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

By Hannah Deane | Jul 29, 2018
Photo by: Bill Whelan Recycling center head coordinator Marilyn Russell and the late John Dixon, who the center is now named after, stand in front of the book shed.

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.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 30, 2018 09:42

Wow, I knew this place was there, but I thought it was just for tin/plastic/paper type recycle.  Swap shops can be fun.  It was sad to see the one in Marion close down.  I'll have to check this one out.


I wonder if the same used good resellers (to describe them nicely) hang around this swap shop?  They used to be at Marion and would compete by going straight to vehicles as they pulled up.  Same faces there every time, same tactics.I found it stressful because they were like hyenas at a carcass.

Posted by: QueenBee | Jul 31, 2018 08:16

I never knew this center took almost anything and also had a swap shop either but if the hyena scenario exists there I will continue to just throw things in the trash.  I will certainly give it one try.  When I lived in another area we had to take our own trash to the dump weekly and they had a "dump store", as it was called, and the hyena scenario existed there too.  It was almost scary.  I know some of them make a living doing this but they were rude, beyond pushy and nasty.  I'm not going to deal with that again.

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