Curbside Collection Resources
Currently, the biggest contributor to recycling 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. Please view more resources below to guide you in recycling correctly.
See the waste collection schedule here.
Portsmouth offers single stream recycling, which means residents put all mixed recyclables into one recycling bin.
...must be dry, loose (not bagged) and include ONLY the following:
- Aluminum cans - empty
- PET bottles with the symbol #1 - with screw tops only - empty
- Caps are now recyclable, simply put them back on empty container before tossing in the bin.
- HDPE plastic bottles with the symbol #2 (milk, water bottles, detergent, and shampoo bottles, etc.) - empty
- Plastic containers with symbols #3-#7 - empty (no expanded polystyrene)
- Steel and tin cans - empty
- Empty aerosol cans can also be recycled; if the can has a plastic lid, you should remove it.
- Glass food and beverage containers - brown, clear or green - empty
- Magazines, glossy inserts and pamphlets
- Uncoated paperboard (ex. cereal boxes; food and snack boxes)
- Uncoated printing, writing and office paper
- Old corrugated containers/cardboard (uncoated)
- Flatten cardboard to make room for more materials to fit in your recycling.
- Phone books
...include, but are note limited to the following:
- Plastic bags and bagged materials (even if containing recyclables)
- If you store your recyclables in a bag, simply dump them out when you get to your bin and re-use the bag.
- Do not bag recyclables. Plastic bags have a habit of getting tangled in equipment. Find where you can recycle them at plasticfilmrecycling.org.
- Light bulbs
- Porcelain and ceramics
- Expanded polystyrene
- Polystyrene foam and plastic "to-go" containers and cups are made of unrecyclable materials, and cannot be collected curbside.
- Packing peanuts aren't recyclable either, however some shipping stores will take peanuts back for re-use.
- Glass and metal cookware/bakeware
- Hoses, cords, wires
- Garden hoses, ropes, leashes, wires and string wrap around equipment and shut down entire recycling centers; ensure they only go in the trash.
- Flexible plastic or film packaging and multi-laminated materials
- Flexible packaging like chip bags and juice or soup pouches are made from multiple materials preventing it from being recycled; it must be trashed.
- Food waste and liquids, containers containing such items
- Food waste can be dropped off at Public Works' Recycling Center for composting.
- Cardboard pizza delivery boxes without leftovers, grease, or liners should be recycled; tear off the soiled parts and recycle the rest.
- Excluded materials and containers which contained excluded materials
- Any recyclable materials or pieces of recyclables less than 4" in size in any dimension
- Microwavable trays
- Window or auto glass
- Coated cardboard
- Plastics unnumbered
- Coat hangers
- Household appliances and electronics
- Yard waste, construction debris and wood
- Needles, syringes, IV bags or other medical supplies
- Needles can cause serious injuries to workers, so dispose of them in a rigid container and place in trash.
- Textiles, cloth, or any fabric (bedding, pillows, sheets, etc.)
- Napkins, paper towels, tissue, paper plates, paper cups and plastic utensils
- Cups with plastic or waxed coatings are not recyclable; the plastic lid should be trashed as well.
- Propane tanks, batteries
- Soiled and wet paper should be placed in the trash - or composted!
- Dirty diapers and pet waste
- Scrap metal, auto parts, and tires
- Large household items
- Clothing, textiles, shower curtains, swimming pools, and fencing don't below in the recycle or waste bin.
With the help of the UNH Sustainability Fellowship Program, the City conducted a waste characterization sample study that concluded a 95.8% recovery rate, meaning 95.8% of recyclable material in the curbside waste stream were properly separated and recycled by our residents.
- Use paper bags or trash barrel clearly marked “yard waste”.
- Bags no more than 50 lbs each.
- Brush – must be bundled into groups for easy pick up. Bundles should not be greater than 1’ in diameter and 4’ in length. Brush pieces w/in bundles no greater than 5” in diameter. Use string or twine to bundle.
- Click here for more details.
Residents can bring bulky waste items to the Recycling Center. If you are unable to bring your bulky waste to the Recycling Center (427-1530):
- Call Public Works to schedule a pick. The bulky waste will not be picked up unless you schedule a pick up.
- Public Works will schedule and let you know of the date(s) for collection of your specified materials.
- Place your bulky waste curbside no earlier than 7:00 P.M. the evening before the scheduled pick-up date.
- Do not place the waste curbside without scheduling a collection date with Public Works.
Each residential property is allowed 4 curbside collections of bulky waste per calendar quarter, each of which shall be limited to a maximum of 64 cubic feet per collection (approximately a mid-sized pick-up truck load).
Specialty items Portsmouth residents can recycle – bring to the Recycling Center, no curbside collection available
- Batteries -(Please note: Alkaline Batteries can be disposed of in the regular household trash.)
- Cooking oil
- Fluorescent light bulbs
- Oil & oil filters
- Propane tanks (empty)
- Vegetable oil
RV waste (Pease Treatment Plant, (603) 427-1553)
The following items can be disposed of throughout the year – bring to the Recycling Center or call DPW to schedule a pick up:
A fee is charged for these items to cover extra handling and processing for proper disposal.
- $5.00 per 20 lb. or larger propane tank
- $5.00 per tire
- $10.00 per electronic unit
- $20.00 per freon containing unit (i.e. refrigerators, air conditioners)
Public Works hosts bi-annual household hazardous waste collection days at their facility.
Household Hazardous Waste Items:
- Transmission Fluid, Engine Degreaser, Brake Fluid
- Oil-based paints
- Stains, Thinners & Strippers
- Solvents & Varnishes
- Hobby Supplies, Art Supplies
- Drain cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Spot removers
- Photographic chemicals
- Swimming Pool Chemicals
- Adhesives, Glues, Resins
- Poisons, Insecticides, Weed Killers