Recycle, Refuse, Reuse, Repurpose, Repair

There are a variety of actions we can take to reduce waste, conserve resources and prevent pollution.

Get Rid of it Right

Follow the links below to get information for reuse and re-purposing. You can also use this web-based tool for finding recycling services in your area.





Compost – It’s easy to start your own backyard compost pile or basement red worm composting condo


  • Salem residents can sign up for weekly curbside scrap collection for a nominal fee, contact or call 978-290-4610.
  • It’s nature’s way of recycling food scraps and compost makes wonderful soil to grow healthy food.
  • It’s good for the environment and reducing waste feels good. Love food, hate waste!
  • It helps protect the climate by reducing potent greenhouse gas emissions at landfills.
  • Curbside compost collection will help the City control trash costs.
  • Farming and gardening with compost requires less water and helps to avoid the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Read what Seattle is doing to “Starve a Landfill”

Get Rid of it Right – Select one of the links to the right for information and tools on Zero Waste practices that can help you go beyond recycling, and prevent waste in the first place. Visit Earth 911 for creative ideas on how to waste less!

Re-Use or Up-Cycle – Watch this video of 10 brilliant life-hacks.

Repair things, don’t discard them. Keep things out of the waste stream. Check this list of repair places around Salem where you can have your clothes altered, knives sharpened, and small appliances repaired.

Reduce or Eliminate Plastic Bags: BYO Bring Your Own bag. Keep reusable bags next to you in car. They’re for more than just groceries! DIY: Make your own T-shirt Tote Bag.

Make your own chemical-free household products: FANTASTIC! A MUST WATCH…Vinegar the magic potion. Watch and SAVE lots of money…

Laundry aid: Make your own or buy Wool Dryer Balls, it speeds up the drying time (tip: pin a few safety pins to ball to cut static). To soften fabric, put vinegar in Downy balls. Save money and help the environment.

Choose eco-friendly or plastic free products. Choose paper, glass, & metal over plastic. Thereby reducing exposure to harmful phthalates.

BYO – Bring Your Own water bottle or reusable coffee cup.

Replace your everyday disposables with reusables –  Keep the following in your car or knapsack:  travel mug for hot drinks, reusable water bottle, reusable flatware, bandana or cloth napkin, reusable container for restaurant leftovers.  (Or you can break them all down individually, as you’ve already done.)

Join your local freecycle groups – find one at

Offer the item on – is a private social network where neighbors work together to build stronger and safer communities. It is often used as a place to list household items that you are giving away for free. You must create an account.

Shop LocalSalem Farmers Market

Use other forms of transportation when you can – MBTA, Bike, Zipcar.

Drive an Electric car – Salem has ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS 

We’re going RETRO. Take our PLASTIC BAG Challenge !

We’re taking you back, Retro-ly. Try going without using a plastic bag for “1”, just ONE, day. We want to hear your experience. FB comments please!

Another way to go Retro is recalling how folks entertained without single-use plastic-ware. cutleryentertainingnapkins
A good set of silverware, simple cotton squares of napkins, fun patterns of glass plates, real glass/mason jars can be re-used and passed on & on for generations without harming the environment. Look for them in thrift stores, yard sales, or even at our Swap & Drop events!

Dual Stream your Trash: Put non-food trash in paper bags and only food trash in plastic bags. But if you sign-up for curbside compost, you would further reduce plastic bag usage. Non-recyclable bags such as large chip bags, mulch/compost bags, large frozen or produce bags can also be used as trash bags. No need to toss these tainted bags into a brand new trash bag.