Recycling FAQ

What Is Recycling?

When Are My Recycle Pick-up Days?

What Recyclable Materials are Accepted at Curbside Pick-up?

Why Are Plastic Bags No Longer Acceptable for Recyclables?

Are City Issued Recycle Bins Mandatory for Recycling?

What is the Process for Curbside Recycling?

Can I Recycle Styrofoam?

Where Can I Buy Recycling Bins?

How can I do a Recycling Facility Tour?

What Are Rigid Plastics and What Do I do With Them?

What Are Unacceptable Recycling Materials?

What Can I do With Old Clothes?

What Happens to My Household Hazardous Waste After I’ve Dropped it Off at the Containment Facility?

Can I Recycle Electronics?

What Do I Do With Scrap Metal?

Can I Recycle Used Smoke Detectors?

How Do I Dispose of Fire Extinguishers?

Can I Recycle Light Bulbs?

What do I do with Latex/Water Base Paint?

What do I do with Enamel/Oil-based Paint/Stain?

What do I do with Batteries?

What do I do with Used Motor Oil?

 

What Is Recycling?

Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. Collecting used bottles, cans, and newspapers and taking them to the curb or to a collection facility is just the first in a series of steps that generates a host of financial, environmental, and social returns. Some of these benefits affect us and our environment on a local and global level.

(back to top)

When Are My Recycle Pick-up Days?

To find your recycle and trash days, please click http://cityview.baltimorecity.gov/ or call 311.

(back to top)

What Recyclable Materials are Accepted at Curbside Pick-up?

Aerosol Cans (empty)

Aluminum: cans, beverage and food containers, foil (clean), and pie pans

Books: hardbound, paperback and text books

Bottles: narrow-neck bottles used for food liquids, soap, soda or water - (lightly clean if heavily soiled)

Cardboard and paperboard boxes corrugated boxes, egg containers, food boxes (including cereal boxes), frozen food packaging, mailing boxes, and oversized boxes

Cartons (waxed): used for a liquid such as juices, milk or soups

Glass containers such as bottles and jars (please rinse)

Juice Boxes (clean)

Mail: envelopes with plastic windows

Metal: beverage and food containers

Paper (all colors and types): catalogs, folders, junk mail, magazines, mixed paper, newsprint (all types), non-metallic wrapping paper, office papers, printer paper, school papers and shredded paper

Plastic: bottles and jars with symbols #1 through #7 (narrow neck and screw top – lightly clean if heavily soiled) -e.g., detergent/bleach bottles, juice bottles, milk jugs, soda bottles, water bottles. Containers with symbols #1 through #7 (wide-mouthed – lightly clean if heavily soiled) -e.g., cottage cheese, margarine, mayonnaise, sour cream and yogurt (caps and labels o.k.). Drinking cups and prescription bottles, including lids and caps.

Steel: beverage containers and food (scrap metal is not accepted for curbside Recycle Pick-up, but may be recycled at our

Tin: cans and clean foil

View our helpful flyer about acceptable and non-acceptable materials.

(back to top)

Why Are Plastic Bags No Longer Acceptable for Recyclables?

Plastic bags of any color, size, or shape will no longer be accepted. The City’s Recycling Processing Facility uses an automated system to sort and bale the recyclables. Plastic bags jam the automated machinery. All jurisdictions that have gone to a single stream recycling system which allows all mixed recyclables to be recycled together, no longer accept plastic bags.  Residents can take their plastic bags to some grocery stores. You are encouraged to ask for paper bags during shopping or opt for the cloth/mesh reusable bags. The first step in recycling is to reduce, so changing the type of bag used during shopping is a huge help to the environment.

(back to top)

Are City Issued Recycle Bins Mandatory for Recycling?

No – Citizens can put recycled materials in any container they like as long as it is marked RECYCLE and is not in a plastic bag. Such containers may include, trash cans, cardboard boxes, or plastic bins.

(back to top)

What is the Process for Curbside Recycling?

Set out recycling items by 6 a.m. for collection. Downtown residents have evening pickups; set out recycling by 10 a.m. You can find your Recycle and Trash days by clicking http://cityview.baltimorecity.gov and entering your address.

If your collection day falls on a holiday, please hold your recycling items until the make-up collection day which will be the following Saturday.

You do NOT need a city issued recycled bin to recycle.

(back to top)

Can I Recycle Styrofoam?

You can recycle Styrofoam. HOWEVER, Styrofoam products can ONLY be recycled at the Northwest Citizen’s Convenience Center located at 2840 Sisson St.

(back to top)

Where Can I Buy Recycling Bins?

The yellow promotional bins are available for sale at 111 Kane Street. The 25 gallon bin is $12 each and the 18 gallon bin is $5 each. Purchases can be made Monday through Friday, 8 am to 2pm. A limit of four bins may be purchased by each individual (Kane Street Location only). Residents can buy bins for their block with proof of residency. Citizens can also purchase bins at these locations. 

Canton Ace Hardware    

1022 Binney Street

Baltimore, MD 21224

410-327-0404

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm and Sat. 10am - 6pm

Federal Hill Ace Hardware

1214 Light Street 

Baltimore, MD 21230

410-244-5310 

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm and Sat. 10am – 6pm

Falkenhan’s Hardware

3401 Chestnut Avenue 

Baltimore, MD 21211

410-235-7771 

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am – 6pm and Sat 8am – 5pm

 

Waverly Ace Hardware

601 E. Homestead Street

Baltimore, MD 21218

443-627-8893

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm and Sat 10am – 6pm

(back to top)

How can I do a Recycling Facility Tour?

If you are interested in scheduling a tour at one of the Waste Management Recycle America Single Stream facilities, please see information under contact below. Groups of 10 are preferred, and all tourists must be prepared to put on goggles, safety vest, hats and ear phones.

Waste Management Recycle America (WMRA) 

7175 Kit Kat Road 

Elkridge, MD 21075 

(Must be at least 18 years of age to tour this facility) 

Contact: Dave Taylor (443) 755-9416 ext. 1003 

Waste Management Recycle America (WMRA)

1000 Ritchie Road 

Capital Heights, MD 20743 

(All ages are accepted – This site is more kid friendly) 

Contact: Michael Caplan (301) 499-1707 ext. 201 

  *Baltimore’s recycling material is processed at the 7175 Kit Kat Road facility.

If you are interested in touring a waste to energy facility please contact:

Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. 

Chris Leyen, Plant Manager

(410) 234-0808 ext 212

*Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. is a world leader in the safe and environmentally sound conversion of municipal solid waste - and other renewable waste fuels - into clean energy.

(back to top)

What Are Rigid Plastics and What Do I do With Them?

Please take rigid plastics to Citizen Drop-off Centers 1-5 only and place them in a container marked “Rigid Plastics”

Rigid Plastics Include: Milk and soda crates, buckets, laundry baskets, lawn furniture, totes, plastic drums, coolers, flower pots, water bottles, pallets, pet carriers, shelving, closet organizers, empty garbage/recycling bins

(back to top)

What Are Unacceptable Recycling Materials?

Some unacceptable recycling materials are:

Carry out or deli food containers

Cat litter

Chemicals

Cookware and plates (plastic)

Containers of toxic substances -e.g., bottles, cans motor oil, pesticides, etc.

Contaminated paper products -e.g., napkins, paper towels, waxed paper, paper plates and tissue

Contaminated plastic products -e.g., plates, utensils, cookware, to-go cartons

Dry cleaning bags

Food Waste

Furniture of any kind

Glass (window and mirror)

Paint and paint cans

Plastic bags including grocery and newspaper covers

Utensils (plastic)

Waxed paper

Styrofoam

(back to top)

What Can I do With Old Clothes?

If you have old clothing, please consider “reuse” by selling these yourself or donating usable clothing (without tears, holes, burns, etc.) to charity groups (Goodwill IndustriesSalvation Army, etc.). Damaged items, including fabric scraps, cannot be resold by these organizations. It takes valuable time and effort away from their good work to separate these from the usable items. If you have such damaged fabrics simply place them in with you regular trash and they will be incinerated at the waste-to-energy facility.

(back to top)

What Happens to My Household Hazardous Waste After I’ve Dropped it Off at the Containment Facility?

Corrosive liquids like ammonia or detergent are taken to a treatment facility where the chemicals are neutralized. Pesticides and poisons are incinerated. Oil-based paints and thinners are blended into fuel mixtures and later used as fuel. Motor oil is also reused as fuel. And batteries are returned to their pre-used condition at smelters. Check the DPW Events page for the next Household Hazardous Waste collection day.

(back to top)

Can I Recycle Electronics?

Baltimore City offers electronic recycling at several of our Citizen Drop-Off Centers. For locations and hours of operation and a list of acceptable materials, please click Citizen Drop-Off Centers.  Only Centers 1-5 accept electronic materials.

(back to top)

What Do I Do With Scrap Metal?

Scrap Metal can be recycled at all of Baltimore City’s Citizen Drop-Off Centers.

(back to top)

Can I Recycle Used Smoke Detectors?

We do not accept smoke detectors; however, smoke detectors can be sent back to their manufacturers.

(back to top)

How Do I Dispose of Fire Extinguishers?

We accept Fire Extinguishers on our Household Hazardous Waste collection days at the Northwest Citizen Convenience Center located at 2840 Sisson Street. Check the DPW Events page for the next Household Hazardous Waste collection day.

 

(back to top)

Can I Recycle Light Bulbs?

We strongly urge residents to recycle CFL bulbs at our Household Hazardous Waste events at the Northwest Citizen Convenience Center located at 2840 Sisson Street. Check the DPW Events page for the next Household Hazardous Waste collection day. All other lightbulbs can be disposed of with your regular trash.

 

(back to top)

What do I do with Latex/Water Based Paint?

Use completely, or give away to someone who can use it. Otherwise, air dry unwanted paint in the can and mix with kitty litter. Dispose of dried paint in the garbage. Alternatively, instead of latex/water based paints use whitewash for fences, barns, and outbuildings, and use new, low volatility paints.

(back to top)

What do I do with Enamel/Oil-based Paint/Stain?

Use up, or give to someone who can use it. Otherwise, store for a household hazardous waste drop-off event. Another alternative is to use latex- or water-based paint or new, low volatility paints. 

(back to top)

What do I do with Batteries?

The time in which we live and our everyday social habits require the use of many types of batteries. Many retail store outlets such as Home Depot, Lowes, Circuit City, Best Buy, Radio Shack, or cell phone retail stores have take-back programs for batteries. Preferably, at point-of-purchase, please inquire about the stores’ possible recycling options. Batteries can also be set aside and taken to a Household Hazardous Waste drop off event. 

(back to top)

What do I do with Used Motor Oil?

Baltimore City offers free drop off for used motor oil to Baltimore City residents Monday – Saturday at five Citizen Drop off locations. Please click Drop-Off Locations for addresses and times. 

(back to top)