About Solid Waste & Recycling

There are three components of Portsmouth's Recycling and Solid Waste program:

1. Collection of waste and recyclables by the DPW

  • Recycling Center drop off collection
  • Residential curbside collection of waste and recyclables
  • Downtown commercial curbside collection of waste and recyclables

2. Transportation of waste and recyclables by the DPW

3. Processing and Disposal of waste and recyclables by outside vendors

*See the 2016 Recovery Rate Analysis here

Solid Waste Ordinance

The City has a Solid Waste Ordinance (click here) that establishes guidelines for trash pickup and disposal. The Department of Public Works' Solid Waste Group is responsible for waste collection/disposal from both private / commercial residences / establishments that fall within established criteria. Our objectives are to:

  • Provide the City with a means of collecting and disposing of solid waste curbside, including recycling and bulky waste in the most efficient and cost effective manner. 
  • Dispose of waste at minimal cost and within industry guidelines. 
  • Ensure waste management practices are in compliance with local, state and federal regulations. 
  • Keep the City's Streets, sidewalks and Central Business District free of all debris and litter. 
  • Maintain all City owned trees, shrubbery and beautification sites. 
  • Provide the City with curbside collection and proper disposal methods for yard waste materials.

Help Our Recycling Process

Content

The American recycling industry is experiencing high levels of contamination: trash that ends up in the recycling. Requirements for quality (clean recycling) are increasing due to new policies in China. Waste Management's latest newsletter breaks down how these policies have created challenges in recycling markets worldwide. 

As a result, our focus on quality is higher than ever, as we work to ensure the long-term sustainability of our recycling program. When non-recyclable items (contamination) end up in recycling loads, the entire load may be labeled as “trash” and lead to increased processing costs resulting in additional service charges.

Currently, the biggest contributor to contamination is plastic bags. Plastic bags are NOT accepted recyclable items in curbside collection. Plastic bags can be dropped off at your local grocery or big box stores for recycling. Additionally, food-contaminated paper can be composted instead of recycled. The Recycling Center also accepts residential drop off of compost materials.

For a full list of recycling tips, we encourage you to visit our Curbside Collection Resources and Waste Management's page.