Recycling Programs

Sorting recycling from your trash can make a world of difference.  It'e easy, everyone can do it, and it saves money, the environment and our landfill with one simple step.  Put recycling in your recycle bin not your trash can and that's all you have to do.  Remember, everything tossed in your trash can, goes straight to be landfilled.   That is perfect if it is trash-- but not if it can be recycled.  See how your constant green habits benefit so much.

Why it's Important to Recycle - by RIRRC


 The Town of Cumberland uses carts to collect weekly household recycling.

What Belongs in the Recycle Cart?

1.  Accepted Recycling in RI :  Since all communities send their recycling to the Material Recycling Facility (MRF), a section of RI Resource Recovery, the rules for what gets recycled are the same all throughtout our state. This makes it easy to recycle at our beaches, in downtown Providence or anywhere in Rhode Island.  

Make sure what you are putting in your recycling cart belong there. Click below for what belongs in the recycle cart.


2.  DON'T Contaminate your Recycling!  --  Putting something in your recycle cart that does not belong, causes all kinds of problems.  If you are not sure if it belongs in our recycling program, click the icon above.  If it is not listed on the accepted list, please do NOT put in the cart.  Contaminated recycling will:

  • Contaminated recycling will be left by our recycling company, and unfortunately will not be able to be collected until it is corrected.  
  • Households that continually do not sorted recycling properly, will forfiet their trash collection.  Cumberland has a No Bin No Barrell policy, meaning no recycling no trash will be collected that week. 
  • If contaminated recycling does get mixed in with our town recycling, RIRRC has the ability to issue a fine of $250 to our community.  
  • To make matters worse, a small amount of contamination could reject the whole load of recycling. In that case, that whole load that should of been recycled, will get reloaded and landfilled instead.  
  • The town then pays trash tip fees to dispose this load.  It also fills our landfill with mostly good recyclables, and we loose the recycling profit share on that tonnage.  
     As you can see it is important to only put items that belong in the recycling program in the cart!  

2.  Sorting Matters:  Proper sorting will assure we can correctly process the items once they get to the MRF and that it will be sold  for top dollar in todays markets.  Good clean recycling is worth a lot more than recycling mixed with other waste. Each year, after RIRRC sells the recycling, they share the profits with all the cities & towns.  If they make more money, more money comes back to Cumberland.  

3.  Recycling Must be Loose in Cart -- nothing in paper or plastic bags.  This allows for recycling to be sorted.  This makes sencse if you think about how the MRF sorts.  For metal for example, they use magnets to grab this item. If metal cans are tied in a plastic bag with paper and plastic bottles, this cannot be seperated.  We want all recyclables loose and different materials seperate.  Think of a pickle jar. The glass and metal lid both can be recycled, but take the lid off the glass jar, and now the magnet can grab just the metal lid and send to correct metal area.  


****   SHREDDED PAPER is NO LONGER ACCEPTED IN CURBSIDE RECYCLING PROGRAM.  (This change effective 5/2017) ***** 
In the curbside program, recyclables cannot be in plastic or paper bags-- everything must be loose in the recycle cart. This means,

1. Shredded paper cannot be in plastic bags.  Bagged shreds can either be dropped off at RIIRC or belong in your trash can.

2.  Do Not put shredded paper loose in the recycle bin either- the small pieces are unable to be recycled this way.   


See how recyclables are processed and sorted at the Materials Recycling Facility.  You will understand why loose is best; what happens when wrong items are mixed in; and how all recyclables are seperated for reuse in a variety of markets. 

Take a Tour of the MRF -- click here 


Collecting Recycling with Automated Carts

Cart Placement:  Where you place your cart is very important.  This is why.  A truck drives next to your cart and only an automated arm is used to grab the cart. Just remember these guidelines when you put your cart at the curb, and we will be able to easily collect your recycling.   

  • Place recycling cart with a 3 foot clearance ALL around the container.
  • Make sure cart is NOT overloaded. Lid must be closed & lid should open toward the street.
  • Place cart no further than 2 feet back from the road.
  • Do NOT comingle recycling with trash.  If trash, plastic bags, construction debris or hazardous waste are in your cart, the whole container will be left to be corrected for next week.

Automated Recycling Pickup:  Our community has automated the weekly recycling pickup. All recyclables must be in the blue town issued recycle cart for the hauler to be able to empty this material.  Unfortunately nothing can be collected outside the cart, as the carts are grabbed with a arm and dumped at the top of the recycle truck.  Below are additional FAQ's about how this collection works.  

FAQ's Regarding Automated Collection 

Cart Not Emptied:  Was your recycle cart was not emptied?  Click below to see if this might of been the problem.

We Can't Service Your Recycling Because...


These Do Not Belong in the Recycle Cart - but can still be recycled by taking advantage of the programs listed below.

Recycling Clothing & Textiles -  Use the Kiducation or Goodwill boxes located in town.

Textile Recycling

Recycling Fluroscent Light Bulbs - Resident can bring fluroscent bulbs to Eco-Depot collections. Small bulbs are accepted at Home Depot & Lowes stores by the customer service desk. For tube bulbs, some area hardware stores accept them in a program with DEM and Clean Water Action. Details below.

Fluroscent Bulb Recycling 

Recycle Plastic Bags -- Plastic bags get recycled, but not in the recycle cart.  Bring back to a local retail store and look for the ReSTORE bin.  Click below for specific details.

Plastic Bag Recycling

Recycling Paint -- RI has a great PaintCare program to recycle both latex & oil-based paints. Some local paint retailers now allow drop off of accepted paints during their normal business hours.  

PaintCare Recycling Program

Recycling Styrofoam -- Hard packing Styrofoam can be recycled if brought to RI Resource Recovery. This item is one of the items collected in their Small Vehicle Drop Area. Click below for complete details. 

RIRRC Small Vehicle Drop Area