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SHIRLEY — The eighth annual Recycle Your Reusables event will be held Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ayer Shirley Middle School.

Residents in Ayer, Shirley and surrounding communities are encouraged to drop off recyclable materials that are not accepted by their town’s trash.

“It gives people the opportunity to drop off hard to recycle things like cell phones or tennis balls, anything you wouldn’t typically think of recycling,” said Laurie Sabol, Ayer Recycling Committee chair.

Items such as batteries, Brita filters and even Styrofoam are accepted.

“Dropping off Styrofoam is huge because there are very few places that recycle it,” Sabol said.

Last year, the event recycled 30 cubic yards of Styrofoam.

Nonperishable foods and money donations for Loaves and Fishes food pantry are collected at the event as well.

“We don’t require you to donate in order to actually drop things off but it is a suggestion,” Sabol said.

The recycling committee is looking for volunteers to help out.

“High school students are required to do community service hours and they can get hours if they participate,” Sabol said. “We would love to have any volunteers help out.”

Ayer is a member of MassToss, a group that provides assistance in all areas of solid waste handling. MassToss collaborates with the recycling committee to put on this annual collection.

“This is a wonderful recycle event and it is just an amazing, diverse opportunity for people to come recycle their unwanted items,” said Tessa David, director of MassToss, who lives in Townsend.

To encourage residents to recycle year-round, the Ayer committee has placed textile collection containers at the transfer station where unwanted textiles can be dropped off.

Worn and torn items are accepted and they do not have to be wearable.

“Every textile scrap can be used unless it has water or hazardous waste on it but there is really no reason why textile materials aren’t recycled,” David said.

All collected items are sorted and repurposed.

“They may be sent to other countries for clothing. If they are torn they may be broken down for oil rags,” David said.

The container has been there for several years but is not being utilized as much as David would like it to be.

“The problem is that the public isn’t aware of it and thinks it has to be wearable items but it does not have to be,” David said.

Residents are encouraged to reduce their household waste disposal cost by recycling. For example, throwing away a 50-gallon trash bag costs $3.50. However, if the bag is filled with recyclables, there is no charge.

“The town transfer station disposes of approximately 800 tons of solid waste per year and 370 tons of recycling,” said Mark Wetzel, superintendent of Ayer’s public works.

Many people are starting to reduce the amount of trash by composting any kind of food waste that may have previously gone into the trash, said David.

“Recycling is a lot less expensive than just throwing the items away and it’s really the right thing to do,” Sabol said.

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