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Recycling FAQ

Got a question? See below. If you still need more answers, contact us.

(Note: Many links on this page are external links and will redirect you to the City of Phoenix website.)

Recycling Basics

Recycling Containers

Benefits of Recycling

The Recycle Clean Phoenix Campaign

Recycling Basics

How can I recycle via curbside?

Homeowners that receive city garbage collection can participate in the citywide "Phoenix Recycles" curbside recycling program. Each home can have two storage containers - one black or green container for bagged and tied garbage and the other, a blue container, for recycling. To request additional containers, contact Solid Waste Customer Service at 602-262-7251.

Blue recycling containers are collected each week. If you are new to your home, please consult the literature delivered with your container for the correct day of collection for your home, or watch when your neighbors place their containers out or call Solid Waste Customer Service at 602-262-7251 to verify your service day. Containers may be placed at the curb for service after 6:00 PM on the day preceding collection, but must be out by 5:30 AM the day of collection to ensure service. Containers should be removed prior to 5:30 AM of the day after collection. Store containers between collection days on your property so as to not interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

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How can I recycle if I’m not a homeowner receiving city garbage collection?

Recycling drop-off sites are designed to provide a way to for those not serviced by the City of Phoenix. City of Phoenix residents may drop off commingled recyclable material at any of the blue roll-off bin locations listed below:

NameLocation
Hudson-Baylor West 1919 E. University Drive
North Gateway Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility 30205 N Black Canyon Highway
(Northbound Dixileta Exit off I-17)
27th Avenue Solid Waste Management Facility 3060 South 27th Avenue
(27th Avenue and Lower Buckeye Road)

Questions? Call 602-262-7251

What can I recycle via curbside?

You can recycle an awful lot and you don’t need to sort anything! Fill your container with more plastics than you can pronounce, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum…seriously, the list is as long as the traffic on I-10- at rush hour!

Residents can recycle a long list of items, all in one container. Items that CAN be recycled include:

Paper

  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Junk mail
  • Phone books
  • Cereal/tissue boxes
  • Milk cartons
  • Paperboard boxes
  • Frozen food boxes
  • Juice boxes
  • Shredded Paper (Must be in clear plastic bags so sorters can see what's inside)

Plastic

  • All hard plastic containers, including buckets, plastic jugs and bottles with or without caps

Metal

  • Aluminum cans
  • Metal cans
  • Small metal appliances
  • Empty aerosol cans (no hazardous waste, i.e. spray paint, oven cleaners, bug spray, etc.)

Glass

  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Food grade glass containers

Click here for a copy of a recycling magnet outlining the list of recyclables.

When is my curbside collection day?

Curbside recycling collection occurs every week. To verify your service day, please call Solid Waste Customer Service at 602-262-7251.

What happens when there is a holiday?

Occasionally, your designated collection day will fall on a City holiday. When this happens you will still receive curbside recycling collection, just on a different day. Check out the holiday schedule. Holidays that impact recycling collection include:

  • New Year's Day
  • Cesar Chavez Day
  • President's Day
  • Martin Luther King Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

What are some of the craziest things someone has tried to recycle?

Believe us, we’ve seen it all. While there is a looooong list of “yeps” in our recycling program, there are also some things you can NOT recycle. Like potato chip bags and foam and of course the off-the-wall stuff like dirty diapers, car windows and pesticides. You also can’t recycle plastic bags through the curbside recycling program nor can you put your recyclables into a plastic bag. When you bag, box or tie your recyclables, it actually wreaks havoc on the sorting system. However, all local grocery stores do offer plastic bag recycling on site.

Putting the wrong kinds of things in your blue recycling container hurts the recycling program’s efficiency and overall value. While we might wish more things were recyclable, some things just are not. Maybe there is no market to sell them. Or maybe the technology to process the materials just doesn’t exist yet. Or maybe they’ve just reached the end of their usefulness. When you’re not sure if something is recyclable or not, the bottom line is: when in doubt, please throw it out with your regular garbage or donate the item.

Here is a list of what cannot be recycled in your blue recycling container. If you’re not sure, either throw it out or call Solid Waste Customer Service at 602-262-7251.

Paper

  • Photographs
  • Hardback /paperback books
  • Original blueprints
  • Heat sensitive receipts

Plastic

  • Plastic bags (but you can recycle these at your local grocery store)
  • Do not bag, box or tie your recyclables

Metal

  • Paint
  • Pesticides
  • Oven Cleaners
  • Aerosol cans with paint, pesticides or oven cleaner

Glass

  • Window panes
  • Mirrors
  • Light bulbs
  • Windshields
  • Ceramics
  • Treated glass
  • Glass table tops
  • Televisions (for TV/electronic recycling contact Westech Recyclers at 602-256-7626)

Does it really matter if I toss a non-recyclable item in my blue container?

YES! When residents recycle items that really belong in the garbage, it puts an undue burden on the recycling process. In 2009, contamination in the recycling stream cost the City of Phoenix approximately $722,000. While Phoenix has a recycling program that allows residents to recycle a lot of things - and all without having to sort - there are some things that are not recyclable at the curb such as plastic grocery bags, paint and mirrors! Oh and those diapers….yea they aren’t recyclable either!

Recycling Containers

How do I get a recycling container?

Each home can have two containers - one green (or black) container for bagged and tied garbage and the other, a blue container, for recycling. To request additional containers, contact Solid Waste Customer Service at 602-262-7251.

If I am a new resident to the City of Phoenix, how can I get started recycling?

New residents should consult Solid Waste Customer Service at 602-262-7251 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit http://phoenix.gov/waterservices/customerservices/account/setup/ to obtain a free blue recycling container and determine their collection day.

How do I use the container?

It’s easy! Simply place all your recyclables into the container- no sorting or bundling required! Containers may be placed at the curb for service after 6:00 PM on the day preceding collection, but must be out by 5:30 AM the day of collection to ensure service. Containers should be removed prior to 5:30 AM of the day after collection.

Benefits of Recycling

How does recycling benefit Phoenix?

One person or family really can make a difference! By participating in Phoenix’s recycling program and recycling all the right material you are making a real impact on the community while helping to control solid waste fees, preserve the environment and create jobs.

Why should I recycle?

More than half of what we throw away can be recycled. Recycling helps conserve landfill space, preserve natural resources and control rising waste disposal costs. Environmental issues and “going green” have gotten a lot of attention in recent years. Everyone agrees that something must be done NOW to minimize the impact we are having on the environment. But what many may not know is that recycling is one of the easiest and cheapest ways for people to go green. Consider this:

  • The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates 66 percent of the materials we trash every day could be recycled. Nationally, only about25 percent is actually being recycled.

Aren’t there easier ways to help the environment?

There are a lot of different ways to help the environment, but recycling is widely available in Phoenix and is easy to do. It’s all about finding what works for you and what fits with your lifestyle. You could also walk or bike to work, use reusable shopping bags when going to the grocery store, or buy recycled-content products. But it takes someone putting recyclables into their container for those recycled-content products to get made!

What are some tips to make recycling easier?

Recycling isn’t complicated. It really just takes a simple adjustment in your daily habit. Just think before you throw, “Is this a ‘Yep’ or ‘Nope’ item?”

  • Put your recycling container next to your trash container, so you’ll be reminded to recycle every time you go to throw something away. Not sure what materials are recyclable?
  • Keep a smaller recycling container or bin in the kitchen pantry or by a trash container to make recycling convenient. Once the smaller bin is full, simply dump it into your larger recycling container. (Or, if you use a bag to collect your recyclables, just empty it into your container so all materials are loose, not bagged.) If you are unsure what is and isn’t recyclable, see above.
  • Set out recycling container in high-traffic areas at parties to encourage guests to recycle—and make your clean-up easier!
  • Keep a small grocery bag in your car to bring in recyclables such as cans and water bottles so they don’t get trashed (just remember to shake out the bags into your cart so that only loose recyclables are collected.)

What happens after my recyclables are collected at the curb?

When recyclables are picked up from your house they go to several processing facilities around the area. There they are sorted by material through the use of high technology processing equipment that has really evolved over the years. They are prepared for markets and shipped to various paper mills and plastic, glass or aluminum plants around the region. For a virtual tour of Phoenix’s most modern processing facility, visit http://phoenix.gov/PUBLICWORKS/pwdmedia.html

The Recycle Clean Phoenix Campaign

What is the Recycle Clean Phoenix campaign about?

Better recycling coming up! Keep Phoenix Beautiful and the City of Phoenix have teamed up to put out the “Recycle Clean Phoenix” campaign. The campaign is designed to help you navigate the “yeps” and “nopes” of curbside recycling and encourage you to recycle more. And even those folks who are already doing a stellar job (and there are a lot of you out there!) can always finesse their recycling skills a little.

What does Is/Isn’t mean?

An empty peanut butter jar IS recyclable in Phoenix, but a giant African elephant, who may enjoy the occasional peanut, ISN’T. Sound a bit unusual? Well, the new joint education campaign from Keep Phoenix Beautiful and the City of Phoenix has fun with these “is/isn’t” items while sending a serious message: that you can recycle more things than ever, so why not do it? And, when you learn more about what you can do, you’ll recycle better.

Who is involved in this campaign?

Keep Phoenix Beautiful and the City of Phoenix has been selected by the Curbside Value Partnership, a national invitation-only program designed to increase recycling, to participate in a strategic, city-wide recycling education campaign. This is a great example of a public-private partnership and it will maximize what can be done to support residents in their recycling endeavors.

How can I help?

You are probably already helping if you put your recycling container out at the curb on your designated collection day.

Other ways to help:

  • If you have an elderly or disabled neighbor, you can offer to help them roll their recycling container to the curb and back on collection day.
  • You can spread the word about recycling in Phoenix and the “Recycle Clean Phoenix” campaign to your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and professional or social organizations.
  • Sign up for Keep Phoenix Beautiful’s e-newsletter
  • Become a fan of Keep Phoenix Beautiful's Facebook page and ask your friends and family to become fans as well.
  • Be a conscientious consumer. Before you buy anything, consider whether it can be recycled or reused in some way down the road. Where possible look for things with less packaging.