Recycling at Home

The City provides recycling collection to approximately 19,000 single family homes. These customers pay for recycling collection, as well as, recycling bins through a Solid Waste User fee paid on each tax assessment bill.

Page updated on Sep 2, 2020 at 11:55 AM

Bates Truck 2011 -1An Everyday Way to Help Fight Global Climate Change!

City Residential Recycling Collection
The City provides "single stream" recycling collection services through a contract with Bates Trucking to approximately 20,000 single family homes.

What's New

  • Glass Drop-Off BinNow Live - Alexandria's Glass Recovery Program
    The City is pleased to launch glass drop-off centers across Alexandria to provide an option to recover and recycle glass. This service is one of the first short-term action items to be implemented as part of the City’s  Environmental Action Plan and  WasteSmart Strategic Plan, a roadmap that will guide the city’s refuse, recycling and organics collection for the next 20 years. For more information including drop-off locations and what items are accepted and not accepted, please visit the  Glass Recycling web page.
  • Latex Paint Recycling
    Cans of latex paint that are mostly full and recently purchased can be dropped off at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 3224 Colvin St. The paint is distributed by a Habitat for Humanity store for use in Virginia. For more information about disposing of unwanted paint, please visit our  Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Center web page.
  • 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 refuse service will be delayed due to a holiday? With the City of Alexandria's Free eNews service you can receive updates about recycling and solid waste plus over 80 additional topics that interest you.

Recycling Carts - New 3

Recycling Container System

The Resource Recovery Division now uses a variable size recycling container system for its residential recycling program.  The wheeled and lidded carts provide more capacity and make it easier for residents to transport their recycling to the curb or alley for collection. For more information about the Residential Recycling Program, please review the  Frequently Asked Questions Flyer.  

Top 10 Things to Know about the New Recycling Carts 

Recycling Container Sizes 
   18-gal Bin
35-gallon Cart
65-gallon Cart


Request a Recycling Container Exchange

Is your new recycling container too small or too large?  The Resource Recovery Division is accepting requests for recycling container exchanges. 

Request a new and/or replacement bin for a damaged or missing recycling bin onlineIf you need further assistance, call 311 or 703.746.4311.   

  • Your recycling container exchange will usually occur on your recycling collection day.
  • Please ensure that your current recycling container is accessible to the crews on your recycling collection day. 

**Note:  ONLY City Trash and Recycling Customers (those who pay the Refuse Fee) are eligible for the City issued recycling containers.  To determine if you are eligible visit:, then click on search properties and enter your address, then click on tax history.  You should be able to see a Refuse Fee assessed for each tax year.    


General Recycling Collection Information

The City of Alexandria provides recycling containers to all residents and collects recycling once a week on a designated collection day, Monday through Thursday. 

Note: The recycling container is property of the City of Alexandria and assigned to each property.  Please do not relocate the recycling containers or remove them from their assigned property. 

Recycling Program Funding 

Recycling collection and recycling bins are paid for through the Solid Waste User Fee that each customer is assessed on their  bi-yearly tax assessment bill.  These fees may be found online on the  City's Fee Compendium Page. 

Schedule of Collection 

Trash and recycling are collected once weekly, Monday through Thursday.  Please refer to the  Refuse Map to determine your collection day.

Recycling Set Out Time  

Set out refuse and recycling containers no earlier than 5 p.m. the day prior to collection, and no later than 6 a.m. on collection day:

  • Holiday "Slide" - If a City recognized holiday is observed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, refuse and recycling collection 'slides' to one day later that week (except for Thanksgiving when refuse and recycling crews provide a Thursday collection on schedule). Click here for the Holiday Collection Calendar. 
  • Inclement Weather - If there is a delay for inclement weather, residents will be notified through the City Website and  eNews.

Recycling Set Out Placement 

  • All residents should be setting their recycling containers (both carts and bins) in the same location where they receive trash service. 
  • Please ensure that your trash and recycling containers do not block sidewalks, driveways, etc.

Plastic Garbage bags - Plastic garbage bags should not be used to collect recyclables or placed in Alexandria's residential recycling program.

  • Plastic bags become tangled in the recycling processing machines causing damage and higher costs to recycling.
  • Non-clear plastic bags also obscure the bags contents making them unacceptable for collection.  Such bags will be treated as trash.

Walk-Out Services 

For elderly and physically-challenged residents, collection crews will remove trash and recycling from containers at the door.  Residents can request this service by mailing a completed Backdoor Request Form to:

Resource Recovery Division
RE: Walk-Out Service Request
2900B Business Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22314

If you have further questions, please call: . 


Acceptable Materials

The City's Residential Recycling Program Accepts:

  • Mixed Paper -  White / Color paper, office paper, newspaper, junk mail, magazines, phone books, paperback books, paper board boxes including cereal / tissue / cracker boxes, etc. 
         Note:  Please remove the newspaper from any plastic bags before recycling.  
  • Cardboard  - Clean, unwaxed cardboard may be recycled in your cart along with all other acceptable recyclables.  Larger cardboard boxes should be broken down to fit inside the cart or set beside the cart for recycling collection.  Please remove any Styrofoam, plastic packaging or other contents! 
    • Clean and empty pizza boxes are acceptable. Remember to remove any sauce cups, waxy paper, and food waste. 
    • Any cardboard boxes containing trash will be collected along with the regular trash collection and not recycled.
  • Gable Top Cartons and Juice containers -  Refrigerated Milk and Juice cartons  
  • Plastic Bottles, Jugs, Jars, Tubs, Pails, and Buckets
    • Lids are acceptable for all plastic, glass and metal containers. Simply leave them on the container after emptying containers when recycling.
    • Remember - the number on the bottom alone does not necessarily determine its recyclability.   
  • Metal Food & Beverage Containers Only -  Learn how to recycle your small metal items below. 

View the City's "Yes/No List" for information on what is recyclable in the residential recycling collection program. 

Recycling Yes/No List 2014 smallThe markets for recycled materials are constantly changing.  As these markets change so does the recyclability of various commodities.  Please review our Residential Yes/No List for changes to the currently acceptable recycled materials.  


Unacceptable Materials

  • Plastic Bags, Wrap, & Film -  Disposable plastic shopping bags and other plastic films are best recycled in dedicated collection points such as grocery and department stores.
    • Please do not put recyclables in plastic bags. 
    • Place your recyclables loosely in your City recycling bin or cart.  This helps with the sorting of recyclables at our local processing facility.
  • Non-food & beverage metal containers (i.e. metal blinds, pots & pans, etc.) These items can be recycled at the  Covanta facility located on Eisenhower Ave..
  • Wire clothes-hangers -  Wire hangers are "springy" and can pose an eye hazard to workers as well as damage sorting machines at the MRF
    • Return hangers to your favorite dry cleaners for reuse or recycle them at the Covanta metals recycling  box noted above.
  • Glass Bottles & Jars  
    • Note:  Effective January 15, 2020, glass is no longer accepted in the curbside blue recycling bin. Glass can be recycled through the City's new glass purple bin program. Learn more about  glass recycling and drop-off locations.  
  • Coated Paper (paper cups, political signs, wax cooking paper, waxed cardboard, plastic-coated paper)
  • Ceramic Cups and Glasses, Window Glass, Pyrex
  • Styrofoam and Packing Peanuts  
  • Tanglers - (Garden hoses, cables, chains)
  • Clothes, linens, and other textiles - (please donate these materials)
  • Plastic cups, trays and containers:  While all plastics are potentially recyclable, the market dictates which types of plastics are currently acceptable.  Plastic items that are typically non-recyclable include:
    • Clam shell
    • Plastic fruit or salad containers
    • Styrofoam cups and trays
  • Small / large propane tanks (i.e. camping stove propane tanks). 
  • Helium Tanks  
  • Other Hazardous Waste and Electronic Waste: Please visit the City's permanent Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Center 


Materials Preparation

Simple Recycling Guidelines 

  • Remove newspapers from plastic bags before recycling.
  • Empty and rinse all beverage and food containers.
  • Place all recycled materials loosely into your recycling cart or bin.  Do not bag your recycling inside your cart or bin.
  • Empty and place small cardboard boxes into your recycling container.  Larger cardboard boxes may be flattened and placed next to recycling container for weekly collection.
  • Clearly set your recycling apart from your trash to avoid confusion at collection

Not enough space in your recycling container? 

  • Do not use plastic garbage or grocery bags to hold recyclable materials.
    • Paper grocery bags or cardboard boxes may be used to hold temporary overflows of recycling for weekly collection.
    • Use your old yellow recycling bin for overflow days. 
  • Request a larger recycling container.  The City has 18 gallon bins as well as 35 and 65 gallon carts available. 
  • Use the  Recycling Drop-off Centers for large volumes of recycled materials.


Frequently Asked Questions

For a brief history of the city's recycling program,  click here. 

Please review the  Frequently Asked Questions page for the answers to many of your questions.   If you can't find the answer to your question on this page, please contact the Resource Recovery Division at 703-746-4410 for more information.