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Recycling : Residential


Where do I get a recycling bin?  

The City will give you a recycling bin at any of these locations. But you don't have to have one of ours. You can use any household container (no larger than 32 gallons), as long as you write "RECYCLING" on it. 

In addition to our Sanitation Convience Centers, many of our community partners offer bin distribution. For a full map of all bin pick up locations, CLICK HERE.

Why was the recycling rewards program, Philacycle, discontinued?”  

When this recycling rewards program first launched, the City of Philadelphia was being paid to process recyclable materials. The revenue this generated allowed the City to reward residents with discounts from local businesses redeemable as points.Unfortunately, the recycling market has drastically changed in recent years. With new regulatory standards on contaminated materials, recycling costs have risen to nearly ten million dollars a year. As a result, the Streets Department is no longer able to afford this rewards program in the current market and will be discontinuing Philacycle. Philadelphia residents that participated in the rewards program will no longer be able to earn reward points or access the Philacycle website. All points accrued through the Philacycle program must be redeemed by June 30, 2019. Points are redeemable at Please redeem those points before June 30th as reward points will no longer be valid after the deadline.
What can I recycle?  

See a complete list of everything you can recycle, when, and how on the Streets Department Website 
What is the Foam Pilot Program at the NE Sanitation Convenience Center?  

For the Foam Pilot Program Philadelphia residents and businesses can drop-off their clean foam #6 materials at the Drop-Off Center located at State Road & Ashburner Street. Foam materials can be placed in the blue drop-off bin clearly marked to accept foam #6 materials. Operating hours for the Drop-Off Center are Monday-Saturday, 8 am-6 pm. There is no limit to the amount of foam materials that a resident can bring at one time. Click here for more details from the press release. 
What happens if a recycling truck misses my house or block?  

Call it in to 215-685-RECYCLE (7329) and report it. 
What happens when regular trash trucks pick up recyclables?  

That's not supposed to happen. If you see a trash truck picking up your recyclable materials, call 215-685-RECYCLE (7329) or dial 311 and report it. Philadelphia recycling trucks are uniquely decorated ¬– some even feature paintings by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. 
How much recycling can I set out for collection?  

There is no limit per collection for recyclable materials, but no container filled with recyclable materials may weigh more than 40 pounds. 
What types of containers can I use for recyclables?  

You can use any sturdy plastic or metal container that holds 32 gallons or less and just mark it with the word "RECYCLING" on its side. Don't use cardboard boxes as containers; they'll end up wet, split open and make a mess on your sidewalk. Instead, flatten them and place them in your bin to be recycled with your bottles, cans and paper. If one bin is not enough to hold all recyclables, simply add another one. 
How do I separate trash from recyclables?  

It's easiest to have a container or two set up where separation happens. Like a bin in the kitchen for bottles and cans you’ve washed out, and another in the office for used paper and mail. Just remember that with single stream recycling, it can all go in the same bin – we do the sorting for you. 
When will my recyclable items be collected?  

Recycling is now picked up on the same day as your trash, every week. Make sure your recycling bins are filled, then put them out side by side with your trashcans. Click here to find out your specific recycling day. 
What time should I place my recycling out for collection?  

October 1 through March 31 trash and recycling should be set out between 5 pm the night before collection day and 7 am the day of collection. Setout times from April 1 to September 30 will return to 7pm the night before and 7am the day of collection. 
What are #1 and #2 plastic containers?  

Plastics come in many different types, and the two most abundant are marked with a #1 and #2. The #1 plastic containers are things like soda bottles and water bottles. The #2 plastic containers are items like detergent and fabric softener bottles. To find out if a plastic container is acceptable, look for a recycling symbol with the number 1 or 2 imprinted on or near the bottom of the container. 
Do I have to recycle?  

Yes. Recycling is the law in Philadelphia. If you don't recycle, you can be fined up to $300. 
Why should I recycle?  

Recycling saves us money, creates jobs and saves the environment. The question should really be, “Why shouldn’t I recycle?” Recycling means you can do something good for yourself, your neighborhood, the environment and even for your family. And if that's not enough, do it because it's the law. 
How do I recycle?  

No one here is going to tell you it's easy. It does take a little bit of effort and certainly it takes thought. Instead of throwing recyclable materials in with your trash, separate them. Put them outside for pickup on your recycling day – which is the same day as your trash pickup. 
What is recycling?  

Recycling is being able to find a good use for something that otherwise would be thrown away. Like paper. Old paper can make new paper. Old aluminum cans can make new ones or can even be used to make new car parts. Certain recycled plastics are used to make fleece jackets. Even giving an old bike to another kid – it's all recycling. And it's a good thing to do. It saves us all money and time. It uses the earth's resources in a better way. And it's just not wasteful. In fact, it's important. The stuff you throw away can actually help someone else.