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The recycling program is tasked with providing recycling collection to eligible single-family homes; encouraging recycling at home, school, and work; as well as providing education about recycling and setting up recycling collection programs.

Page updated on Nov 26, 2018 at 12:18 PM

Recycling is an everyday way to fight climate change. Recycling saves natural resources, energy and money. In 2014, Alexandria recycled:

  • Over 16,300 tons of mixed paper and cardboard, saving over 275,000 trees. 
  • Approximately 1,400 tons of aluminum cans, saving the energy equivalent of 3,290,000 gallons of gasoline! 

What's New

Coming Soon - Glass Recovery 

Glass Bottles and JarsCurrently, glass collected for recycling by our contractors is ending up in landfills due to a variety of issues, including recycling contamination, rising recycling costs, and lack of a regional glass processing capacity. The City is working to address these and other resource recovery issues as part of our update of the  WasteSmart Strategic Plan, a roadmap that will guide the city’s refuse, recycling and organics collection for the next 20 years. The City is actively monitoring the market for a viable option to recycle glass and working with our neighbors to propose and advocate for innovative solutions. The City is also preparing to launch glass drop-off centers across Alexandria this fiscal year to provide an option to recover and recycle glass. Please visit this page or sign up for Resource Recovery eNews ( to receive more information as it becomes available.

Change in Acceptable Recyclable Materials

No Plastic Bags

Alexandria's recycling processor no longer accepts plastic bags or film of any type in our residential recycling collections.   While these plastics are perfectly recyclable, they get caught in the sorting machinery creating maintenance shut downs .  Therefore, please return plastic bags to local grocery stores for recycling.  Visit our Recycling at Home page for information on how and where to recycle plastic bags and films.

Covanta promotes energy efficiency with donation of Electric Car fueled by Alexandria Energy from Waste Facility.

Covanta Logo The City of Alexandria's Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) in partnership with Covanta Energy are working on several initiatives to promote the environmental benefits of using Alexandria/Arlington waste as fuel for the generation of electricity. As such, Covanta is donating a Nissan Leaf for four years; this fully electric car runs solely on a rechargeable battery, has no supplementary gas engine, and gets approximately 106 miles per gallon. The City's Recycling Team will use this car to perform route inspections and work with businesses as they promote recycling. Due to the City's density, electric cars with zero emissions and limited range are ideal in Alexandria.

The Covanta 'Energy from Waste' facility, located at 5103 Eisenhower Avenue generates enough electricity to power over 25,000 homes each year. As part of the City's Eco-City Alexandria initiative, residents are continually encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle throughout the year. In 2016, the City reached its highest recycling rate to date, at a record 49%. After materials such as paper, cardboard, and metals have been removed from the waste stream through the recycling efforts of residents, the remaining garbage is used as fuel, rather than buried in a landfill. Energy from Waste facilities generate fewer harmful greenhouse gases, and the Alexandria/Arlington Energy from Waste plant has one of the most advanced emission control systems in the country. Alexandria and Arlington County have agreed to permit Covanta to operate the Eisenhower facility until 2025. 

City of Alexandria Achieves 49% Recycling Rate

The City of Alexandria has achieved its highest recycling rate ever!  The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved the City's 2017 Recycling Rate Report that documents a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 49.8 percent.  This is a small increase over last year's reported 49.3 percent recycling rate, and 20 percentage points higher than the City's 2009 recycling rate as certified by the Virginia DEQ.  The City's recycling rate has been continuously improving over the past several years due in part to a significant reduction in the overall waste generated combined with improvements to the City's recycling services which include larger carts for single stream recycling and the addition of alley recycling pickup services.  This improved recycling rate puts us another step closer to achieving the City's long-term Eco-City Alexandria goals while saving the City a considerable amount of money in avoided waste disposal costs. 

Sign Up for Solid Waste & Recycling eNews - Would you like to receive more information about recycling and solid waste programs? Need a quick reminder when service will be delayed due to a holiday? With the City of Alexandria's free eNews service, you receive updates about recycling and solid waste, in addition to more than 80 additional topics that may interest you.


Information for renters and home owners about what, when, where, why and how to recycle at apartments, condos, home owner associations, and single family homes.


Information for property managers, tenants and employees about recycling requirements and what, when, where, why and how to recycle at non-residential buildings.

  On the Go   

Information about recycling at public buildings and special events in the City of Alexandria.