Recycling at Home

RI Recycles - blue triangle logo
Download or print a guide to recycling at the Portsmouth Transfer Station here.

Pick up a recycling bin from the Tax Collector's office for just $7. Recycling bins are convenient for sorting materials at home as well as delivering your recycling materials to the Transfer Station. 

Recycling at the Transfer Station

The Portsmouth Transfer Station collects two streams of recyclable materials.
  1. Plastic containers 5 gallons or less, glass bottles and jars, metal cans lids and foil, and cartons
  2. Paper and cardboard - mostly clean and dry
Visit for a full list of what you can and cannot recycle.


Do NOT use plastic bags to dispose of recyclable materials or yard waste. Recycle clean, dry plastic bags and other plastic films at local markets and drugstores! See our page on the ReStore program!

Paint Recycling

Do NOT bring any aerosol cans (spray paint or other spray products), containers without original labels or leaking/empty containers.

  • Water-based (non-hazardous) latex paints may go in regular household trash, but must be hardened for worker and equipment safety. For nearly empty cans, leave the lid off and let it dry. When more paint is left, add sawdust, kitty litter or a paint hardener (about $2 at a home improvement store). Place cans of hardened, dry paint inside a plastic bag in the regular trash. 
  • Do not recycle paint containers with mixed recycling. 
  • Oil-based (hazardous) paints should be dropped off at a free Eco-Depot collection event. Learn more at or call 401-942-1430, ext. 241. Find the next Eco-Depot and make a free appointment to drop off paints and other household hazardous waste. 

Fluorescent Light Bulb Recycling

Give away new or working light bulbs in the "FREE" section of, or “Aquidneck Island Families Sell & Swap” at Facebook.

DO NOT place any fluorescent light bulbs in household waste or mixed recycling bins.

Drop off fluorescent light bulbs at these local retailers:
  • Newport Hardware, One Casino Terrace, Newport; phone: 401-849-9442
  • Humphreys Building Supply Center, 590 Main Road, Tiverton; phone: 401-624-8800
  • Home Depot (compact “spiral” bulbs only, no tubes), 878 West Main Road, Middletown, RI; phone 401-845-5092
DO NOT drop off any fluorescent light bulbs at the Portsmouth Transfer Station.

Fluorescent light bulbs are household hazardous waste and should be brought to an Eco-Depot. Learn more at and make a free appointment to drop off fluorescent bulbs at or call 401-942-1430, ext. 241. 

Gas Cans and Auto Fluids Disposal

Give away new or working gas, motor oil, antifreeze or other auto fluids as well as gas cans in the "FREE" section of Craigslist.orgFreeCycle.orgor “Aquidneck Island Families Sell & Swap” at Facebook.

DO NOT place gas cans, motor oil, antifreeze or other auto fluids, or their containers, in household waste or mixed recycling bins.

Drop off gas cans, with or without fuel, to the Portsmouth Fire Department.

Drop off motor oil and filters at the Portsmouth Main Transfer Station OSCAR bin.

Fuel and auto fluids are household hazardous waste and should be brought to an Eco-Depot. Learn more at and make a free appointment to drop off fluorescent bulbs at or call 401-942-1430, ext. 241. 

Large Plastic Items

Please save your rigid or bulky plastics for special Bulky Waste Days. This includes plastic containers over 5 gallons such as plastic buckets, milk crates, kitty litter baskets, lawn furniture, pet carriers, playhouses, laundry baskets, trash/recycling bins, pallets and shelving. Watch our calendar for the next Bulky Waste Collection Day. Plastic containers larger than 5-gallons are too big for RIRRC's standard sorting machinery and should NOT be blended with regular mixed recycling.

Additional Resources

View the RIRRC guidelines to learn more about what can be recycled here. View the RIRRC A-Z List with instructions for recycling, reuse or proper disposal of hundreds of products! 

Backyard Composting

Composting your yard and kitchen scraps creates a wonderful soil conditioner and fertilizer for your lawn, garden and house plants. Compost can increase soil moisture, making your lawn and garden more drought resistant while sequestering carbon in the soil.

Composting at home saves the Town hauling costs and carbon emissions of bringing Portsmouth's leaf and yard waste to Johnston where RIRRC generates compost.

Compost bins are convenient for composting kitchen scraps with garden, leaf and yard waste. Purchase a Compost Bin at the Tax Collector's office for just $45. Learn about backyard composting here

Rain Barrels

Collect rainwater for chlorine-free water for your plants and garden. See a sample rain barrel and downspout diverter and collect an order form in the Portsmouth Town Hall lobby.

These sturdy, recycled olive or caper barrels hold 60-gallons of chlorine-free rainwater and come with a  threaded spigot (for easy hose attachment), overflow fitting, drain plug, screw-on cover, screen, and complete instructions. The rain barrel ships ready for lining to a second or third barrel - just add a scrap piece of standard, 3/4" hose. Made in the USA.

A typical roof footprint and gutter system will fill your rain barrel with ¼” of rainfall.  Link two or three barrels together and collect up to 180 gallons of precious rain water. Choose green, light gray or dark brown painted rain barrel or an unpainted dark gray rain barrel.

For every rain barrel sold, the RI Water Lady will donate $10 to the Portsmouth Recycles program. Order rain barrels and diverters online here.

We offer a convenient and comprehensive recycling / solid waste disposal site. Please do your part and help us reach our recycling target of 35%!