The recycling program is tasked with providing recycling collection to eligible single-family homes; encouraging recycling at home, school, and work; as well as providing education about recycling and setting up recycling collection programs.

Page updated on Aug 1, 2018 at 1:53 PM

Recycling is an everyday way to fight climate change. Recycling saves natural resources, energy and money. In 2014, Alexandria recycled:

  • Over 16,300 tons of mixed paper and cardboard, saving over 275,000 trees. 
  • Approximately 1,400 tons of aluminum cans, saving the energy equivalent of 3,290,000 gallons of gasoline! 

What's New:

Update:  Glass collected for recycling is being sent to local landfills

Glass food and beverage containers collected in Alexandria’s recycling programs are currently not actually being recycled.  City staff is requesting that residents continue to place glass food and beverage containers in their recycling bins because there is an economic advantage for the City and its residents to do so.  However, glass containers collected for recycling are not being recycled for technical reasons. 

Until this gets straightened out, residents may want to consider, at least temporarily, buying food and beverages in  non-glass containers whenever possible. Staff believes that none of the glass collected in Northern Virginia is being recycling back into glass regardless of the collection point. To learn more about why Alexandria is unable to recycle glass click here. To learn about the City's strategic plan to reduce waste and improve recycling programs visit 

Change in Acceptable Recyclable Materials

No Plastic Bags

Alexandria's recycling processor no longer accepts plastic bags or film of any type in our residential recycling collections.   While these plastics are perfectly recyclable, they get caught in the sorting machinery creating maintenance shut downs .  Therefore, please return plastic bags to local grocery stores for recycling.  Visit our Recycling at Home page for information on how and where to recycle plastic bags and films.

Covanta promotes energy efficiency with donation of Electric Car fueled by Alexandria Energy from Waste Facility.

Covanta Logo The City of Alexandria's Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) in partnership with Covanta Energy are working on several initiatives to promote the environmental benefits of using Alexandria/Arlington waste as fuel for the generation of electricity. As such, Covanta is donating a Nissan Leaf for four years; this fully electric car runs solely on a rechargeable battery, has no supplementary gas engine, and gets approximately 106 miles per gallon. The City's Recycling Team will use this car to perform route inspections and work with businesses as they promote recycling. Due to the City's density, electric cars with zero emissions and limited range are ideal in Alexandria.

The Covanta 'Energy from Waste' facility, located at 5103 Eisenhower Avenue generates enough electricity to power over 25,000 homes each year. As part of the City's Eco-City Alexandria initiative, residents are continually encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle throughout the year. In 2016, the City reached its highest recycling rate to date, at a record 49%. After materials such as paper, cardboard, and metals have been removed from the waste stream through the recycling efforts of residents, the remaining garbage is used as fuel, rather than buried in a landfill. Energy from Waste facilities generate fewer harmful greenhouse gases, and the Alexandria/Arlington Energy from Waste plant has one of the most advanced emission control systems in the country. Alexandria and Arlington County have agreed to permit Covanta to operate the Eisenhower facility until 2025. 

City of Alexandria Achieves 49% Recycling Rate

The City of Alexandria has achieved its highest recycling rate ever!  The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved the City's 2016 Recycling Rate Report that documents a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 48.6 percent.  This is a small increase over last year's reported 48.6 percent recycling rate, and 20 percentage points higher than the City's 2009 recycling rate as certified by the Virginia DEQ.  The City's recycling rate has been continuously improving over the past several years due in part to a significant reduction in the overall waste generated combined with improvements to the City's recycling services which include larger carts for single stream recycling and the addition of alley recycling pickup services.  This improved recycling rate puts us another step closer to achieving the City's long-term Eco-City Alexandria goals while saving the City a considerable amount of money in avoided waste disposal costs. 

Sign Up for Solid Waste & Recycling eNews - Would you like to receive more information about recycling and solid waste programs? Need a quick reminder when service will be delayed due to a holiday? With the City of Alexandria's free eNews service, you receive updates about recycling and solid waste, in addition to more than 80 additional topics that may interest you.


Information for renters and home owners about what, when, where, why and how to recycle at apartments, condos, home owner associations, and single family homes.


Information for property managers, tenants and employees about recycling requirements and what, when, where, why and how to recycle at non-residential buildings.

  On the Go   

Information about recycling at public buildings and special events in the City of Alexandria.