Reduce Your Waste

Our goal at EcoPel is that before any Pelhamite throws something in their garbage, they pause for a moment to consider whether the item could be reused or recycled in some way.

Read on to learn more about garbage and recycling in Pelham and resources for reducing the waste you produce. Any time you have an item you’re not sure what to do with, consult this page.

Our Garbage

In Pelham, our household and business waste that is not recycled is transported to Peekskill, to an energy-from-waste facility.


After the garbage you put out on the curb each week is collected, it is transferred to larger, sealed tractor-trailers and transported to Peekskill. About 2,250 tons of solid waste arrive at the facility daily Monday through Friday. It is burned at 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and the facility is authorized to use up to 55 million gallons of water per day from the Husdon River to cool the exhaust – 200,000 gallons per day of steam. (Source 1 and 2)

In addition to the incredible amount of resources used to process our garbage, there is a huge amount of garbage created during the production of the stuff that we throw in the garbage: “The waste coming out of our houses is just the tip of the iceberg. For every one garbage can of waste you put out on the curb, 70 garbage cans of waste were made upstream just to make the junk in that one garbage can you put out on the curb.” The Story of Stuff

All this garbage transportation and processing is costing Pelham. Each of us individually has the power to make an impact on this cost.

What can you do?

Join EcoPel in learning about alternatives to adding to our garbage stream. Let’s begin by learning ways we can each contribute. You can browse our resources and ideas below for ways you can implement reduce, reuse, recycle before you resort to throwing stuff away. Or you can use the search box at the top of the sidebar to quickly find a specific type of waste.

Resources for reducing your waste



  • Books can be donated to the Town of Pelham Public Library at 530 Colonial Ave, Pelham, NY 10803. (914) 738-1234

Curbside Recycling

  • For books that aren’t in donation condition, you can cut off the binding and recycle the pages. (Book bindings cannot be placed in the recycling for curbside pickup.)

Cell Phones

  • Recycle at any Verizon Wireless. There is a location at 235 Fifth Ave, Pelham, NY 10803. (914) 813-3336
  • Sell on


As of January 1, 2015 Electronic waste may not be collected or disposed of as garbage, as required by the NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act.


Donating used electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products and maximizes the energy and resources that went into making the products. By donating your used electronics, you allow schools, nonprofit organizations, and lower-income families to obtain electronics that they otherwise could not afford. Residents can check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s donation and recycling Web site or the Goodwill to learn how to donate used computer equipment, televisions and other electronics. You may also be able to sell newer working electronics and cell phones. When purchasing new equipment, schools or businesses may wish to negotiate removal and recycling of old equipment with vendors.

Goodwill locations accept all electronics, working and non-working, including those covered under the NYS Electronic Equipment and Recycling and Reuse Act, less than ten years old, from any individual or business in New York. Items are accepted at any location in the county, as listed below, and they qualify for a tax deduction as a charitable donation. Please note that special arrangements must be made if electronic equipment exceeds ten units (or what can fit into the back of a small van). Stores have to plan to accommodate larger donations, which can be coordinated by contacting Goodwill’s Donation Department at (718) 777-6320 or You can also visit Goodwill’s Web site to find a location near you. (Source)


Learn more about how to recycle at



Curbside Recycling

Glass accepted with your curbside recycling pickup include jars and bottles of any size and color.

How: Rinse containers. Place metal caps and rinsed jars and bottles loose in the bin with plastic and metal containers. Labels do not need to be removed.

Not Accepted Curbside

  • Glass that is not used for packaging food or beverages (i.e. light bulbs, drinking glasses, crystal, window and mirror glass, ceramic ware and kitchen cookware).
  • Empty glass containers which held potentially hazardous materials (i.e. pesticides and solvents).

Hazardous waste

The Household Materials Recovery Facility (H-MRF) in Valhalla, NY accepts many items not allowed for curbside pickup. Call for appointment 813-5425; Tuedays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Accepted Items

Properly labeled household chemicals, including:

  • Most automotive fluids – antifreeze, brake fluid, gasoline (not motor oil)
  • Metal, jewelry and furniture polish
  • Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides
  • Photo and swimming pool chemicals
  • Kerosene and other flammable liquids
  • Wood preservatives and stains

Other items including:

  • Car tires (up to four per household)
  • Confidential documents for shredding (up to 4 file boxes per visit)*
  • Propane and helium tanks*
  • Mercury thermometers, thermostats
  • Electronic waste (e.g., computers and peripherals, tv’s, cell phones, etc.)*
  • Fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs and tube-shaped fluorescent bulbs)*
  • Freon-containing appliances (e.g., air conditioners, refrigerators and dehumidifiers)*
  • Batteries – auto, rechargeable & button cell (Alkaline and carbon-zinc batteries can be safely discarded with the household trash.)*
  • Expired or unused medications (Can only be delivered, by appointment, on certain days. Visit to view the reservation calendar, which includes designated med take-back days, and book an appointment or call the Recycling HelpLine at (914) 813-5425)
  • Fire Extinguishers

*Alternate disposal options are available. Call the Recycling HelpLine: (914) 813-5425


Junk Mail

Junk Mail Christmas Tree
Junk Mail Christmas Tree

Curbside Recycling

All junk mail is accepted with your curbside recycling pickup.

Stop Junk Mail

  • Opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years, including credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers and other mail offers at
  • Opt out of prescreened offers of credit and insurance either for five years or permanently at
  • Sign up (free) to send requests to stop receiving unwanted catalogs, coupons, credit card offers, phone books, circulars and more as they arrive at
  • Guaranteed service (paid) to stop 80-95% of junk mail within 16 weeks at

Junk Mail Facts

  • 62% of phone books and advertising mail are not recycled!
  • Direct mail creates 10 billion pounds of solid waste
  • It costs communities over $1 billion annually to collect and dispose of it
  • Marketers spend $17 billion on postage alone to send advertising mail.
  • Approximately 44% of junk mail goes to landfills unopened
  • The average American will spend 8 months of their lives dealing with junk mail




Curbside Recycling

Metal accepted with your curbside recycling pickup include food and beverage cans, clean aluminum foil and trays, and empty aerosol cans.

How: Rinse containers and place them loose in the recycling bin with glass and plastic con- tainers. Labels do not need to be removed.

Not Accepted Curbside

  • Empty paint cans or metal containers which held potentially hazardous materials such as pesticides, glues or solvents.
  • Aluminum siding, scrap metal, wire, pipes, tubing, motors, sheet metal, appliances and auto parts are recycled separately.



Curbside Recycling

All newspaper can be recycled with your curbside pickup.


There are many ways to reuse newspaper. For example newspaper can be used in crafts, or you could even compost newspaper.


Plastic Bags & Film

Reduce Your Consumption of Plastic Bags

Each year, Americans throw away more than 100 billion plastic bags. Less than 1% is recycled. (Source)

  • Sign up for the Pelham CSA to receive a weekly supply of vegetables (June-November) with minimal packaging.
  • When you are purchasing just a few items, carry them in your hands or drop them in your pocket, purse or briefcase.
  • Bring your own reusable bags to the farmer’s market, grocery store or any store (reusable bags can be used for all of your shopping).
  • Grow fruits and vegetables right on your own property!

Recycling Plastic Bags

Recycling plastic bags at DeCicco’s

Though Westchester County recycles plastics #1 through #7 with curbside pickup, you cannot recycle plastic grocery and carryout bags and plastic film (such as dry cleaning bags) with your curbside recycling.

You can recycle plastic bags at the back of DeCicco’s. Look for the large garbage can with a slit cut into the lid. It is near the bay door to the left of the bottle recycling machines.

Plastic Bags Accepted for Recycling

Apart from the plastic carry out bags covered by the law, most stores will also accept the following clean and dry materials (check with your store for details):

  • Plastic retail bags with string ties and rigid plastic handles removed
  • Plastic newspaper bags
  • Plastic dry-cleaning bags
  • Plastic produce bags with all food residue removed
  • Plastic bread bags with all food residue removed
  • Plastic cereal bags with all food residue removed
  • Plastic frozen food bags with all food residue removed
  • Plastic wrap from paper products (paper towels, etc)
  • Plastic stretch/shrink wrap with all food residue removed
  • Plastic zipper-type bags with plastic closing mechanism removed


plastic-bottlesCurbside Recycling

Plastics accepted with your curbside recycling pickup include all plastics coded with any number 1 through 7, commonly used for food, beverages, detergents, household cleaners and shampoo. Include coded pails and buckets, as well as coded flower pots and trays rinsed free of soil or other products.

How: All plastics must be rinsed clean and free of food waste and other products. Plastic caps on jars and bottles are acceptable. Place plastics loose in the bin with glass and metal containers.

Not Accepted Curbside

  • Plastic bags, all plastic film (e.g. dry cleaning bags and packaging materials), vinyl
  • Unmarked or non-coded plastics (e.g. toys, clothing hangers, tableware and utensils)
  • Large rigid plastics (e.g. toys and furniture)
  • Plastic foam (e.g. hot beverage cups, trays and packaging materials)
  • Containers that may have held hazardous materials (e.g. motor oil, solvents and pesticides)
  • Building materials (e.g. pvc piping and bathroom and kitchen fixtures)

Scrap Metal

Recycle with a scrap metal recycling company such as Pascap Co. Inc. 4250 Boston Rd., Bronx, NY 10475 (888) 809-9437

From the Pascap website:

Pascap strives to have a positive impact on our environment and since we’ve been around since 1929, we were a “green” company before most people knew what that was. Scrap recycling helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and saves energy and natural resources. In fact, scrap recycling keeps millions of tons of materials away from landfills every year. And recycled scrap helps keep our air and water cleaner by removing potentially hazardous materials and keeping them out of our landfills. So bring your scrap to Pascap, make some extra money, and help the environment! Call us at 888-809-9437 about our pick- up service or bring your metal scrap to the yard yourself



10174837_800749200059783_4901569901894090906_nDonate and Recycle

Drop off your usable and unusable clothing, towels, sheets, bedding, leather goods, stuffed animals, and even shoes.

A textile recycle bin is at the Community Church of Pelham located on the corner of Washington and Highbrook Avenues by the train station. The bin is in the parking lot against the chain link fence, positioned behind a tree.

Donated items will be sorted and the unusable items will be shredded for fiber and repurposed.

Learn more about textile recycling in the EcoWise Column “How One Person’s Rags Become Someone Else’s Pillow Stuffing.”