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Frequently Asked Questions about Recycling

  • 1. What is Recycle More Recycle Right?
  • Recycle More is a request for County residents to recycle everything our programs allows, both at the curb and at County Recycling Centers. To Recycle Right, it is necessary that residents understand what items can be recycled through our programs and that they properly follow the guidelines for curbside collection and utilization of County Recycling CentersClick here for information on how to Recycle More Recycle Right.
  • 2. What is Anne Arundel County's recycling rate?
    Currently we are recycling about 37% of everything that is generated in the home. Our goal is to reach a 50% recycling rate. To see how your area is doing click here.
  • 3. How do I get a recycling container?  Do I have to use the County's recycling container?  What should I do with my old container?
    If you would like one of the containers that the County provides please call Customer Service at 410-222-6100 Monday - Friday from 7:30am to 4:00pm.

    Lids and wheels are not available for County supplied containers, however we do have a suggestion for putting wheels on our containers which you can get when you pick up a container.  Do-It-Yourself Wheel Attachment Instructions.

    You don’t need the yellow recycling container to recycle in Anne Arundel County.  If you have another container that works best for you (or you need to use an additional container for overflow) you may use it.  Be sure to mark the container with a large “X” so the collection crew knows that it is recycling.  Many times, you can convert one of your existing trash cans into a recycling container.  Remember, you can put out an unlimited amount of recycling.

    Unwanted or broken recycling containers may be scheduled for pick up at 410-222-6100 or returned to any recycling center so that they can be reused or recycled. The County will clean and reissue containers wherever possible.  Containers that are not suitable for use will be recycled.
  • 4. How do I get a large, yellow recycling cart with wheels and a lid?
    If you have not already received a new 65-gallon recycling cart and would like to receive one, please call Customer Service 410-222-6100, Monday through Friday, 7:30 am - 4:00 pm.  Carts are delivered to the residence by County personnel. Carts are not available for pickup at our facilities.

    Please note that each household is limited to one County supplied recycling cart. Residents interested in using additional containers with wheels and a lid for recycling may mark any container of their choosing with an “X” to identify it as a recycling container.
  • 5. What is my collection day?
    Recycling, yard waste and trash are collected once a week. To determine your collection day, visit MyAnneArundel. Select "General Information" then enter your address and select the "Recycling/Trash Pickup" category in the menu.
  • 6. What can go in my recycling container?
    We accept all paper, plastic, metal and glass and you may place them all in the same container.  You don’t need to separate anything!  See Items Accepted for Recycling  for more details.
    Scrap metal and wood are not accepted in the yellow container.  Yard waste should be put in separate containers from your paper, plastic, metal and glass.
  • 7. What types of plastic can I put in my recycling container?
    For a list of plastic items that are accepted in our program, view a list of recyclable plastics. 
  • 8. Where do the paper, plastic, metal and glass that I put out for collection go and how are they separated?
    Recyclables are taken to our recycling processor, WM Recycle America in Elkridge, Maryland.  The recyclables are then sorted by material type, and sold to manufacturers that make them into new products.  For more information about WM Recycle America visit

    Mechanical, optical, and manual sorting operations are used to separate the materials.  This advanced technology is what allows you to mix your recyclables together in the same container.  This is called “single-stream” recycling.
  • 9. What are the recyclables made into?
    • Newspaper is made into blank newsprint rolls for new newspapers.
    • Cardboard is turned into new cardboard boxes.
    • Plastics are made into new plastic products.
    • Aluminum is used to make aluminum cans.
    • Steel cans are made into new cans, automobile parts and other metal products.
    • Glass is made into new glass bottles or used in asphalt paving or other construction projects.
  • 10. Why does the truck that collects my recycling look like a regular trash truck?
    To achieve the most cost effective method of collection, the same type of truck used to collect trash is also used to collect recycling.  These trucks have the ability to compact the material that is placed in them which in turn allows them to collect from more homes in one trip.  Recycling is collected by two different trucks: one for paper, plastic, metal and glass and one for yard waste.  These recycling trucks are clearly marked with recycling symbols.  None of the three materials (recycling, yard waste, and trash) should be mixed together. If you see a contractor putting materials in the same truck, please call (410) 222-6100 immediately. 
  • 11. Do I need to rinse out my recyclables before I place them at the curb? Do I need to remove the labels and lids?
    No, you are not required to wash or rinse your recyclables. Some customers find that animals are not as likely to get into the recycling container if the items are rinsed well.  You may also leave the labels and lids on your containers.
  • 12. Can I recycle pizza boxes?
    Yes. We accept all types of boxes, including pizza boxes. Please be sure to remove all food scraps and grease-stained sections of cardboard.  The unwanted food and soiled-paper may be discarded as trash at the curb or dropped off at any County Recycling Center for Food  Scraps and Organics Recycling.
  • 13. Can I recycle at my office or small business?
    Yes, there are many ways your business can recycle. If you would like to start a recycling program or expand an existing program, contact the Recycling Division at (410) 222-7951. A Recycling Specialist will visit your business to show you how to Recycle. More. Often. and provide information on available resources and collection options.
  • 14. Can I recycle at my school?
    Yes.  The recycling program for all Anne Arundel County Public Schools allows them to collect paper, plastic, metal and glass recyclables.  Contact your school administrator to find out the specific details of the program.  You can also visit the Board of Education’s website. If your school is interested in a recycling presentation, contact the Recycling Division at (410) 222-7951.
  • 15. Can I recycle if I live in a condominium or apartment building?
    Yes.  In 2012, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 1, Environment-Recycling-Apartment Buildings and Condominiums.  The law took effect on October 1, 2012, and requires property owners or managers of apartment buildings and councils of unit owners of condominiums with ten or more units to provide separate collection of recyclable materials by October 1, 2014.

    Contact your property manager for details about the program in your community.  If your community does not have a recycling program implemented yet, they should contact the Recycling and Waste Reduction Division at (410) 222-7951.  A Recycling Specialist can provide information on available resources and collection options.  In addition, Anne Arundel County residents are able to drop-off recycling at any of our Recycling Centers. 
    Click here to find a location nearest you.
  • 16. Can I recycle my computer or other electronic equipment?
    Yes.  We accept computers, VCRs, DVD players, and other electronics for recycling at any of our Recycling Centers year-round.  Click here to find a location nearest you
  • 17. What should I do with old paint?
    Whenever possible, the best solution is to use it up (such as a base coat) or give it to someone who can use it. Click here to see organizations that accept donated latex paint.

    Latex paint is not accepted curbside.  It can leave a sticky mess on employees, equipment, and your streets.  However, since it is not hazardous you may drop off your latex paint at any of our Recycling Centers year-round. Find a location nearest you.

    Oil-based paint is hazardous and is only accepted during a Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Days.  Find out when the next scheduled event will be held.
  • 18. What should I do with my household products that are hazardous?
    Please do not place these items in your household trash.  Whenever possible use the hazardous product for its intended purpose.  Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Days provide opportunities for County residents to safely dispose of products containing harmful chemicals. Unless used and disposed of according to directions, these household chemicals present a threat to the environment. Special handling is required to dispose of them properly. Materials collected are recycled, or disposed in hazardous waste landfills or incinerators. A licensed private company under contract to the County provides these services.  Find out more information.
  • 19. What should I do with household batteries?
    Alkaline batteries no longer contain mercury and are no longer considered hazardous; therefore they can safely be disposed of in your household trash.

    Rechargeable batteries typically contain heavy metals that are considered hazardous.  Not accepted at the curb or at any Recycling Center or the Millersville Landfill. Visit to find a free drop off location near you.
  • 20. What should I do with fluorescent tubes or compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)?
    Fluorescent light tubes and CFLs contain mercury, a heavy metal that can be harmful to humans and wildlife if disposed of improperly. These and other mercury containing items are accepted for recycling during our Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Day events.  Find out more information on fluorescent light bulbs.  You may also recycle CFLs for free at many local retailers.  Click to find a location nearest you.  Lastly, if these options cannot be used, then residents are allowed to drop off CFLs sealed in plastic bags at any Recycling Center for disposal.  
  • 21. Can I recycle plastic bags?
    No. Plastic bags & film are no longer accepted curbside for recycling.  Return clean, dry plastic bags and wrap to your nearest county Recycling Center or participating grocery or retail stores for recycling and deposit them into marked recycling container near the store's entrance.
  • 22. Can I take a tour of the recycling facility?
    Yes.  Waste Management Recycle America is the County’s processor of recyclable material and their Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is located in Elkridge, Maryland. They offer tours to groups of adults over 18 years of age.  Call 443-755-9416 for more information.
  • 23. How can I reduce the amount of junk mail that I receive?
    You can have your name removed from most national mailing lists by contacting the Direct Marketing Association by visiting their webpage at
  • 24.  I live in the City of Annapolis, how can I find out more information about their recycling program?
    Visit their website at to find out more information about the recycling program in the City of Annapolis. 
  • 25. Where can I get a compost bin?
    Compost bins are available to the County's residential curbside customers for free.  If you would like one, you may pick one up at the Central Recycling Center, Southern Recycling Center, and the Recycling and Waste Reduction Division. They are not available at the Northern Recycling Center.  Find a location nearest you.
  • 26.  Who do I call if my recycling (or trash) wasn't picked up or other curbside service problems?
    To report a missed collection or other problem with your curbside service call Customer Service at (410) 222-6100 weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.  The best way to avoid a missed collection is to have your items at your curb before 6:00 a.m. on your collection day.
  • 27. Is my collection schedule interrupted during a holiday?
    Curbside collections will be interrupted during the following holidays: New Years Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  However, we slide your collection to another day.   Please view the Holiday Collection Schedule.
  • 28. Does the County make any money from the sale of recyclables?
    Yes. Recyclable commodities are marketed by the County.  This income helps keep your annual waste collection fee low.