How Do I Dispose of...?


Bring it to the Recycling Center. The antifreeze must be clean and clear. If it is contaminated with any other type of waste (i.e. oil or gasoline) it must be disposed of as a hazardous waste.

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Please note: Alkaline Batteries can be disposed of in the regular household trash.

Portsmouth residents can recycle rechargeable batteries through an organization called Rechargable Battery Recycling Corporation (RBRC).  There are two drop-off boxes from the company located at the Recycling Center another at the Department of Public Works. 

Place each individual rechargeable battery, or cell phone with battery, into a separate plastic bag (provided at the drop –off box).  Drop the battery into the box. 

Read on to learn about the many different types of batteries, their composition and laws the US Congress passed regarding batteries.

Click here for more information or view the State of New Hampshire Fact Sheet.

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Bulky Waste

CLICK HERE for information on bulky waste curbside collection

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Cardboard is recyclable. It is part of the mandatory curbside recycling program in Portsmouth. Please flatten and bundle all cardboard placed curbside. Residents may also bring cardboard to the Recycling Center.

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Cooking Oil

Residents can recycle used cooking oil under a new City pilot project with a company that will convert it into bio-fuel for vehicles and home heating. Used or unwanted cooking oil should be taken to the City's Recycling Center, where City personnel will provide assistance. Bean's Commercial Grease Incorporated has provided a storage drum for the cooking oil, which will be taken to Bean's New England facility to be refined for reuse.

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Computer Monitors and TVs

Computer monitors and television sets both have cathode ray tubes, which contain heavy metals, including lead, mercury and/or cadmium. Therefore they cannot be disposed of in the landfill with regular household rubbish. Bring your unwanted electronics to the Recycling Center or call DPW to schedule a pickup as curbside Bulky Waste. There is a nominal fee for disposal of electronics. For more information on the hazards of cathode ray tubes, click here.

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Fluorescent Light Bulbs

These lights contain mercury and proper disposal is essential.  You may bring your old bulbs to the Recycling Center. For operating hours of the Recycling Center please click here.  Please ask the attendant for instructions where to place the bulbs.  For more information on the hazards of mercury and/or how to clean up spilt mercury, click here Mercury

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Unwanted gasoline intended for disposal is considered hazardous waste. Store the gasoline in an appropriate container. For the next household hazardous waste collection day click here

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Medical Waste


How do I properly dispose of unwanted medication?

The Portsmouth Police Department has implemented a program where citizens from ANY jurisdiction can bring unused, expired or otherwise unwanted drugs and medications to the police department for destruction.

The Portsmouth Police Department houses a drug drop off box that is accessible at our department 24/7.  Please see the Station Officer at the front desk to assist you with this process.  NO NEEDLES or other hazardous materials will be accepted


How do I properly dispose of personal medical sharps (needles)?

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OIL based paint is a hazardous waste and must be disposed of accordingly.  Twice a year the City of Portsmouth provides hazardous waste disposal services, via Household Hazardous Waste Collection (click here) for more information on hazardous waste and the next collection date.

Latex paint in its liquid form is hazardous and cannot be thrown away with household trash.  But latex paint, once hardened, no longer displays hazardous characteristics and can be disposed of just like any other solid waste item.

NOTICE, the paint must be hardened all the way through.  If you leave the lid of the paint can open for a few days, it will harden – but only on the surface.  The core may still be liquid. 

One way to expedite the hardening process: go to your local hardware store, in the paint section, you can find packets of paint hardener.  Add it to the paint.  When the paint becomes solid, bring it to Portsmouth’s Recycling Center for disposal in the trash.

We ask you to bring it to the Recycling Center, instead of putting it curbside for rubbish collection because we need to make sure the paint is truly hardened.

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Shingles, Roofing

Answer: Public Works is not set up to handle this type of waste.  You can dispose of shingles at the Aggregate Recycling Corp in Eliot, ME. Call 207-439-5584.

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Smoke Detectors

According to the U.S. EPA, both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms contain plastic, electronic circuit boards, radioactive material and in some cases, batteries. When it comes time to dispose of your device, it’s important to know that ionization chamber smoke detectors (ICSDs) cannot be recycled, due to their radioactive content. For this reason, it is extremely important to properly dispose of the unit. Do this by:

  1. Removing the battery and recycling it.
  2. Safely removing the plastic cover ,and recycling it with your other plastic casing.  If it has the recycling symbol – the chasing arrows with a number – 1 thru 7, the casing can be recycled with other plastics curbside.  If there is no chasing arrow and number, dispose of it in the trash).
  3. Sending it back to the manufacturer, who will properly dispose of it. The address of the supplier is usually listed in the product warranty or user’s manual.
  4. If you no longer have the manufacturer information try contacting one of the big box home goods stores, such as Home Depot or Walmart - they frequently look to be good neighbors and often offer take back programs to be more “green”. 
  5. Please note, the City cannot accept smoke detectors at the Household Hazardous Waste collection events, the contractor is not permitted to ship low levels of radioactives.  

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Propane tanks

You can participate in a tank exchange program. Return your used tank where you purchase a new one. Alternately, Portsmouth residents may bring used propane tanks to the Recycling Center.

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RV Waste

As a RV owner, you are responsible for the proper disposal of the waste from the holding tanks. Federal and City Storm Water Pollution Prevention laws prohibit dumping of sewage in the storm drains.

Portsmouth residents and tourists may empty their holding tanks at the Pease Wastewater Treatment Plant, 135 Corporate Avenue, Portsmouth, Monday through Friday, 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Enter the main building at the entrance and an employee will assist you. There is a $30.00 dump fee. Cash or check written to the City of Portsmouth. For more information regarding waste disposal contact: City of Portsmouth, Water Treatment Plant (603) 427-1553

For more information about storm water pollution prevention initiatives, Click here:

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Portsmouth residents may bring tires to the Recycling Center. There is a nominal fee for disposal of tires.

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Used Oil and used oil filters

  1. collect and store your used oil in an empty steel or plastic container - but not one that was used previously to store chemicals
  2. bring it to the Recycling Center there is a large gray tank, marked with a sign, "Used Oil". Place your container(s) on the pallet next to the tank and Public Works employees will take it from there. Do not dump any other materials into the tank. This will contaminate the entire contents and we will have to dispose of it as a hazardous waste, which in turn costs you tax dollars.

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