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Recycling Guide: Recycling items from A-Z
Earth 9-1-1Updates to the Following Listings
Information is being added to this site constantly, so please check back for updates. You may also visit Earth 911 for additional information on where to recycle.

Disclaimer
The following listings are neither endorsed or recommended by Montgomery County or the Waste System Authority of Montgomery County. The information in this guide is being provided as a public service to help conserve natural resources and reduce the amount of materials from entering the waste stream. To add a listing, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

A-Z Recycling Guide
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A

Air Conditioners
See Appliances Containing Freon.

Aluminum
All municipal curbside recycling programs in Montgomery County accept aluminum cans. Fees may apply. Drop-off locations include:

Ammunition
For information on how to properly dispose of ammunition and explosives please contact your local Police Department or the Montgomery County Bomb Squad at 610-278-3343.

Antifreeze
Antifreeze can be brought to county Household Hazardous Waste Events.  See also Automotive for additional options.

Appliances Containing Freon
Refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and water coolers contain ozone depleting refrigerants (CFCs / Freon) that must be removed by a certified professional.

Small appliances containing Freon are accepted at Montgomery County Electronics Collection Events) including dehumidifiers, water coolers, air conditioners (window unit or portable, no full size) and mini-refrigerators(no full size).
Large appliances containing Freon like full size refrigerators, freezers, and large air conditioning units should be taken to a Freon certified handler (for more details, please download the Freon Recovery Flier). Some sites charge a fee. Drop-off sites include: 

Appliances Not Containing Freon
If you need to dispose of washers, dryers, water heaters, and other kitchen appliances not containing Freon (also known as white goods), contact your trash / recycling hauler to see if you can schedule a pickup of the item or to see if it is acceptable to be curbed with trash / bulk pickup. You may also contact a scrap metal dealer to see if they will accept the item at their facility.

Art & Education Materials
Construction paper, crayons, paint, makers, glue, and scissors are just some of the things that can be considered art and education materials. The best use for these materials is to use them up or find someone or an organization that may accept them as a donation. If no donation options are available, please consider the following options:

Asbestos
Asbestos is not accepted at county Household Hazardous Waste Events. Shingles, tiles, piping, and other materials containing asbestos should be removed only by a contractor who is licensed to do so. You may try searching the Yellow Pages under 'Asbestos Removal and Abatement Services' or you may contact the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry at 717-771-3396 for a list of companies who are licensed to properly handle and remove the material. For small quantities, please double wrap in plastic trash bags. 

Aseptic Packaging (Drink Boxes / Milk Cartons)
Check with your township or hauler to see if aseptic packaging is accepted curbside. For more information on aseptic packaging visit the Carton Council website. Available drop-off locations include:

Asphalt, Brick, Concrete, Gravel & Porcelain
See Construction and Demolition.

Audio and Videotapes, CDs, DVDs & Records
Audio and video tapes and discs are not accepted at Electronics or Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events. Before disposing of media (audio tapes, video tapes, etc.) please consider donating to a local thrift store, library, or nursing home. Also consider holding a yard sale or attending a flea market. Lastly, consider using the items for artwork. Available drop-off locations include:

Automotive
All automotive items and materials including the list below are acceptable at Montgomery County household hazardous waste events:
  • Antifreeze
  • Carburetor cleaners
  • Fuel additives
  • Gasoline
  • Grease and rust solvents
  • Lead acid batteries
  • Motor oil
  • Transmission / brake fluid

Automotive: Antifreeze & Motor Oil
When dropping off motor oil, please make sure it does not contain additives, is contaminated in any way or mixed with gasoline, anti-freeze or any other fluid. Do not leave motor oil on the premises when establishment is closed.

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B

Batteries - Alkaline and Zinc Carbon Batteries (A, AA, AAA, C, D, 9V)
The Mercury Containing and Battery Management Act of 1996 phased out the use of mercury in traditional household (alkaline) batteries. Because of this, these batteries are deemed ‘safe’ to throw in the trash by the Pennsylvania DEP. However, this does not mean that these types of batteries can’t be recycled. Available drop-off locations include:

Batteries - Button Cell Batteries (Silver Oxide, Lithium, Alkaline)
When identifying the type of button cell battery you may have, please be sure to differentiate between silver oxide and lithium or alkaline batteries. These batteries are identified by an alphanumeric code. Typically the first letter in the alphanumeric code will identify the type of battery. The first letter ‘L’ indicates an alkaline or lithium battery. Silver oxide batteries are identified by a letter ‘S’ and contain mercury. Button Cell batteries containing mercury can be taken to any household hazardous waste event for recycling.

Batteries - Lead Acid Batteries (Car, Boat, Motorcycle, Emergency Lighting, Alarm Systems etc.)
Contact your local auto service center, or the battery manufacturer. Lead Acid Batteries can be taken to any household hazardous waste event for recycling. Available drop-off locations include:

Batteries - Rechargeable Batteries (Cell phone, Laptop, Camera, Power Tool, Camcorder etc.)
All rechargeable batteries can be taken to any household hazardous waste event for recycling or put in drop boxes located at the entrance of most Home Depot stores. Most rechargeable batteries consist of the following:
  • Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
  • Nickel Metal (Ni-MH)
  • Lithium Ion (Li-ion)
  • Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn)

Rechargeable batteries are widely accepted for free recycling at drop off locations throughout the county at most electronics retail stores. For an extensive list please visit the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation website. (Note: Please call ahead to confirm details.)

Books
Books can be hard to recycle because of their binding and hard covering. Most material recovery facilities (MRFs) are only set up to handle two-dimensional paper products like a sheet of newspaper or office paper. The size, shape, and awkward nature of a book makes recycling difficult. Recommendations include:
  • Consider donating your used or old books to a thrift store or other used book outlet.
  • Check with your local library. Many times libraries will sell used or old books as a fundraiser. 
  • Check with your trash / recycling hauler to see if and how they will accept books to be recycled.

Building Materials
For used and in working condition, please visit the Montgomery County Habitat For Humanity's ReStore website.

See also Construction and Demolition.

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C

Car & Vehicle Donations
There are numerous organizations and non-profit outlets for car and vehicle donation. Please follow the link to the Better Business Bureau's article entitled, 'Tips on Contributing Used Cars to Charity' for tips and advice on how to ensure your car goes to the right place. Please contact your favorite charity or non-profit to see if you can donate a car to them or have the profits go to their organization, including:

Cardboard
If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle cardboard, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

Carpet
There are very few, if any, carpet recycling options in our county. Visit Carpet America Recovery Effort to learn more about carpet recycling.

Cell Phones
Like most computer and electronic equipment cell phones should be reused or recycled at all times because they contain heavy metals and other brominated flame retardants that could pose a serious risk to the environment. Cell phones also contain a rechargeable battery that should be recycled as well. Fortunately, outlets for cell phone reuse and recycling have become more accessible and abundant.

Reuse

Recycle
Drop off or Mail back to the manufacturer:
  • AT&T
  • Best Buy
  • Office Depot
  • Motorola
  • Samsung
  • Sprint
  • Sony Ericsson
  • LG Electronics
  • Verizon Wireless

Additional drop-off programs include:

Christmas Trees

If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle Christmas trees, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

Clothing and Textiles
See donations.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs or CFL's are a great way to reduce your electricity bill while lessening your carbon footprint. However, these types of bulbs contain a small amount of mercury and should be handled carefully and disposed of properly at all times.

Intact CFL bulbs can be taken to any Home Depot, Lowes, or Ikea stores for free proper disposal and recycling. CFL bulbs can also be taken to any county-sponsored household hazardous waste event for free disposal and recycling.

Please DO NOT throw them in the trash. Nationwide, over 670 million mercury-containing bulbs are discarded improperly each year. In Montgomery County most of these bulbs are ultimately land filled or incinerated. These disposal methods can lead to a release of mercury into the environment through breakage and leakage and ultimately contaminate the food chain.

Computer & Electronics
Computers and many electronics contain heavy metals and other materials that should be recycled if possible. Below are a few options for proper computer and electronics recycling.

To find out more information about this collection program, please go to the Montgomery County Electronics Collection Program page.

Concrete
See construction and demolition materials.

Construction & Demolition Materials
Construction and Demolition materials or C&D are non-hazardous uncontaminated material resulting from construction, remodeling or repair resulting from the demolition of utilities, structures or roads.

    Cooking Oil

    Cork

    Couches
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle couches, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

    Cylinders
    A cylinder can be defined as any tank or pressurized canister that may contain hazardous substances. See list below for disposal methods:
    • Acetylene - Return to business of origin or take to a welding shop. NOT ACCEPTED AT COUNTY COLLECTIONS.
    • C02 - Return to business of origin or take to a welding shop. NOT ACCEPTED AT COUNTY COLLECTIONS.
    • Helium - Drop off empty helium tanks at a Sims Metal Management site.      
    • Oxygen - Return to business of origin or take to a medical supply outlet. NOT ACCEPTED AT COUNTY COLLECTIONS.        
    • Propane - NOT ACCEPTED AT COUNTY COLLECTIONS.
    • Mini-propane tanks- accepted at county Household Hazardous Waste collections

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    D

    Dehumidifier
    See appliances (containing Freon).

    Donations
    The following locations accept donations:

    See also vehicle donations.

    Drugs
    See medicine.

    Driveway Sealer
    See hazardous waste.

    Drywall
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle drywall, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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    E

    Electronic Equipment
    See computer and electronics.

    Eyeglasses
    Just because your glasses are old doesn't mean they are no good. Consider donating them to one of the following organizations where they are given to someone who can use them. Be sure to check first with your eye doctor to see if they are involved in a recycling program. Drop-off programs include:
    • Lions Club 
    • Walmart - Look in stores for drop off bins.
    • One Sight - Receives donations from ILORI, Optical Shop of Aspen, Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical and Target Optical.

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    F

    Fire Extinguishers
    See hazardous waste.

    Fishing Line
    See monofilament.

    Flares
    See hazardous waste.

    Fluorescent Lights and Ballasts

    Food
    Commercial compost facilities that accept food waste:

    Freon

    Fuels & Solvents
    See hazardous waste.

    Furniture
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle furniture, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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    G

    Glass
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle glass, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

    Grease
    See cooking oil.

    Greeting Cards
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle greeting cards, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

    Grocery Bags
    Plastic grocery bags (Plastic Resin Codes #2-High Density Polyethylene and #4) can be taken back to most grocery stores to be recycled. Ask the store manager for more details.

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    H

    Hangers
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle hangars, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

    Hazardous Waste
    Household hazardous waste is the discarded, unused or leftover portion of household products containing toxic chemicals. Hazardous usually can be identified by labels such as:
    • Caution
    • Corrosive
    • Explosive
    • Flammable
    • Poisonous
    • Reactive
    • Toxic
    • Warning

    Due to its chemical nature, improper disposal of household hazardous waste poses a threat to human health as well as that to the environment, where it may enter the municipal waste stream and cause environmental problems such as ground-water contamination, injuries to waste management workers, and damage to equipment and property.

    To provide options for the disposal of hazardous waste, Montgomery County operates a collection event program 5-6 times per year. To find out more information about this collection program, please go to the Montgomery County Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Program pages.

    Helium Tanks
                   

    Sims Metal Management

    Humidifier
    See appliances (containing Freon).

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    I

    Ink Cartridges
    Ink cartridges can be dropped off at Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, and Target for recycling.

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    J

    Junk Removal
       


    Junk Mail
    Please visit the “Recycling Search” at http://earth911.com/ for locations to recycle mixed paper near you.

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    K

    Kerosene
    See hazardous waste.

    Kerosene heaters are not hazardous and should be drained of all Kerosene before disposal. Contact your trash / recycling hauler for bulk pick up or contact your local scrap metal company.

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    L

    Light Bulbs
    Bullet Incandescent and Halogen light bulbs – dispose of as trash
    • Fluorescent lamps and bulbs – All fluorescent lamps contain small amounts of mercury and should be disposed of properly for recycling.
       o Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) – These curly tube bulbs are accepted at drop boxes inside Home Depot and Lowes for free recycling.
       o Fluorescent tubes – Residents can bring tubes to any household hazardous waste event (link). Businesses must make other arrangements for disposal. Please visit the National Electrical Manufacturers Association website devoted to providing resources for fluorescent lamp disposal. Also see: 

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    M

    Medicine
    Montgomery County has established permanent locations where the public may conveniently and responsibly dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs throughout the year at no cost. Needles and other sharp items are not accepted at these sites; see Sharps for disposal information. Please do not flush medication down the toilet or sink and do not bring medication to household hazardous waste collection events.

    Montgomery County Prescription Drug Disposal Program Locations

    Montgomery County Courthouse (Main)
    Airy and Swede Streets, Norristown, PA (at both public entrances between 8:30 am and 4:15 pm, Monday through Friday)

    Abington Police Department
    1166 Old York Road, Abington, PA (24/7)

    Douglas Township Police Department
    1320 E. Philadelphia Avenue, Gilbertsville, PA (8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday)

    Franconia Police Department
    671 Allentown Road, Franconia, PA (24/7)

    Hatfield Police Department
    2000 School Road, Hatfield, PA (24/7, M-F)

    Limerick Police Department
    646 West Ridge Pike, Limerick, PA (8:00 am-4:00 pm/ M-F)

    Lower Merion Police Department
    71 East Lancaster Ave, Ardmore, PA (24/7)

    Lower Moreland Police Department
    640 Red Lion Rd., Huntington Valley, PA (7:00 am - 10:30 pm, Monday through Friday)

    Lower Pottsgrove Police Department
    2199 Buchert Rd., Pottstown, PA (8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday)

    Pottstown Police Department
    100 E High Street, Pottstown, PA (24/7)

    Souderton Police Department
    31 W. Summit Street, Souderton, PA (24/7)

    Upper Merion Police Department
    175 W. Valley Forge Rd, King of Prussia, PA (24/7) 

    Mercury
    See also hazardous waste.

    This metal is a hazardous chemical that can cause serious health programs. Proper disposal and recycling is encouraged at all times. Mercury can be found in many common household products such as thermostats, thermometers, electrical switches, fluorescent lighting and batteries. For more information on mercury please visit the Environmental Protection Agency website.
    • Fluorescent lamps – All fluorescent lamps contain small amounts of mercury and should be recycled or disposed of properly at all times.
      • Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) – Accepted at Home Depot, Lowes, and Ikea for free recycling.
      • Fluorescent tubes – Residents can bring tubes to any household hazardous waste event. Businesses must make other arrangements for disposal. Please visit the National Electrical Manufacturers Association website devoted to providing resources for fluorescent lamp disposal.
    • Thermostats – See hazardous waste. In 2008, the state of Pennsylvania passed Act 97, the Mercury Free Thermostat Law, which requires manufacturers of mercury thermostats that have been sold in the commonwealth to establish and maintain a collection and recycling program for old mercury thermostats. HVAC distributors, contractors, household hazardous waste collection sites and retailers are all eligible to sign up to receive free thermostat recycling containers through the industry funded non-profit - Thermostat Recycling Corporation.
    • All other forms of mercury - See hazardous waste.

    Metal & Scrap
    See also aluminum. Drop-off locations include:

    Microwaves
    Microwaves can be brought to county Electronics Collection Events. See also Appliances Not Containing Freon.

    Milk Cartons & Drink Boxes
    See aseptic packaging.

    Monofilament (Fishing Line)
    Through a grant from the Boat U.S. Foundation, 29 monofilament (fishing line) recycling bins were installed throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. The Montgomery County Conservation District maintains 18 recycling bins along popular fishing streams and rivers throughout the county:
    • Green Lane Park 
      • Deep Creek Lake – Main Lot Kiosk 
      • Hill Road Boat Rental Dock 
      • Knight Road Bridge – Pier 1 
      • Knight Road Bridge – Pier 2 
      • Walt Road Launch – Trailer Boat Launch 
      • Walt Road Launch – Rack Boat Launch 
      • Walt Road Launch – Fishing Jetty 
    • Upper Schuylkill Valley Park 
      • Left of Cement Dock – Near edge of river 
    • Lower Perkiomen Valley Park 
      • Wetherhills Dam 
      • Corner of Lower and Upper Indian Head Road
    • Norristown Farm Park 
      • High Arch Bridge – Upper Farm Road 
      • Stony Creek Dam – Stony Creek Road 
      • Trestle Bridge – Castner Service Road 
      • Meadrow Bridge – Lower Farm Road 
    • Lorimer Park 
      • Lorimer Park Parking Lot 
      • Route 73 Parking Area 
      • Parking Area on West Valley Green Road

    Motor Oil
    See automotive.

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    N

    If you have a suggestion for recyclables that begin with the letter "N", please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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    O

    Oil

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    P

    Packaging Peanuts
    The best way to dispose of packaging peanuts is to reuse them for what they were made for - filler / padding for packages! If you can not reuse them, many UPS and other shipping / packaging stores may accept them for reuse. Drop-off locations include: 

    Paint
    Paint and varnish are the most common household products that become household hazardous waste. To learn how to determine if old paint is usable, please download the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania Paint and Varnish Fact Sheet.

    Oil based paint, turpentine, paint remover, paint thinner, shellac, stains / varnishes, furniture stripper, and finisher and wall paper cement are all accepted at Montgomery County household hazardous waste events.

    Latex paint is not considered hazardous waste and is not accepted at household hazardous waste (HHW) events. Unfortunately, latex paint does find its way to HHW events. In 2009, at HHW events, Montgomery County collected 188,000 pounds of latex paint and non-hazardous materials that cost $65,737 to dispose of. This happens for a number of different reasons:
    • Owner of paint is uneducated about the proper way to dispose of latex paint.
    • Owner of paint sees HHW events as an easier disposal alternative than the proper method.
    • Label on paint can is too old or unreadable, thus making it impossible to determine its type.
    • Owner of paint is moving and will not have time to dispose of paint properly.

    By diverting latex paint from household hazardous waste collections, Montgomery County could save valuable tax payer dollars and perhaps provide additional services or events.

    How to Solidify Water-Based (Latex) Paint
    When solidifying paint, the same safety precautions should be taken for painting walls and other surfaces. (ie: wear gloves, don't smoke, keep area ventilated) There are a couple of different methods depending on how much paint you have:
    • Slowest method - Recommended for small amounts of paint. Take cans outside or to a well ventilated area and leave the lids off. Let cans sit until fully dry/hard. This may take weeks or months depending on the amount of paint in the can(s).
    • Faster method - Take an absorbent material such as kitty litter, sand, saw-dust, newspaper and add to the paint. Stir paint. The paint will absorb to these materials and speed along the drying process. The drying time depends on the amount of paint you have, and the amount of absorbent material you add.
    • For large quantities - Dump paint into an old bucket or trash bag lined cardboard box. Add absorbent material and stir. You may want to add absorbent material first to ease the mixing process.

    For all methods, To ensure latex paint is dry, plunge a screwdriver or other tool into the paint. If it does not penetrate, paint is dry. Once water based paint (latex) is dry it is safe to throw in the trash.

    Pallets
    See construction and demolition material.

    Paper
    For a list of paper drop off locations throughout Montgomery County please download the Paper Drop-Off Locations or visit Paper Retriever Recycling. Other locations include:

    Pesticides
    See hazardous waste.

    Pet Supplies

    Phone Books
    The Yellowbook is 100% recyclable and should be accepted at most curbside programs. You may also opt out of receiving your Yellowbook or call 1-800-YB YELLOW.

    Plastic
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle plastic, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

    Plastic Bottle Caps
    Plastic bottle caps are often times not recycled with the bottle. This is because caps are typically made from a different type of plastic (#5 – PP) than the bottle (#1 – PET or #2 – HDPE). Even if the cap and bottle were made from the same plastic, many recycling facilities are not set up to recover the small bottle caps. As a result, bottle caps that find themselves in most recycling facilities end up in the trash. Unfortunately, many bottle caps do not end up in the recycling facility but find themselves on the ground polluting our streams and waterways.

    Not sure what to do with your bottle caps? – Call your Hauler or participate in one of the programs below:
    • Recycle Caps with Aveda
    • Preserve Gimme 5
    • Caps Can Do

    Polystyrene
    See also packaging peanuts. Drop-off locations include:

    Pool Chemicals
    See hazardous waste.

    Prom Dresses
    See also donations. Drop-off locations include:

    Propane Tanks
     
    Drop-off at a location listed below. Fees may apply, generally $5 or less. Please do not bring propane tanks to Household Hazardous Waste Collections.

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    Q

    If you have a suggestion for recyclables that begin with the letter "Q", please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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    R 

    Refrigerator
    See appliances.

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    S

    Sharps (Syringes)
    Sharps or syringes are not considered household hazardous waste and should be disposed of with regular trash pick up. Sharps should be placed in a puncture-resistant hard plastic or metal container. Container should be sealed and placed in a securely fastened opaque trash bag. It is also recommended to disinfect sharps with a solution of one teaspoon of bleach in a half gallon of water. Please do not recycle sharps. See the Disposal Tips brochure for more information.

    Shoes

    Smoke Detectors
    Most smoke detectors contain a small amount of radioactive material called Americium-241 and should be returned to their manufacturer for proper disposal. Please look on the back of the smoke detector or manual for more information on where to send them or refer to the table below:

    Brand Name Company
    American Sensors Dicon Global 
    BRK First Alert 
    Dicon Global Dicon Global 
    Family Safety Products Family Safety Products 
    Firex Invensys Controls 
    First Alert First Alert 
    Garrison Dicon Global 
    Gentex Gentex 
    Honeywell Honeywell 
    Kidde Kidde 
    Lifesaver Kidde 
    Masterguard Masterguard 
    Nighthawk Kidde 
    North American Dicon Global 
    System Sensor System Sensor 
    Triad Safety Systems Triad Safety Systems 

    Solvents
    See hazardous waste.

    Sporting Goods

    Styrofoam and expanded polystyrene foam
    See polystryrene.

    Syringes
    See sharps.

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    T 

    Tanks
    See cylinders.

    Tapes
    Audio and video tapes and discs are not accepted at Electronics or Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events. See Audio and Videotapes, CDs, DVDs & Records


    Telephone Books
    See phone books.

    Televisions
    See computer and electronic equipment.

    Tires

    Toner & Laser Cartridges
    See ink cartridges.

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    U 

    If you have a suggestion for recyclables that begin with the letter "U", please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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    V 

    If you have a suggestion for recyclables that begin with the letter "V", please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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    W 

    White Goods
    See appliances.

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    X 

    X-Ray & MRI Film

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    Y 

    Yard Waste
    If you have a suggestion for locations that recycle yard waste, please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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    Z 

    If you have a suggestion for recyclables that begin with the letter "Z", please contact us at 610-278-3618.

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