One-Sort Recycling Collection
Paper to-go containers cannot be recycled because they are often lined with plastic or contaminated with food. Unlined paper plates, napkins and paper towels can be composted through the City's Organics Recycling program or an organics recycling drop-off site.
All black plastic and to-go containers that are made of #6 plastic (either foam or hard plastic) are not recyclable. The equipment used at recycling facilities cannot sort or detect black plastics. There are no markets that can use #6 or black plastics.
Recycle Smart and avoid using disposable to-go containers by making meals at home or frequenting restaurants that use compostable products. When dining out, try sharing meals to reduce leftover food or bring your own reusable to-go container to the restaurant instead. Contact our office for more information.
Live in St. Paul? Visit St. Paul's recycling website for more information about recycling collection.
Recycle Smart campaign
The Recycle Smart campaign is in partnership with the City of St. Paul and Hennepin County. Each month a different topic is featured to provide information to residents so they can Recycle Smart. Topics covered thus far that do not belong in recycling carts include:
- Plastic bags: Plastic bags and wrap get tangled in the equipment in sorting facilities and workers spend hours each day removing them. Plastic bags and wrap can be recycled if brought back to a retail drop-off location.
- Bags of recycling: Recycling in bags don't get properly sorted at the recycling facility, and recyclers can't tell waht's in the bag. Make sure to place your recycling loose in your recycling cart.
- Large plastic items: Large plastic items like laundry baskets, storage bins, lawn furniture, plastic toys, and other large plastic items can't be recycled. There are no good markets for these items, and they are difficult to sort at recycling facilities. Purchase high-quality items, use them for as long as possible, and donate items that are in good shape when you're ready to get rid of them.
- Recycling is collected every other week. The maximum weight for the 96-gallon large recycling cart and its contents is 200 pounds.
- Your recycling cart must be at your collection point, at the alley or curb line, by 6 a.m. on your collection day each recycling week. To sign up to receive email reminders to place your recycling out at your collection point, visit our Find Your Recycling Day webpage.
- Customers are provided with a recycling cart, either a small or a large cart. City crews deliver and maintain all carts. If your cart is damaged, contact our office to request for your cart to be repaired.
- Your collection day is assigned by the Solid Waste & Recycling Division. Routes are created so the Division operates in the most cost-effective way. Look up your collection day.
- In the winter, remember to shovel a 3 foot wide path to your cart, including snow left by the plow. See Snow Shoveling for specific shoveling requirements.
How to Prepare Your Recycling
- Empty and rinse out any containers.
- Flatten all boxes.
- Place recycling loose into your cart. Empty recycling out of paper bags (paper bag may be placed in the recycling cart) and plastic bags (plastic bags must be placed in the trash) to allow for effective sorting at the recycling facility.
- Set your cart out by 6 a.m. on your collection day.
- Place extra recycling that does not fit in your cart in a cardboard box or paper bag next to your cart. Extra cardboard should be flattened, bundled and tied with string or twine. Bundles must be less than 3' x 3' and less than 40 pounds. Call to request an additional recycling cart at no charge.
See Acceptable Recyclables for a detailed list of what all can be placed in your blue recycling cart.
Home Container Labels
Label containers in your home so family, friends and guests know how to properly sort their waste. Stickers are available for Solid Waste & Recycling customers to label your interior recycling, organics recycling, and trash containers located throughout your house. To order stickers to help improve your home collection system, contact our office. If you are not a Solid Waste & Recycling customer, you may request labels, guides and more from Hennepin County at www.hennepin.us/recycleeverywhere.
Our crews cannot pick up your recycling if there is a problem with it. Unacceptable recycling will be marked with a recycling educational tag. If you find a tag, please read it over to understand what the issue with the recycling is, correct the problem, and place your recycling out on your next recycling day.
Some reasons why your recycling may not be picked up include:
- Non-recyclable materials such as garbage and plastic bags were found in the recycling cart.
- Recyclables were contaminated: items must be rinsed before placed in the one-sort cart.
- Recycling cart was not shoveled and free from snow and ice.
- Recycling was not at the pickup area, next to the garbage cart.
- Recycling was not out for pickup on the correct recycling week.
- Recycling cart weighed over 200 pounds
If your recycling cart was removed for contamination, call our office in three months and it will be returned to you at no charge. Collection crews will pick up properly prepared recyclables set out in paper bags or cardboard boxes on your recycling day. There will be a $15 fee to have your cart returned before the three month holding period. To have your cart returned, fill out our Add, Remove, Return or Exchange Cart Form and email or fax it to our office.
Your recycling will be picked up at any time starting at 6 a.m. on your collection day. You may notice your recycling is collected at about the same time every other week. Please understand that changes in weather conditions, crew assignments and equipment problems can change your pickup to earlier or later in the day. Please make sure your recycling is always out by 6 a.m. on your collection day.
If you do not find an educational tag and you believe your recycling was missed, please wait until after 3:30 p.m. on the day of pickup before calling our office. Sorry, but we will not return for recycling if your cart was not out on time.
- Occasional extra recycling may be placed in a cardboard box or paper bag next to your One-Sort recycling cart. Cardboard that does not fit inside the cart should be flattened and bundled with string or twine and placed next to the cart. Bundles or boxes may not weigh more than 40 pounds.
- Items must not fall apart or break when crews pick them up.
- Each bag or box must weigh less than 40 pounds.
- If you place extra recycling in an old curbside recycling bin or other plastic tub, it will be taken by collection crews for recycling and you will not be able to get it back.
- Extra recycling is recorded by the crew, and any household who continually has extra recycling will be assigned another cart. There is no charge for additional recycling carts.
When your collection day falls on or after a holiday, recycling collection will be one day later than normal. See the Holiday Schedule for more information.
Report Misuse of Recycling Service
Recycling collection is a special service to our paying customers only. Taking or using another resident's collection point or cart is illegal. City Ordinance 225.10 states in part: "No person shall leave, throw, or deposit, or use or permit any other person to leave, place, throw, or deposit, any substances or materials of any kind at a city solid waste collection point for city disposal when the substances or materials were generated at a location other than the residence."
If you have any additional questions, please contact our office.
Last updated Sep 17, 2019