What Can You Recycle?

What to Recycle
The District recycles:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Aluminum foil and aluminum pie pans
  • Aluminum food and beverage containers
  • Books (including paperbacks, textbooks and hardbacks)
  • Brown paper bags (Kraft)
  • Cardboard and paperboard boxes (including cereal boxes without liners)
  • Computer printouts
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes
  • Ferrous and bimetal food and beverage containers
  • Glass containers such as jars and bottles
  • Junk mail
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Narrow-neck plastic containers (other than for motor oil) that carry plastic resin identification codes 1 through 7
  • Newspapers (including all inserts)
  • Non-metallic wrapping paper
  • Office paper (including typing, fax, copy, letterhead, and NCR) and envelopes
  • Plastic bags, e.g., grocery bags, newspaper bags, and shopping bags. Please put your plastic bags into one plastic bag then place it in your recycling container. We will accept more than one bag of plastic bags.
  • Rigid plastics including plastic milk/soda crates, plastic buckets with metal handles, plastic laundry baskets, plastic lawn furniture, plastic totes, plastic drums, plastic coolers, plastic flower pots, plastic drinking cups/glasses, plastic 5-gallon water bottles, plastic pallets, plastic toys, and empty plastic garbage/recycling bins
  • Telephone books
  • Wide-mouth containers such as peanut butter, margarine/butter tubs, yogurt, cottage, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, whipped topping, and prescription (remove the identification label) and over-the-counter medicine bottles. (note that the lids and caps do not need to be removed.) Please do not include Styrofoam meat trays, lunch “clamshells” or foam packaging, such as “peanuts.”

How to dispose of prescription drugs*

  • Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers
  • Mix the prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, like used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, further ensuring that the drugs are not diverted or accidentally ingested by children or pets
  • Throw these containers in the trash or recycling cart
  • Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the accompanying patient information specifically instructs it is safe to do so
  • Return unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs to pharmaceutical take-back locations that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for safe disposal

*Based on recommendations of the FDA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

How You Can Help

  • Reduce: Buy only what you need and use all that you buy.
  • Reuse: Many items, such as clothing and books can be enjoyed by others when you no longer need or want them.
  • Recycle: Loosely place all newspaper, cardboard and other paper items as well as rinsed out food and beverage recyclables, into your city-provided, residential recycling cart or bin (no separating necessary).
  • Prevent identify theft. Use your shredder to shred all personal documents and remove labels containing personal information including your name, address, Social Security number and account information. Put the shredded material in a paper bag or envelope and close it before putting the bag(s) into the recycling container.
  • Residents also can have their personal documents shredded for free using DPW’s monthly Household Hazardous Waste/E-cycling/Document Shredding service, available the first Saturday of the month, except holidays at the Ft. Totten Transfer Station, 4900 John F. McCormack Rd., NE. Directions to Ft. Totten: Travel east on Irving Street, NW, turn left on Michigan Avenue, turn left on John F. McCormack Road, NE and continue to the end of the street.
  • To ensure your trash and recycling are collected, place trash and recycling containers out for collection no earlier than 6:30 pm the night before collection and no later than 6 am on your collection day. Residents are required to remove trash and recycling containers from public space by 8 pm on your collection day.
  • Do not put recyclables into plastic bags. Overflow may be placed into brown paper grocery bags and set next to your recycling container(s). If you need an additional recycling container, call the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311.
  • If you think a commercial establishment is not recycling, call the Recycling Hotline at (202) 645-8245.