Wareham's recycling center a place where trash, treasure mingle

Jul 29, 2018

Every year, the John B. Dixon Recycling Center in Wareham processes about 90 tons of material – everything from Wii gaming systems to full china tea sets – which otherwise would end up in a landfill.

Tucked away just off Maple Springs Road, just before the Route 25 on-ramp, the center has seen its fair share of struggles, including a loss of town funds that nearly shut it down in 2014. But thanks to a Town Meeting vote this spring, the center will be funded for the next five years.

“After over ten years of work, mostly by volunteers, especially the late Jack Dixon, the center has turned into a first class recycling drop-off center,” said Marilyn Russell, head coordinator. In fact, Dixon’s efforts were so instrumental, the center was named in his honor last year.

With summer in full swing, Russell said the center is seeing its usual spike in visitors, who are looking to either lighten their load or find treasures in the center’s swap or book sheds.

The swap shed is a place where residents can bring items that they no longer need or want in the hope that someone else will be able to use them. In the book shed, residents donate to the center merely by bringing books in, but they can also take books to bring home. Items range from children’s books to novels and they’re free. The center does accept donations in exchange for books and items from the swap shed. Any donation is helpful and used to keep the center running and fully operational, said Russell.

Unlike some centers, Wareham accepts latex paint from May through October, tires and mercury bulbs. This service attracts people from many neighboring towns. On Saturdays, 80 to 120 cars will pass through the parking lot. All of the materials are picked up by ABC Disposal Service, Inc. and taken to various recycling plants within Massachusetts.

The center is run solely by volunteers. The volunteers who regularly help at the center include but are not limited to, John Antonino, Charlene Price, Jennifer Gady, Peter Metcalf, Ann Marie Brooks and Earl Russell. The center also has had volunteers from The Boy Scouts of America, Wareham Public High School’s National Honors Society and the school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

The center also accepts car batteries, washers, dryers, TVs, empty propane tanks, printers, computers and much more all for a small fee (price varies depending on the item). There is no sticker required to use the center, which is open from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, call 508-291-6520.