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Residential Recycling Collection Information

In the County’s single stream recycling program, all recyclables may be mixed together in the same container for collection. Residents of single-family homes may find their collection schedule online and view our set-out guide to learn how to place recyclables out for collection. Residents of apartments and condominiums should check with their property manager for details on how recycling collection works in their specific community. All County residents may also take their single stream recyclables to one of our three drop-off facilities.

Plastic bags of any type must not be used to set out recyclables for collection—the bags jam machinery at the single stream sorting facility. Many local grocery stores will accept clean, dry plastic bags for recycling. You can help the environment even more by using reusable bags when shopping, which will eliminate or reduce your need for plastic bags.

Empty food containers only need a light rinse before recycling; caps, labels, lids and rings can stay on.

Acceptable Materials for Recycling

Non-Acceptable Materials

Image of paper items accepted for recycling.

Acceptable Paper and Cardboard

  • Newspapers and magazines (including all inserts)
  • Phone books, catalogs and other mail
  • Envelopes (plastic windows are okay)
  • Books (including paperbacks, textbooks and hardbacks)
  • Writing, computer, fax and letterhead paper
  • Copy paper (including NCR—No Carbon Required—copy paper)
  • Card stock
  • Paperboard (such as cereal, frozen food and shoe boxes)
  • Cardboard (flattened)
  • Milk and juice cartons and boxes
  • Ice cream containers
  • Paper bags     
Image of metal and glass items accepted for recycling.

Acceptable Metal and Glass

  • Aluminum and steel food and beverage cans
  • Empty aerosol cans (except pesticide and spray paint cans)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum pie pans
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colors)
Image of plastic items accepted for recycling.

Acceptable Plastics

  • All plastic bottles and jugs
  • Wide-mouth plastic containers (such as butter, cottage cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream and whipped topping containers)
  • Rigid plastics (such as buckets, drinking cups, coolers, drums, five-gallon water bottles, flower pots, lawn furniture, pallets, plastic window well covers and clothes hangers; pieces must not exceed 3 by 5 feet in size)

Note: The number on the bottom of a plastic container does not determine whether that item is recyclable. These numbers simply show what type of resin has been used to make a product, and were not intended as a recycling guide. Follow the listing above to learn what items are acceptable for recycling in Baltimore County.

Note: Laundry baskets, garbage containers and recycling containers will be collected for recycling IF a note requesting this is prominently attached.

 Image of paper items not accepted for recycling.

Non-Acceptable Paper and Cardboard

  • Paper or cardboard covered by wax, plastic or food (the portion of a pizza box not covered with grease or food is accepted for recycling)
  • Facial tissues, napkins and paper towels
  • Gift wrap
  • Photo paper
  • Shredded paper

Note: Milk and juice cartons are not covered with wax or plastic; different manufacturers have different techniques for achieving the polished look on the exterior.

Image of metal and glass items not accepted for recycling.

Non-Acceptable Metal and Glass

  • Propane cylinders
  • Pots and pans
  • Scrap metal
  • Dishes and cookware
  • Ceramics
  • Drinking glasses
  • Window glass
  • Light bulbs
  • Mirrors
  • Crystal
Image of plastic items not accepted for recycling.

Non-Acceptable Plastics

  • Plastic bags
  • Styrofoam™ (including bowls, cups, plates, to-go containers and foam packing material of any kind)
  • "Clam shells" (such as salad bar, berry and bakery containers, as well as clear packaging for toys and batteries)
  • CD jewel cases
  • Motor oil, antifreeze and transmission fluid containers
  • VHS tapes
  • Plastic electronics
  • Candy bar and food wrappers
  • Plastic cutlery (forks, knives and spoons)
  • Plastic straws
  • Beverage can plastic ring holders
  • Bubble wrap
Revised September 10, 2020         
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