have a contract with the State for the Town to pay by the ton, which is set at a certain amount ($32/ton), but they also give us a limit on how much trash we can send. If we go over our limit, we have to pay WAY MORE, not just because there is more trash, but the rate is much higher ($75/ton!!). It is your tax money.

Here is a chart showing how we did over the year 2014:

2014 Recycling Chart

Recycling in West Greenwich: The Town's Transfer Station has designated receptacles for paper, cardboard, and mixed containers (plastics, metals, glass). There are also designated containers for your old TV's and computers!

Clothing (in good condition) can also be recycled/reused, however, this needs to go to either a drop-off center, drop off box/ kiosk, or donate to local charities. There are pink clothing bins conveniently located at the Town Hall at the entrance to the soccer fields, and at the transfer station. Clothing can not be mixed with your blue bin or green bin recyclables, because the fabric wraps around the processors and jams the machines. So please recycle clothing in the appropriate locations. Rags and damaged clothing are trash.

Scrap metal of any size CAN NOT go in your recycle bin--take it to a scrap yard and get your money for it. This includes wire hangers, coffee cans full of screws, or nuts and bolts--these items CAN NOT go in your recycle bin.

The Rhode Island Resource Recovery's website has some more information on recycling and composting.

Composting Information: Did you know that many of the food items and yard wastes (and all that shredded paper and newspapers) that you throw away can be composted? Composting not only provides you with a great free soil amendment containing organics and nutrients and other great properties, but it also prevents these wastes from taking up space in the Central Landfill, and saves you money by sending less tonnage to the landfill because we pay by the ton.

Ever notice how your leaf pile in the back yard doesn't seem to shrink, and your grass clippings pile just gets slimy? If you mix the two it actually creates the perfect environment for breaking it down into compost. Your Town Planner also happens to be a Master Composter and Recycler-- ask me anything you want about composting. (Here's a secret: you don't need a bin, just make a pile. It is way easier than you think. You don't have to 'turn' it, just poke holes in it to get the air in there. My favorite tool is a 'compost aerator' but you can use any stick-like thing, like the handle of your creative with what you already have.)

Basically, you mix 'brown' stuff with 'green' stuff, give it air and keep it slightly moist. What does this mean? I don't really like the terms browns and greens, because some greens are actually brown (like coffee grinds). Don't worry about this. Just mix fresh wet stuff (fresh cut grass, veggie scraps, coffee grinds) with old dry stuff (dry leaves, shredded paper, dryer lint.. ) Throw some soil from your yard in there-- it already has micro-organisims in it to get your pile going.

Your leaf and yard waste can go in paper bags and be sent to the landfill for composting if you really need to- like if you have a really small yard and no room to compost it yourself. But this is West Greenwich and most of us have plenty of room to compost this stuff right at home-- think of the transportation costs and emissions. Put the peer pressure on your neighbors!!

Here are more links of interest:

Non-Toxic Household Cleaners: Add a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar to a spray bottle for cleaning glass, stove tops, microwave, kitchen counters, and the toilet seat/rim. If you find the smell reminds you of french fries, you can add a few drops of essential oil (lavender, thyme, tea tree) not only for scent, but actually for additional antibacterial properties. The vinegar smell does not last very long, but once I got used to it, I can't go back to other cleaners because they choke me out- it's nice being able to breathe while you're cleaning! I find it cuts grease on my glass-top stove really well. Vinegar fights bacteria (that's why it preserves pickles) and also deodorizes.

Use about a teaspoon of baking soda to scrub your sinks with- it gets all the grime off and deodorizes. Then rinse clean with water.

How to use baking soda and vinegar as a team to clean with: use one first, rinse, then use the other-don't mix them together first because that chemical reaction when they foam up is the creation of water, a salt, and carbon dioxide--not a very effective cleaner, but there is some use in the mechanical action all that foaming creates. To clean/refresh your drains, you sprinkle baking soda down there, then pour the vinegar, let it foam up, then pour boiling water down the drain. But if your drain is really clogged (and we all have septic systems out here) you should use a coat hanger and pull out the gunk and check your trap. (then I would do the vinegar baking soda thing because it is going to smell nasty).