Archive for May, 2020

What’s the Deal with Gardening Supplies?

It’s that time of year. Spring is here and lawn and garden care are in high swing. The nice weather, and social distancing, have given us all more time to spruce things up in our backyards. But, once we’re done with the planting and the seeds are watered, what do we do with the soil and fertilizer bags or the plastic nursery pots?

The shorts answer is that we cannot recycle the items. Despite some of them, plastic nursing pots specifically, having recycling symbols on them, they do not belong in your curbside bin. Plastic pots are actually considered a rigid plastic, and this type of plastic is hard for the recycling facilities to work with. Soil bags are typically still filled with some amount of soil when left curbside, and this can cause contamination of clean recyclables. The bags themselves are also just as dangerous as plastic grocery bags, they can clog up machinery and cause injury to workers.

What can you do with these items?

Soil and fertilizer bags should be thrown in your normal trash can. You can also use these bags for other things in your garden if you are able to clean them out enough. Some with handles can be used to store gardening materials!

Gardening chemicals that come in plastic jugs or bottles should NOT be placed in your recycling bin. The best thing to do with empty bottles is to fill them out with cold water and then use the water downed substance normally (meaning you can use this on your plants again). DO NOT dump the water down your drain, dump it outside. Repeat this process 2-3 times and then wrap the bottle in newspaper and throw it away. This should only be done with empty, registered products. If you have old, or unregistered pesticides or fertilizers, they should be saved for disposal at a hazardous waste day!

Finally, plastic planting pots. These are the most common offender in recycling bins. Despite them being plastic or having a recycling symbol, we will not take recycling with these pots inside. Instead you can reuse them at home or donate them to other friends who are gardeners. Home Depot does recycle these planting pots, so they can be brought to the gardening center at Home Depot locations. Please call ahead at this time to ensure this is still happening right now due to the current circumstances. Lastly, you can hold onto the pots and dispose of them at our rigid plastics event which is scheduled for October 17th 2020!

Thank you for your efforts to keep our recycling clean! If you have any questions please email

Updates to City Yard Hours of Operations – Beginning May 9th

The City Yard, at 72 Tremont St., will be opening on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for Melrose residents only. We will be open during normal business hours for collection of recyclables and yard waste. These new hours will begin on Saturday, May 9th, and will continue until further notice.

Although the yard is open for use, the main building will remain closed to the public. Proof of Melrose residency will be mandatory for drop off and will be checked by a yard attendee. If you do not have a sticker you can call the office at 781-665-0142 and arrange getting one; you may also use a license with a Melrose address on it for entrance. When you arrive at the yard, please make sure you are wearing a mask and that you keep your windows rolled up for the safety of our employees.

The yard will not be accepting light bulbs, batteries or e-waste at this time. For light bulbs and batteries please use Batteries plus Bulbs in Saugus, which offers a free recycling services for these items. E-waste drop off (e.g., computers, TVs, etc.) will resume once we are able to open normally and collect payment.

As a reminder, you can recycle the following items at the City Yard –

  • All recyclables normally collected curbside including paper, flattened cardboard, plastic & glass bottles, and aluminum cans
  • Textiles and clothing
  • Books
  • Propane tanks
  • Yard waste

Please remember that we do not accept bulky rigid plastics, trash, or plastic bags at the recycling center.

Please also note that our regularly scheduled curbside yard waste pickup will resume next week, beginning on May 4th. Please place your yard waste at the curb in paper bags or reusable receptacles labeled ‘Yard Waste’ on your usual trash day. There is a 10 bag limit per household.


We thank you for your cooperation. Please call the office at 781-665-0142, or email sflanagan@cityofmelrose with any questions or concerns.