DC recyclingThe nation’s capital (pop. 632,323) is always on the front page of the newspaper and the top of the news broadcast, so it’s only fitting that “The District” has a topnotch recycling program for other U.S. cities to model after. Washington’s residential recycling collection offers curbside pickup of an extensive selection of recyclables, including many hard-to-recycle items that other cities simply cannot pick up. Washington’s Department of Public Works offers free single-stream residential recycling pickup in 32-gallon cans for all single-family dwellings in the district, as well as small residential buildings with up to three units.

Materials recycled

Paper Including books (paperbacks, textbooks and hardbacks), brown paper bags (Kraft), cardboard and paperboard boxes (including cereal boxes without liners), computer printouts, corrugated cardboard boxes, junk mail, magazines and catalogs, milk and juice cartons, newspapers (all inserts accepted), nonmetallic wrapping paper, office paper (including typing, fax, copy, letterhead and NCR) and envelopes. Plastics Including narrow-neck plastic containers (other than those used for motor oil) that carry plastic resin identification codes 1 through 7, plastic bags (placed into one plastic bag then placed in your recycling container; more than one bag full of bags OK),  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, empty plastic garbage and recycling bins, wide-mouth containers (label removed) and over-the-counter medicine bottles. (lids and caps OK). No Styrofoam accepted. Metals Including aerosol cans, aluminum foil and aluminum pie pans, aluminum food and beverage containers, ferrous and bimetal food and beverage containers. Glass Glass containers such as jars and bottles


Curbside pick-up occurs on a weekly basis, day of the week depending on location (an address look-up is available online.)

Other programs

The district offers household hazardous waste, e-waste and shredded document drop-off at the Fort Trodden Transfer Station (4900 John F. McCormack Rd. NE). Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first Saturday of the month and 1 to 5 p.m. on the first Thursday preceding the first Saturday of the month. Household hazardous waste items accepted: acids, aerosols, antifreeze, asbestos tile, batteries, cleaning chemicals, drain openers, fluorescent light bulbs, furniture stripper, stains, varnish, fertilizer, lighter fluid, mercury thermometers and mercury-containing devices, moth balls, motor oil, paint, pesticides and poisons, roofing tar, solvents/thinners, transmission fluids, windshield wiper and brake fluids and wood preservatives. Electronics that are recyclable at Fort Trodden include: audio/visual equipment, audio cassettes, camcorders, CD-ROM drives, CDs and DVDs, cell phones, computers and monitors, connectors/cords/wires, copy machines, fax machines, floppy drives and hard drives, memory chips, network cards, video cards, sound cards, pagers, power supplies, printers, scrap computer plastic, scrap computer metal, tape drives, TVs, VCRs, VCR tapes and video games and software.

More information

Visit the District of Columbia Department of Public Works website for more recycling program info.