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This month trash barrels can fill with retired toys, clothing or electronics to make way for gifts, yet much of what we put in barrels can be redirected to more useful purposes.

Arlington’s trash weighs an average of 38 tons per day, equivalent to 1.8 pounds of trash per person, but every ton of household items that don’t end up in the trash saves the town money.

It also reduces fossil-fuel emissions created when waste is hauled to the waste-to-energy plant (30 miles away) and saves natural resources that would otherwise be extracted from the earth to create new products.

If you’re concerned about keeping your trash level down or would like some alternatives to throwing things away, you can find several options for reusing and recycling in Arlington.

Reuse happens in our daily lives when we pass items on to family and friends. As you clean out your closets and book shelves, consider donating usable items to organizations, such as our local libraries, schools and places of worship.

Consider some alternatives

Collection boxes around town can be found on the map at the town website.

The Little Fox children's resale shop accepts high-quality children’s clothes and books with proceeds supporting the library.

The Friends of the Robbins Library maintain an ongoing book sale in the library’s fourth-floor Book Sale Room. The selection is updated frequently and the books are reasonably priced.

Proceeds from the sale allow the Friends to offer the family museum pass program as well as to purchase supplemental materials and equipment for the Robbins and Fox libraries.

Donations for the book sale are gratefully accepted at the Reference Desk on the first floor of the library. They ask you to limit your contributions to one bag/box per visit, due to storage limitations.

While the amount we recycle is on the rise, much more of what we dispose of can be recycled. For example, almost all wrapping paper is recyclable (except foil-type paper or plastic bags; tape can be left on the paper but remove ribbon before recycling).

Gift boxes and corrugated cardboard boxes can also be recycled along with paper and placed inside or next to your curbside recycling bin. The community has been averaging 250 tons of paper/cardboard recycled per month and the Department of Public Works (DPW) hopes to see that number rise.

Electronics are a growing source of waste in the state, especially as older televisions are replaced. Anything with a plug can be brought to the DPW during regular business hours for recycling and proper handling. Each piece is dismantled by our E-Steward certified electronic waste vendor and the different materials are sorted for various reuses.

Bring e-waste items to DPW during business hours.

DPW, 51 Grove St., open from 8 a.m. –  4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 7 p.m. Thursdays. Most e-waste items are free to recycle, except TVs/CRTs ($10 each) and laptops ($5 each).

Please throw microwaves away with curbside trash. Visit arlingtonma.gov/recycle for additional recycling and resuse options and a map of donation boxes around Town or call with any questions, 781-316-3108.

Robbins Library book donation program information can be found here >>

The Little Fox childrens resale shop donation guidelines can be found here >>


This story was published Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012.