Recycling has been in the news a lot lately. This quick update illustrates the importance of recycling correctly and shares a path forward for sustaining recycling not only in Durham, but in NC and the US. 

If you are not sure if an item is recyclable, keep it simple and safe. These items are always safe and desirable: bottles, jugs, cans, jars, paper and cardboard. If you want to explore more deeply, use the handy "What Goes Where" tool below to search for recyclable items, or download this quick reference guide.


In Durham, it's easy to recycle. Place all acceptable recycling items in 1 container. There is no need for any sorting.


All paper must be clean and dry. Discard anything that is wet or contaminated by dirt, paint, chemicals, food, etc. Boxes with wax coating and/or grease and food residue are unacceptable. Do not bundle or place anything in bags. No shredded paper please. Hardback books will not be accepted.

Cardboard should be flattened and should fit inside your blue recycling cart. *Note that the following services have been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19: For new move-in residents of the City of Durham, cardboard that cannot fit inside your blue recycling cart, must be flattened and a scheduled collection arranged by placing a call to the City's Durham One Call Center. Residents may also take large volumes of flattened cardboard to the City's Transfer Station.*

Glass & Metal
Only glass bottles and jugs are acceptable. Anything with grease and food residue is unacceptable. Fluorescent bulbs should be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Please, no drinking glasses or mirrors or other household glass.

Rinse containers to remove grease and food residue. Do not place anything in the cart longer than 2 feet or heavier than 40 pounds. Do not place anything in the cart that has come into contact with petroleum products or hazardous waste. Do not place any plastic bags in your cart.

If you are unsure, use the "What Goes Where" tool above to search for your item to learn the proper method of disposal.
Other/ Miscellaneous
Most reusable items that are not eligible for your recycling cart can be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility or the Swap Shop (only if in good working condition).