Recycle today for a better tomorrow!

Recycling provides raw materials to manufacturers and helps create green jobs, preserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption, and reduce GHGs. The accrued greenhouse gas reductions and energy savings from Philadelphia's curbside recycling efforts are equivalent to taking more than 60,000 cars off of our streets, and generating electricity for more than 40,000 homes for one year! Recycling helps make Philadelphia a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable city. It also helps the City’s bottom line through avoided disposal savings.

What can I throw into the recycling bin? Test your knowledge:


Paper (newspapers & inserts, magazines, brochures & catalogs, junk mail, envelopes, writing paper, scrap paper, paper bags, phone books, paperback books, greeting cards, gift wrap (non-metallic).

Cardboard flattened, free of grease & food & rinsed (corrugated cardboard shipping boxes, clean pizza boxes, paper towel rolls, egg cartons and dry food boxes).

Plastic emptied & rinsed-caps are Ok (all food & beverage containers, hard plastic takeout containers, plastic cold drink cups & lids, detergent & shampoo bottles, pump  & spray bottles, plastic pails, buckets, garden pots).

Metals emptied & rinsed (aluminum, steel & tin cans, empty paint cans, empty aerosol cans, metal trays & baking dishes, jar lids & bottle caps, clean aluminum foil)

Cartons emptied & rinsed (milk, juice, ice cream, wine, soups)

Glass emptied & rinsed-caps are Ok (all bottles & jars).


Plastic Bags, Expanded Polystyrene (i.e. foam cups, plates, packing peanuts),Shipping/Packing Material, Food Waste, Food-Soiled Paper, Waxed Paper Plates, Cups and Takeout Containers, Greasy Pizza Boxes, Tissues, Paper Towels and Napkins, Light Bulbs, Porcelain and Non-Container Glass, Cassette Tapes (VHS and audio), Garden Hoses, Needles and syringes, Electronics

For more information on what you can and cannot recycle, visit: or

Get Rewarded for Recycling! Philadelphians can also participate in the Recycling Rewards incentive program through Recyclebank. This program awards to participating households which can be converted to coupons at national and local retailers and restaurants. Recyclebank and the City regularly partner on high-visibility program outreach events including the Green Schools contest, recycling bin distribution events, newsletters, and school presentations to name a few. Learn more at: or

How can I get started?

The city will give you a recycling bin at any of their 21 locations.

You can also use your own container so long as it is no larger than 32 gallons and labeled for recycling.

Where can I bring my Techno Trash and E Waste? Old or broken electronic devices have harsh chemicals inside of them that need to be disposed of properly.

Old Batteries & Computers: You can bring your old batteries and Computers to several stores or sanitation centers around you to be recycled. Lowe’s, Best Buy, Staples, and Radio Shack are all drop off locations. Locate the sanitation centers near you:

Fluorescent light bulbs and tubes: You can bring your broken or dead cfls to any Home Depot or Lowe’s near you.


What do I do with my used motor oil & hazardous waste? Handling and disposing of hazardous waste material requires special regulations due to the potential damage they can cause to people, pets and the environment.

It is important to follow the hazardous waste disposal methods the City provides for the materials listed here:

Philadelphia residents can bring their hazardous waste to the Household Hazardous Waste Events listed in the link above.

What can I do with old plastic bags?  According to the Worldwatch Institute, Americans throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags every year. Help lower this by recycling plastic bags correctly. Plastic bags cannot be placed in the Recycling Bin, but you can recycle them and prevent them from going to waste. 

In Philadelphia, there are many grocery and drug stores where plastic bags can be recycled including: Acme, ShopRite, Rite Aid, Pathmark, Wawa, CVS Pharmacy and more!

What is organic waste, and what can I do with it? Start your own compost bin! Composting food scraps and other organic material is the best way to improve your soil and is a nutrient rich medium to grow plants.

Organic waste such as: Cardboard, paper, coffee grounds and filters, corn cobs, dryer lint, egg shells, fireplace ashes, flowers, fruits, vegetables, leaves, etc. can all be diverted from landfills and used to build the health of your soil.
o Find out what you CAN and CANNOT put in your compost bin.

Find the right composting method for your lifestyle and space.

Don’t have the space for a compost bin? Bennett Compost will pick it up for you.

Are you ready to get rid of some old junk? Donate your unwanted clothes, furniture and other household items to thrift stores or collection sites. Here is a list places to take or even SELL your unwanted items!

There are several collection bins that can be located in high traffic areas such as grocery store lots. Find one near you:
Some organizations will pick up your old clothes and household items from your house:
Drop them off at a thrift store:; ;
Connect with your community before you trash your stuff: is a website where everything is FREE!!