Sustainable Waste Management

Check out the Manchester Public Works Department social media pages for more information regarding events and current initiatives in the Sanitation Division! Information on the other divisions (Engineering & GIS, Field Services, Building Inspection, and Facilities) is also included.  download (15).png Facebook    download (11).jpg Instagram

This website is currently under construction. More information and resources will be added in the future!

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Rethink, Refuse, Reduce

1. Donating Surplus Food
2. Avoid Surplus Food in the First Place


The most powerful step toward a greener future begins with rethinking our habits. By learning to say no to unnecessary items, minimizing our use of disposable products, and actively reducing waste, we can make a significant impact on our planet's health. It all starts with our choices. 

Donating Surplus Food

Rather than throwing away surplus food, consider donating it to a local food bank or charity pantry! There are a few places to donate food in Manchester, and you'll be helping those in need. Be sure to call or visit their website prior to donating to find information on hours, location, and items accepted. Locations to donate food include:

  • MACC Charities: All products must be unopened and within expiration dates. MACC accepts all donations during hours of operation. 
  • Salvation Army: Accept donations of non-perishable, unopened and non-expired food items of any kind. Canned goods with a “pop top” style lid are preferred. Grocery store gift cards to purchase fresh dairy, produce and protein items to supplement the pantry are also welcomed. 


Avoid Surplus Food in the First Place

To prevent food waste when grocery shopping, plan your meals, stick to your shopping list, and check your pantry before heading to the store. Be selective when buying perishable items and make use of leftovers for future meals.

When dining out, order portion sizes that match your appetite, and don't hesitate to ask about portion sizes. If you can't finish your meal, request a takeout container to avoid waste. Consider sharing appetizers and be mindful of side dishes to prevent overordering. 


Click here to go to the EPA website to learn more about preventing wasted food at home.

Click here for info on the FoodKeeper App, which helps you understand food storage and maximize freshness.

Click here to go to the FDA's website for tips on reducing food waste in the store, at home, and in a prep kitchen. 


1. Manchester Furniture Rehome Program
2. Local Tool Rental Opportunities, Repair Shops, Thrift Stores and Donation Bins
3. Reusing Bags
4. Local Tag Sale Events & Online Platforms 


Don't toss it, fix it! When your items break or tear, there are repair services and tool rental places ready to help. And if you no longer need a functioning item, consider selling, giving away, or donating it to extend its life. When you're in need, think about buying something used—let's make the most of what we have and reduce waste together!

Manchester Furniture Rehome Program

Introducing the Manchester Furniture Rehome Program, an initiative dedicated to fostering a culture of generosity and sustainability. This program invites residents to contribute to the well-being of their neighbors by donating gently used furniture items. From lamps that to sturdy tables, chairs, bed frames, and dressers, the focus is on essential pieces that enhance the quality of life for those in need. Storage unit located at the Manchester Transfer Station.

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Local Tool Rental Opportunities, Repair Shops, Thrift Stores, and Donation Bins

Manchester offers an array of tool and equipment rental spots, saving you the hassle of buying items you only need occasionally. These rental services provide access to a wide range of tools and equipment, making it easy and cost-effective to tackle your projects without the commitment of ownership.

Manchester is also home to a variety of repair shops that specialize in reviving cherished items such as...

  • Jewelry
  • Bikes
  • Shoes
  • Appliances
  • Electronics

There are clothing/book donation bins and secondhand stores located all throughout town, so consider taking unwanted used clothing or books to these places for reuse. Find below an interactive map of places around town to donate items such as clothing, furniture, and books.

Reusing Bags

Reusable bags help minimize the use of single-use plastic bags, which can take hundreds of years to decompose and contribute to pollution and harm to wildlife. By opting for reusable bags, we can significantly reduce plastic waste and conserve valuable resources. Reusing disposable bags, on the other hand, extends their lifespan and reduces the overall demand for new bags, further minimizing our ecological footprint. If you're unsure what to do with extra paper bags, MACC Charities is a Manchester-based organization that accepts paper bag donations.

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Local Tag Sale Events & Online Platforms

Local Tag Sales:

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- South United Methodist Church Trash & Treasures Fair: Residents can donate specific used items (no clothing, textbooks, or large items) that will be sold during a one-day event. Usually takes place in the end of May/beginning of June. 

Click here to go to the South United Methodist Church website where more details may be posted prior to the event. 


- Manchester Women's Club Townwide Tag Sale: Residents can sign-up to be included in a one-day event where everyone has tag sales at their homes. There is a $20 fee to participate, and the proceeds go towards a Scholarship fund. Usually takes place in the beginning of June. 

Click here to go to the Manchester Women's Club Events page where more details may be posted prior to the event.


- Parish of St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Bridget Church Unique Boutique: Residents can donate specific used items that will be sold over a three-day event. Usually takes place in the end of August. 

Click here to go to the St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish website, where more details may be posted prior to the event. 


- Manchester Land Conservation Trust: The Manchester Land Trust usually has 2 big tag sales: May and September. And most years a "mini" tag sale (2 or 3 days) in December, and occasionally a one-day Halloween sale!

Click here to go to the Manchester Land Conservation Trust Events page for more details. 


Online Platforms for Buying/Selling Used Items:

  • Craigslist
  • eBay
  • Etsy
  • Facebook Marketplace 



1. What is Wish-Cycling?
2. Residential Recycling Collection
3. Recycling at Transfer Station
4. Recycling of Plastic Film


Recycling is the process of collecting, sorting, and processing materials that would otherwise be considered waste, in order to convert them into new products. This sustainable practice helps conserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption, and minimize environmental impacts, making it a crucial element in our efforts to protect the planet. Check out the Recycle Right video, below, for information on what happens to your recyclables and more!

What is Wish-Cycling?

One goal of any recycling operation is to avoid "wish-cycling." Wish-cycling is a term used to describe when people put items in the recycling bin without knowing if they're actually recyclable. This leads to problems like contamination and higher costs in the recycling process. To avoid wish-cycling, follow your local recycling guidelines, and when in doubt, throw items in the trash instead. Recycle CT is a good resource with lots of recycling information and resources. Visit the "Recycling of Plastic Film" section of this page to learn more about why plastic film and plastic bags should not go in your recycling bin. Also, click the image below to use RecycleCT's tool to look up the name of any item to see whether or not it is recyclable.

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Residential Recycling Collection

The Town of Manchester offers residential curbside recycling collection. Residents place recyclable materials, like paper, glass, and plastic in designated bins outside of their homes. These materials are then collected regularly and transported to recycling facilities for processing. Curbside recycling promotes sustainability, reduces landfill waste, and encourages environmentally responsible practices within our community. The Town of Manchester is also offering residents the opportunity to acquire a second recycling bin in hopes of diverting more material from the landfill.


Click here to learn more about Manchester Residential Recycling Collection. 

Recycling at Transfer Station

Below is an image of the Manchester Transfer Station with the right side highlighted in yellow, as that is where most recyclable products can be dropped off. The Transfer Station has disposal options for single stream recycling, cooking oil recycling, clothing recycling, paint recycling, electronics recycling, and more. There are several options available at local retailers in Manchester to recycle certain types of electronics. These include:

Best Buy (Manchester)
Staples (Glastonbury/Vernon)
Green Monster eRecycling (West Hartford)


Click here to find more information, as well as an interactive Story Map of the Transfer Station.

Recycling of Plastic Film

Some items such as plastic bags, plastic film, and shredded paper usually are not recyclable. This is because certain items may not be recyclable due to their composition, size, shape, hazardous materials, contamination, lack of market demand, local recycling programs, or technological limitations. 

Does your organization shred documents? The Lutz Children's Museum can use the shredded paper as animal bedding. Please bring a bag to the museum whenever you can.


Click here for the How2Recycle website with information on what to do with plastic bags, wraps, and films.


1. Compost Pledge
2. Home Composting
3. Town of Manchester Food Waste Drop-Off Pilot Program
4. Community Garden Compost Initiative 
5. Blue Earth Residential Food Waste Pick-Up


Composting is a form of recycling that specifically deals with organic waste. It involves the natural decomposition of items like food scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil. This process not only reduces landfill waste but also creates valuable compost for soil enrichment, making it a sustainable practice within the broader recycling framework. 

Compost Pledge

Join us in making a positive impact on our environment by signing the Compost Pledge today and commit to reducing waste, enriching our soil, and creating a greener community. Together, we can turn food scraps into energy and fertile soil, one compost bin at a time. #LoveManchesterLiveGreen. Compost Pledge sign up coming soon!


Home Composting 

CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the US Environmental Protection Agency have great information on composting at home. Follow the links below to learn more about the benefits of composting at home, how to begin, required materials, and maintenance.

CT DEEP Turning Your Spoils to Soil

US EPA Composting at Home

Every Spring, the Town of Manchester organizes a compost bin and rain barrel sale. Visit for more information. 

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Composting not only enriches the soil, but it also reduces soil erosion, helps retain moisture for less water use, suppresses disease and pests, reduces greenhouse emissions, and minimizes landfill waste which helps save the environment. If you're interested in taking action to reduce waste and help the environment, sign the Town of Manchester compost pledge!

Town of Manchester Food Waste Drop-Off Pilot Program

The journey from food scraps to energy and nutrient-rich soil through composting begins with the collection of kitchen waste. These scraps are transported to a composting facility where they undergo a carefully managed decomposition process. This process generates biogas, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, which is captured and used as a renewable energy source. Simultaneously, the composting process creates nutrient-rich compost, a valuable soil conditioner that enhances soil structure, water retention, and nutrient content, promoting healthier plant growth and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.


As we strive to reduce our carbon footprint and promote a greener, more sustainable future in Manchester, we're proud to present the Food Waste Drop-Off Pilot Program. Here's how it works:

Sign Up and Get Started: Interested town residents will have the opportunity to sign up for the program, taking a proactive step towards reducing food waste and its impact on the environment. Registration information coming soon!

Collection Pail Distribution: Upon registration, participants will have the option to receive a dedicated collection pail. Residents can use this pail to collect and transport food waste, making it easier than ever to do your part. Most spoiled/leftover food will be accepted, with more specific details to come once the program begins. 

Drop-Off Locations: We'll set up four strategically located drop-off points throughout the town to maximize accessibility. You'll be able to find our enclosures at Whiton Library, the Senior Center, Mt. Nebo Park, and the Transfer Station.

Sustainable Transformation: Your food waste will not go to waste. All collected organic materials will be transported to a facility where they'll undergo the composting process. The exciting part? The gas produced during composting will be captured and converted into energy.

Convenient and Secure Access: Each drop-off location will be equipped with enclosures for the food waste. Access to these units is as simple as a tap on your smartphone. Just download the app, and you'll be able to unlock the enclosures effortlessly. If you're not keen on using the app, you can always visit the Transfer Station to personally deliver your food waste.

Community Garden Compost Initiative

The Town of Manchester is preparing to launch a Community Garden Compost Initiative where residents can drop their food waste off at the Spruce Street Community Garden from March through October. More details on accepted types of food waste coming soon.


Blue Earth Residential Food Waste Pick-Up

Residents also have the option to sign up for Blue Earth's Residential Food Waste Pick-Up Program: turning kitchen scraps into compost. Pay for food waste pick-up and receive nutrient-rich compost delivery in return. Blue Earth's Residential Food Waste Pick-Up Program is not affiliated with the Town of Manchester. 

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Click here to go to the Blue Earth Compost webpage to learn more about the program. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What materials can I recycle in the Blue Recycling Cart?

All recycling can now be placed loose into the recycling cart. We do ask that you follow a few simple guidelines.Please continue to flatten cardboard and paperboard/boxboard to preserve space inside the cart. Please rinse all food and beverage containers to remove food residues. Thorough washing is not required. Please do not put any plastic bags into the recycling cart, this includes any plastic liners from items such as cereal and other food packaging. All other fiber should remain loose, including junk mail, office paper, newspaper and inserts, magazines and catalogs, paperboard/boxboard, cardboard, note cards and folders. As of 1/1/2018, Shredded paper is no longer recyclable due to changes in recycling markets and revised acceptability guidelines from RecycleCT. Please click here to be redirected to the RecycleCT website.



What is aseptic packaging?

Aseptic packaging, commonly known as a 'drink box', is a combination of paper, plastic, and aluminum. This multi-layer package locks out light and air, seals in nutrients and flavor, and allows its contents to remain unrefrigerated for months. In addition to a drink box, milk and juice cartons are also considered aseptic. Also known as gable-top cartons, they are often a half-gallon in size, but there are smaller and larger sizes as well.

Does the Town offer paper shredding services?

No. The Town of Manchester does not have any paper shredding services available aside from the occasional Public Works Shred Event. The Town has identified the following local paper shredding resources:

  • MARC Inc. Paper Shredding Services
  • Manchester Eighth Utilities District Annual ShredFest (every May)

What do I do with ___________ ? Can it be recycled?

Check out Recycle CT's Recycling Wizard for information on what can and cannot be recycled!

Can I recycle Styrofoam?

Unfortunately, Styrofoam is not acceptable for recycling through the curbside program. If you have styrofoam packing peanuts, these may be able to reused by a UPS Store. Please call the store for additional details. For curbside disposal, Styrofoam should be placed in the Green Trash Cart.

I live in an apartment or condominium that doesn't recycle. Is there a location where I can recycle acceptable materials?

Yes, If you reside in a Manchester apartment or condominium and do not have access to the Town's curbside recycling collection, you can still recycle at the Town's Transfer Station. The Transfer Station accepts all of the same recyclable materials that are collected in the Blue Recycling Carts.

Do recyclables need to be rinsed/washed before putting them in the bin for single stream?

Thoroughly rinse and dry your recyclables before putting them in your bin.

Can I recycle pizza boxes?

You should not put your pizza boxes in the recycling bin. This is because the cheese, grease, and food bits that get stuck on the box will contaminate other items in your recycling bin and make it all unusable. However, if the top part of your pizza box is clean and free of grease, you can rip this part off and recycle it.

Do I have to separate my lids from my containers?

Plastic bottles with or without the caps attached are acceptable. However, loose plastic bottle caps are not recyclable. Metal lids from cans and bottles are accepted.

What types of electronic waste are appropriate for recycling?

Accepted: Alkaline and lithium batteries, televisions, monitors, computers, computer components, laptops, UPS, power cords, keyboards, mice, speakers, routers, docking stations, modems, printers, copiers, fax machines, toner/ink cartridges, stereo equipment, Blu-Ray players, DVD players, VCR's, cable boxes, telephones, cell phones, answering machines, gaming consoles, cameras, remote controls, typewriters.

Not accepted: Fire alarms, thermostats, equipment containing gas or oil, putrescible items.