Free Recycling Help for Nonprofit Events
Nonprofit events taking place in any of ecomaine's communities can take advantage of our recycling bin loaner program at no cost. We provide the units (up to 100) and the collection bags; the nonprofit just has to pick up and return the units. We even take the recyclables at no charge. See rules & guidelines.
Contact Leo Maheu at email@example.com for more details or to make a reservation.
$5 Bounty on Thermostats Containing Mercury
Details & Locations
Mercury Thermostats Map
Free E-Waste Recycling
Goodwill, Staples, and Best Buy will recycle your computer and related products at no charge. It doesn't matter what brand, where you bought it, or what condition. Staples and best Buy also take camcorders, digital cameras, shredders, mobile phones, GPS devices, and digital music players.
Don't throw it in the trash. Recycle it for free!
Single Sort Guide
Instead of separating recyclables by type, simply combine all glass, metal, paper, cardboard, and plastics #1-7 into one recycling container. It's simple.
Click here for a list of recycling "Dos & Don'ts"
Can I recycle that?
With more than 120 recycling containers in 60 locations throughout southern Maine, ecomaine provides for convenient, energy-efficient disposal of recyclable materials, such as colored paper, old mail, newspapers, magazines, phone books, catalogs and paper bags. We also accept paperboard, glass, cans, aluminum and plastic.
Free adhesive-backed list of what is/is not recyclabl is available in quantity for community distribution; call 773-1738 to request.
CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps): click here for a list of Maine stores and other sites that will recycle your used light bulbs (posted 7/19/12; 66 KB)
"Recycling Works in Maine" (15 seconds) 4.27 MB
"No Excuses" (15 seconds) 3.88 MB
Holiday Recycling Guidelines
Wrapping paper without foil
Cards & envelopes without foil
Cardboard & paperboard
Do NOT recycle these:
Ribbon (of any kind)
Recycling Stats by Community
Drop-Off / "Silver Bullet"Locations - click here
Decorate a "Silver Bullet" Contest!
Winners of the 2012 silver bullet painting contest (Recycling is a Work of Art) are:
2013 eco-Excellence Awards (grouped alphabetically)
Brigton-North Yarmouth (1.35 MB)
Ogunquit-Yarmouth (1.25 MB)
2012 eco-Excellence Awards (grouped apphabetically)
Cape Elizabeth-Ogunquit (1.31 MB)
Parsonsfield-Yarmouth (1.30 MB)
2011 eco-Excellence Awards (grouped aplphabetically)
Bridgton-Gray (1.63 MB)
Harpswell-Pownal (1.18 MB)
2010 eco-Excellence Awards
Great ideas and programs:2010 Awards (2.11MB)
2009 eco-Excellence Awards
Great ideas and programs: Award recipients (3.2 MB)
2009 CFL Recycling Survey Results in Maine
By Dr. Travis Wagner (851 KB)
For energy conservation information,
visit Efficiency Maine
Recycle athletic shoes here
Single Sort Recycling
After nearly two years of study, the 21 owner-municipalities of ecomaine voted on May 18, 2006 to bring single stream recycling to Maine. Single stream is leading-edge technology that eliminates the need to separate recyclables by category for collection. The many ripple-effect benefits are both economic and environmental and include: increased participation in recycling, less time for curbside collection, less idling time for trucks (resulting in less pollution), and fewer trips to the ecomaine recycling facility.
The single stream equipment and installation cost approximately $3.7 million and was operational in May of 2007. Funding came from reserves and earnings from the sale of recyclables.
For our member and associate communities, ecomaine provides large collection trailers (known as "silver bullets") for recycling by local residents. These trailers/containers are usually placed at transfer stations, large parking lots, or other easy-access locations to encourage recycling. ecomaine owns 120 recycling trailers (sometimes called "silver bullets"), which are placed within easy reach of about 20% of Maine's total population.
More single sort recycling information:
Download a copy of A Guide to Recycling for Small Businesses. (PDF 163KB)
Did You Know?
- Maine law requires that old TVs, computers*, cell phones and other HHW (household hazardous waste) materials be recycled at State certified sites, such as the City of Portland's Riverside Transfer Station. For more information and to find the site nearest you, contact your municipal government .
(*Computers -only- are accepted at no charge by Goodwill at their offices; do not leave at community collection boxes.)
- When you recycle you are also reducing your amount of waste. And, every pound of material you recycle is one less pound for which your town must pay a disposal fee.
- ecomaine has the largest municipal recycling program in the state, processing more than 35,000 tons of recyclable material per year.
- Each person in the United States disposes of about 4 pounds of trash every day - about 30 percent more waste per person than in 1960.
- About 61 percent of the material recycled by ecomaine is paper. Cardboard, glass, steel cans and aluminum make up the other recyclables.
- Paper is often recycled into more newsprint, cardboard into more cardboard, cans into new steel, and plastic into more plastic. However, PET (plastic) soda bottles are also used to make fleece clothing or synthetic "wood."
- Anything that comes to ecomaine not labeled as recyclables is re-used as fuel to produce electricity.
The ecomaine recycling facility is the largest in Maine. We recycle fiber (paper, paperboard, corrugated cardboard, newsprint), #1 through #7 rigid plastic containers, metal (tin, aluminum, steel), and glass. At the close of the 2010-2011 fiscal year ecomaine's recycling center had recycled 35,550 tons - a record for ecomaine.
Though much of the recycling tonnage would be valuable fuel for the waste-to-energy plant, the owner-communities and management of ecomaine are committed to making recycling their first priority. To continue the upward trend of recycling tonnage, ecomaine has dedicated two employees to recycling outreach among member and non-member communities.
Our recycling facility is located at 64 Blueberry Road, Portland (next to the waste-to-energy plant) and occupies the building originally built for baling solid waste in the 1970s. Trucks from all over southern Maine now stop here to unload recyclable materials. Because recyclables have value as a raw material, trucks are weighed before and after they drop off materials - the difference determines tonnage ecomaine has purchased.
While some ecomaine employees move materials with heavy equipment, others monitor conveyor belts and specialized sorting equipment as materials are sorted into homogeneous groups. Each group of like-materials follows a separate route through the building:
- Cardboard is separated by a star screen separator that utilizes large rubber stars mounted on shafts. These shafts spin the stars. Due to the spacing between the stars, different materials can be sorted. By spacing the stars farther apart large cardboard can be separated because it will not fall between the stars whereas everything else will. The cardboard is then carried over the tops of the stars, passed from one shaft to the next until it falls over the last shaft onto a conveyor where it is whisked away to a holding bunker for baling at a later time. Everything small enough to fall through the stars (paper, plastic, metal & glass) falls onto a conveyor that then goes to manual presort.
- Paper is also sorted by star screen separators. ecomaine has a double deck of two star screens. The top, newspaper screen, is configured with similar rubber stars but smaller and spaced closer together. Using the same premise as cardboard the newspaper will pass from one shaft to the next over the top of the stars and fall onto a conveyor. Everything that falls through the stars then falls onto the second deck which utilizes stars configured even closer together. This mixed paper screen will sort out mixed paper, junk mail, magazines and the like. Everything that falls through the second deck (plastic, metal, and glass) continues on to the next phase in the sorting process. The sorted paper is then refined and baled. Compressed at 3100 pounds per square inch, the material is made into 2200 pound bales at the rate of one every 5-8 minutes.
- Glass, plastic, and metal are conveyed next to the magnet, where ferrous metals are separated and stored for baling.
- The glass, plastic and non-ferrous or aluminum are then sent over a glass breaking screen that breaks the glass. Then, the plastic, aluminum, and broken glass will pass through another star screen which utilizes much smaller stars that are positioned very close together. This allows for the broken glass to fall through but the plastic and aluminum will continue over the tops of the stars. The broken glass is then conveyed to a glass cleaning unit to remove shredded paper which tends to follow broken glass due to the size. The glass is cleaned, to remove shredded paper, and crushed and used as aggregate.
- The plastic and aluminum next pass through a sizing screen which is used to remove large plastic. Once the small plastic and aluminum are sorted they pass over an eddy current which acts like a reverse magnet that repels aluminum. This technology is used to sort the aluminum from the plastic. The large plastic must be removed to allow the eddy current to effectively repel the aluminum into a storage container for baling later.
- What is left is small and large plastic which is then rejoined onto a conveyor that will then pass under an Optical Sorter. This innovative new equipment shoots an ultra violet light through all the plastics and when it detects #1 PET it will direct a jet of air to propel the plastic into a chute that will convey the material to a holding container for baling. The remaining material will fall onto another conveyor which will then pass manual sorters who positively sort out #2 HDPE colored plastics, (laundry detergent bottles) #2 HDPE natural plastics, (milk jugs) and #3-#7 plastics.
- All materials (with the exception of glass) are baled by type. The various bales are then sold at current market value (determined by demand) and picked-up by the buyer in tractor-trailer trucks. View a diagram of the single sort process. (PDF 52KB)
ecomaine continually monitors the fluctuation of market prices for each of its recyclable materials and communicates with potential buyers to ensure the best return for our communities.
ecomaine also reaches out to communities all over southern Maine, whether or not they are members, offering free assistance to schools and to recycling committees. School programs and presentations are part of our recycling education effort, as well as presentations and printed materials for adults.
For our member and associate communities, ecomaine also provides large collection trailers (known as "silver bullets") for recycling by individual residents. These trailers/containers are usually placed at transfer stations, large parking lots, or other easy-access locations and have been successful in increasing recycling. ecomaine owns 120 recycling trailers, which are placed within easy reach of about 20% of Maine's total population.
Additionally, ecomaine would like to encourage recycling in small businesses. Download a copy of A Guide to Recycling for Small Businesses. (PDF 163KB)