Sustainable Portland MainePortland (pop. 66,214) is recognized as the economic and urban hub of Maine, but just as importantly, it is the state’s recycling leader as well. A recently implemented single-stream recycling program is touted as being “so easy even a bear can do it!” The program, still in its infancy, is counting on Mainers to recycle at a high rate by simply dropping all recyclables into the standard curbside bin. The blue bins can be purchased for $7 each at the Department of Public Works or the Riverside Recycling Facility. The City of Portland collects all recyclables and brings them to ecomaine, where they are sorted and sold for reuse in different products.

Materials recycled

  • Paper, including newspaper, magazines, mail, greeting cards, flyers, brochures, envelopes, manila folders, postcards, paper bags and more
  • Paperboard, including clean food packaging with liners removed, paper towel tubes, writing pad backs and medicine and toiletry boxes
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Glass, including glass bottles and jars (clear and colored); no Pyrex containers
  • Aluminum and other metals, including aluminum cans, metal food and beverage containers, aluminum foil and aerosol cans (no lids)
  • Plastics #1 through #7 (absolutely no Styrofoam products; no bags)


Recyclables are picked up with trash on the regularly scheduled trash pick-up route. Trash pick-up occurs throughout Portland every weekday depending on location. The city offers a pick-up route listing, alphabetical by street name, here. Bins must be placed curbside no later than 6:30 a.m. day of pick-up.

Other programs

Maine hosts a household hazardous waste drop-off event at Riverside Recycling Facility on the first Saturday of each month, April through November, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. All Maine residents are welcome to drop in. The facility allows up to 10 pounds of HHW to be dropped off for free (a maximum of two visits per year). Otherwise, it is $6.50 per gallon of liquid waste and $3.50 per pound of solid waste. A great number of items are accepted, including pesticides, herbicides, household cleaners, solvents, pool chemicals, bug spray, oil- and enamel-based paints, glues and adhesives, paint thinners, motor oil, A/C refrigerants, antifreeze, driveway sealer, kerosene, diesel fuel and many more.

More information

Visit the City of Portland Public Services Department website for more recycling program info. For information on the HHW drop-off program, see here. The city has also established a recycling hotline to answer any recycling-related questions at 207.756.8189.