Recycle Together RI

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Why can/can’t something be recycled in RI?

Rhode Island was the first state in the nation to pass mandatory recycling legislation back in 1986.  Our recycling program continues to be on par with great programs across the country, but (as with many things!) is still uniquely RI in nature.  Local opportunities and challenges truly shape the make-up of our program, as they do for any recycling program.  We hope that a better understanding of these opportunities and challenges can help RI residents put our program in perspective. 

Theoretically, almost everything can be transformed into something else.  So can any given product be recycled somewhere in the world now or somehow in the future?  Probably. However there are some other questions we must ask before we determine if something is eligible to be recycled here in RI:

  1. Is there anyone willing to buy this material (i.e. is someone out there transforming this material into something else)? 
  2. If so, can we collect the volume that they require on the schedule they need?
  3. Does our current plant support the type of processing that would produce the quality of the material they need?
  4. After the costs of collecting, hauling and processing are we getting enough back to break even?

For items not accepted in the RI recycling program, the answer to one of more or these questions is currently no; however RIRRC has completed some major changes to our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) that now change how we answer these for more materials.  Visit to learn more.