Town of Amherst NH

Transfer Station FAQ’s

Why should I recycle?

In addition to the environmental benefits, there are significant financial advantages to Amherst when we recycle. The cost to dispose of a ton of trash in 2009 is $80.23; in 2008 Amherst paid $262,705.82 just for trash disposal.  In spite of a collapsed market, during the same time period the average value from recycled material was $66 per ton.  The value of $66/ton of recycled material represents the combination of revenue generated from the recycled material plus the savings realized by not disposing the material in the trash. In 2008 the total value to Amherst of recycled material was $59,676!

The cost of trash disposal will continue to rise each year, and, while the revenue from recycling fluctuates from month to month and year to year, it has tended to increase over time. Hence the more we recycle and the less we throw in the trash, the more we will reduce costs to Amherst.

Is compost for sale at the transfer station? If so, how much is it.

A load of any amount of compost up to 400lbs is $2.00; after 400 lbs the cost is $.005 per lb (i.e. half a cent a pound)

Some examples: for a load of compost of 10 lbs, 103lbs, 325lbs, etc up to 400lbs the price to residents is $2.00 total.

For any amount over 400 lbs the cost is ½ cent per lb; so, 450lbs would be $2.25; 610 lbs would be $3.05, and 2000 lbs (a ton) would be $10.

Why do I have to pay to dispose of my TV and computer monitor?

The glass display tube found in TVs and computer monitors contains heavy metals and other hazardous substances. The town is charged $.10 per lb by the licensed recycling vendor who hauls away the electronic waste from the Transfer Station. The $5.00 charge for TVs and computer monitors offsets some of the cost to dispose of those items.

The web site says synthetic motor oil is not accepted for recycling. Why not, and what do I do with it?

We discourage disposing of synthetic oil at the transfer station because the oil is used to heat the DPW garage and the synthetic oil doesn’t burn properly in the waste-oil furnace. Check with the store where you purchased your new oil; many of them accept used oil for recycling. According to Wal-Mart (Amherst), VIP (Merrimack, 101A at Continental Blvd) and Advance Auto Parts in Milford, they will accept small quantities (a few quarts, not gallons at a time) for recycling. All three places require the oil be in a closed container, preferably one that will not leak.

Renovations are almost complete – will the Transfer Station continue to change its hours?

The current hours are not expected to change.  Shifting Tuesday and Thursday hours such that the Transfer Station is open into the evening was done to provide opportunity for those who are unable to go during the day, an opportunity other than Saturday to visit the Transfer Station. Lighting has been installed at the drop-off area and we plan adjustment to lighting for the still-good shed, so there is no need to close due to darkness.  For safety, the brush/leaf/year wasted area will be closed at dusk, please plan accordingly.

How do I submit a question, comment, or suggestion about the Transfer Station?

You can email any question, comment, or suggestion to It will be answered as quickly as possible and will be posted in the FAQ site if it has broad enough appeal.

At the recycling area there is a sign by the commingles that says we accept all plastic with a 1-7 in the triangle? What does that mean?

There are many types of plastic in common use. Plastic must be sorted by type for recycling since each type has different properties. The plastics industry has developed identification codes to label different types of plastic. The identification system divides plastic into seven distinct types and identifies them using a number code generally found on the bottom of containers. Plastics with numbers 1-7 can be put in the commingles container, but please keep plastic bags (plastic #2 or #4) and Styrofoam (plastic #6), out of the commingles container, if possible, as explained in the next question. The following table explains the seven code system.

Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)

Common uses: 2 liter soda bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars. This is the most widely recycled plastic. This type of plastic is highly sought after.

Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Common uses: detergent bottles, milk jugs. This type of plastic is highly sought after.

Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Common uses: plastic pipes, outdoor furniture, shrink wrap, water bottles, salad dressing and liquid detergent containers. Please remove food waste and receipts.

Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Common uses: dry cleaning bags, produce bags, trash can liners, food storage containers. Most grocery store chains accept HDPE (#2) and LDPE (#4) plastic bags for recycling. Please note that plastic bags are not accepted for recycling.

Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)

Common uses: bottle caps, drinking straws. Recycling centers almost never take #5 plastic.

Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS), Commonly referred to as Styrofoam

Common uses: packaging, packaging pellets or “Styrofoam peanuts,” cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, to-go “clam shell” containers. Many shipping/packaging stores will accept polystyrene peanuts and other packaging materials for reuse. Cups, meat trays, and other containers that have come in contact with food must be thrown in the trash. Currently there is no market for this type of material.

Plastic #7: Other

Common uses: certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware. This plastic category, as its name of “other” implies, is any plastic other than the named #1-#6 plastic types. These containers can be any of the several different types of plastic polymers. Recycling centers currently cannot recycle plastic #7. Look for alternatives.

There is a number in a triangle on my Styrofoam containers, why can’t I recycle them with commingles?

There is currently no market for recycled Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS) commonly referred to as Styrofoam. The firm that handles our commingles (BFI) sorts commingles manually which adds to their expense. Polystyrene is sorted out and treated as trash. Until recently, BFI charged the town $40/ton to handle our commingles because of the labor involved. Once we eliminated glass from the commingles they handle everything else – plastic and metal cans – at no charge beause their labor costs went down considerably. If the volume of Styrofoam increases there is a good chance that BFI will reinstate a charge to the town. Please dispose of Styrofoam in the trash.

Businesses such as The Postal Center and Mail Boxes Etc gladly accept the styrofoam “peanut” and are a great example of the “Reuse” portion of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” motto.

What is the best way to recycle home batteries?

The toxic heavy metal content of batteries makes them very difficult to recycle. Yet they contain some of the most environmentally harmful chemicals of common household items that are disposed of today.

Mercury reduction in batteries began in 1984 and continues today. During the last several years, the industry has reduced the total amount of mercury usage by about 86 percent. Newer alkaline batteries may contain about one-tenth the amount of mercury previously contained in the typical alkaline battery.

Non-rechargeable (typically alkaline manganese and carbon zinc) batteries contain such small amounts of heavy metal that no vendor will take on the task of recycling them. Unfortunately they must be disposed of in the trash.

The vast majority of rechargeable batteries contain toxic heavy metals that, when introduced into the environment through incineration, being buried in landfills or being otherwise disposed of in the environment pose a significant risk to human health and wildlife. These heavy metals are taken up by microorganisms and work their way up the food chain from there, becoming more and more concentrated. This poses health risks to both humans and to wildlife who consume contaminated food.

Rechargeable batteries such as lithium ion (Li-ion), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), Nickel Cadmium (NiCad), button cells, and Small Sealed Lead (Pb) batteries must be recycled. You can put them in the shed with the automotive batteries; take them to many retail outlets such as Radio Shack; or dispose of them in Nashua on their hazardous waste collection days. For dates go to These types of batteries are not environmentally friendly and cannot be disposed of in the trash. They MUST be recycled.

If you are not sure what type of battery you have read the label. For more detailed information go to

Reusable (rechargeable) alkaline and manganese batteries also go into the trash.

Is there a fee to dispose of extra carpeting, stuffed furniture or some old mattresses?

Amherst residents (verified by displaying an Amherst Dump Sticker) may deposit stuffed furniture, carpeting and mattresses free of charge at the Transfer Station. The attendant at the scale house will direct you to the appropriate compactor(s). Metal framework must be removed from sleeper couches and disposed of separately.

How do I obtain an Amherst dump sticker?

Stickers are free to residents of Amherst and can be obtained at the Town Clerk’s office (first floor, Town Hall) between the hours of 9am and 3pm weekdays.  Stickers can also be obtained at the scale house at the transfer station (scale house closes 30 minutes before the transfer station does).

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