Toward Zero Waste Newburyport – The 6 R’s

Toward Zero Waste Newburyport is a pilot program for volunteer households to divert or eliminate as much as possible from the city’s waste stream. Using the Six R’s continuum (Reduce, Reuse/Repair/Repurpose, Rot (organics), Recycle), the Toward Zero Waste Newburyport pilot has several methods to help residents re-think their consumption patterns as well as their disposal methods.


The city’s residential recycling program is well publicized and most residents are familiar with it, but some are uncertain about what is and is not recycleable. The Zero Waste program aims to assure that residents can easily identify those materials which can be recycled through the curbside recycling program and 100% of them do recycle those materials. Although the curbside recycling program accepts many materials, not all materials labeled with a recycling symbol can be accepted. The inappropriate materials found most often in the curbside program are Styrofoam and film plastics (e.g. single use plastic bags).

The Zero Waste program also seeks alternative solutions for those items that cannot be handled through the curbside program. One of the programs in place is a partnership with TerraCycle, a company which has created recycling systems for previously non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle waste. This include items such as; candy wrappers, shoes, chips bags, pens, toothbrushes… here is the complete list. Items can be dropped off at the TerraCycle collection container at the Newburyport Recycle Center on Crow Lane on the first Saturday of every month from 8 AM to Noon.

There are also programs starting for other hard-to-recycle items:

  • Film plastics (cannot go in our recycle bins but welcomed by Market Basket and Shaw’s even if not labeled with recycle symbol – but must not be contaminated by food!)
  • Mattresses and carpets (carpets postponed due to low/no secondary market demand)
  • Styrofoam – ReFOAMit on-site collection scheduled as well as volunteer transport to LiFOAM in Peabody
  • Expired credit cards, gift cards and hotel keys
  • CDs, DVDs and their jewel box cases
  • And always seeking new items/streams!

To share progress and thoughts or ask questions join the Toward Zero Waste Newburyport Facebook community or email There is also a Toward Zero Waste Newburyport blog where some issues are explored in more depth.