The Ultimate Simple, Smart, Sustainable Handbook to Martha’s Vineyard


All six towns have the same rules for what can and can’t be recycled.


Rules: Empty, clean, wash; no caps or lids

  • Metal cans
  • Plastic containers (bottles, jars, jugs, and tubs)
  • Glass containers (bottles and jars; NO ceramics OR window panes)
  • Paper and paperboard, corrugated cardboard (empty and flatten, remove packing tape)
  • Includes office paper, junk mail, newspapers, magazines, paperboard boxes; NO shredded paper, pizza boxes, waxed boxes, or books with bindings) 


  • Recyclables in a garbage bag
  • Garbage 
  • Plastic bags or plastic wrap
  • Food or liquid
  • Styrofoam items or packaging materials
  • Clothing or linens
  • Tanglers (hoses, wires, chains, electronics)


Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, West Tisbury

Dual sorting system:

  • Cardboard and paper go together
  • Plastic containers, tin cans, aluminum cans and glass go together

Oak Bluffs and Tisbury (local drop off): 

Dual sorting system:

  • Cardboard, newspaper and paper go together
  • Everything else single stream 

Oak Bluffs Bruno’s Drop-off

Dual sorting system:

  • Separate cardboard
  • Everything else single stream

Bruno’s and ABC’s Pick-up Recycling Rules

Single bin, don’t need to separate materials

West Tisbury (local drop off) Recycling Shed (a.k.a. the ‘Dumptique’ ): 

  • Clothing, clean and usable
  • Shoes and boots
  • Books
  • Small household Items  — NO furniture or appliances
  • NO childrens’  toys or clothes

Not sure?

If you’re unsure about whether something is or is not recyclable, you can ask an attendant. If there isn’t anyone to ask, it’s better to throw it out. If recycling bins are contaminated with too many non-recyclable materials, the entire bin will be thrown out. 


Compost buckets are available for free at IGI’s offices in West Tisbury or at town transfer stations. To request a bucket, email [email protected] or call 508-687-9062.

Drop-off locations (currently free or for small fee)

  • Transfer stations in all towns
  • Chappy ferry dock 
  • IGI’s farm
  • Bonus! Bring eggshells and coffee grounds only to North Tabor Farm and Wise Owl Farm

The best way to reduce food waste is to shop and cook mindfully, repurpose foods that are not so fresh (smoothies! soup!), and reorganize your fridge so you are more aware of perishable items.


  • All meat and fish (including bones, lobster shells, and egg shells)
  • All dairy
  • Grains, nuts, seeds, flour products
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Tea bags (staples removed)
  • Coffee grounds and coffee filters
  • All flowers
  • Paper napkins and paper towels (unless they were used with toxic products that won’t break down under high heat)


  • Large amounts of oyster, clam, littleneck, mussel shells (Contact the M.V. Shellfish Group:
  • Fat/oil/grease (small amounts from leftover food is fine)
  • Plastic or trash of any kind 


Polly Hill Arboretum grounds volunteers

Starting in June, volunteers are welcome to work with staff at the 70-acre West Tisbury public garden on activities like planting, pruning, weeding, and mulching. Contact Ian Jochems for more information at [email protected]

Glean with Island Grown Initiative

Island Grown Initiative works to build a regenerative and equitable food system on Martha’s Vineyard. Volunteers can help IGI harvest fresh local produce for Islanders in need. No experience needed. Gleaning takes about two hours and volunteers may keep a share of the harvest for themselves. Sign up here

Great Pond Foundation

The Great Pond Foundation focuses on enhancing the health of the Edgartown Great Pond. Volunteers are encouraged to assist with their Ecosystem Monitoring Program and educational outreach events, aiding in water quality and biodiversity data collection, conducting surveys of pond species, helping staff with demonstrations of scientific concepts, and assisting with science communication. For updates on volunteer opportunities, email [email protected]

Community Greenhouse of Martha’s Vineyard

People come to the Community Greenhouse of MV in Oak Bluffs to gather and grow food and plants and learn together. There are a range of year-round volunteer opportunities for all mobilities and levels of expertise. Volunteers can work inside and outside to help with weeding, pruning, seeding, planting, and beautifying plants; members can also pick fresh produce. Find updated information here.


Got something to say about pending legislation? Call your elected officials:


  •  Governor Maura Healey: 617-725-4005; Twitter: @MassGovernor 
  •  State Senator Julian Andre Cyr: 617-722-1570; [email protected]; Twitter: @JulianCyr; 
  •  State Representative Dylan A. Fernandes: 617-722-2013; [email protected]; Twitter: @RepDylan 


  •  Senator Ed Markey: 617-565-8519; Tw: @EdMarkeySenator 
  •  Elizabeth Warren: 617-565-3170; Tw: @SenWarren
  •  Representative William R. Keating: 508-771-6868; Tw: USRepKeating


Chicken Alley Thrift Shop:

38 Lagoon Pond Rd, Vineyard Haven;

Second Treasures MV

8 Uncas Ave., Oak Bluffs;

The ‘Dumptique’ 

West Tisbury Transfer Station, Old Stage Rd.


Combat food insecurity and food waste by ensuring that any unwanted non-perishable food is donated rather than tossed. Visit their sites or call for details and hours.

Island Food Pantry

See IGI’s wishlist of items or drop off at 137 Vineyard Ave., Oak Bluffs.

Good Shepherd Parish Food Pantry

55 School St, Oak Bluffs.

Edgartown Council on Aging Food Pantry

10 Daggett Ave, Edgartown.


MV Community Seed Library

A collaborative project of the West Tisbury Library, Island Grown Schools, Polly Hill Arboretum, Whippoorwill Farm, and local home gardeners, the Seed Library brings the knowledge of how to save seeds back to our island community while creating a central space where seeds can be freely shared. For more info on events, follow the @mvseedlibrary Facebook page.

Library of Things

Why buy new when you can borrow? At The West Tisbury Library, patrons can check out games, activities, audiovisual equipment, musical instruments, tools, and much more. See the full list of items here.

Electric Vehicle Charging

Wondering where you can charge your EV? The Martha’s Vineyard Times has a comprehensive list of electric vehicle charging stations on Martha’s Vineyard. Locations include the Aquinnah Circle and Town Hall, Vineyard Haven and West Tisbury Cronig’s, the West Tisbury Town Hall, Library, and Highway Department, the Oak Bluffs Library, the Edgartown VTA Yard and Park and Ride, and the Harbor View Hotel.

Medication Disposal

Outdated, unneeded medication is dangerous, and disposing of it down your drain or toilet impacts the environment. Instead take yours to MV Hospital’s Drop-off box (located in the Annex lobby), in the drop-off boxes at police stations in West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and Edgartown, or at Leslie’s Pharmacy or Vineyard Scripts.

Want to see something else included? Email us.

Bluedot Living
Bluedot Living
Bluedot Living Magazine is a sustainable living magazine and website with locations throughout North America.

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