How to Recycle

a green recycling cart is super-imposed in front of a black and white house. the cart has non-accepted plastic bags and a red X for rejected.
A recycling cart with plastic bags, or items bagged in plastic, will be rejected on collection day.

Recycling isn’t rocket science, but there are things you must know.

Only accepted items can go in curbside and drop-off containers.

Wish-cycling is the act of placing non-accepted items in the recycling. Wish-cycling can cause your recycling to be rejected at the curb. Always follow instructions on the lid of your recycling cart or on drop-off containers. When the wrong items wind up in the recycling stream, they can contaminate an entire batch or even an entire truckload. Contaminated loads will be landfilled.

Remember: There’s no need to sort your recycling. It is sorted by people and machines at the recycling facility.

The chasing arrows symbol doesn’t always mean an item is recyclable locally.

For example, plastic bags and Styrofoam™ typically show the recycling symbol. Neither is accepted in CVWMA’s recycling program. However, they can be recycled through store take-back programs or other initiatives.

If you use plastic bags, return them to retail stores for recycling. They aren’t accepted in CVWMA’s program. These bags tangle in the recycling machinery.

Electronics and batteries never go in recycling. They could explode. 

Electronics and batteries can explode, leading to dangerous fires in trucks and recycling facilities. Read about managing electronics and batteries at their end of life.

Boxes must be flattened.

This saves space in containers and the recycling truck.

For Curbside Customers

Never bag recycling in plastic.

Collection crews can’t sift through your container to separate recyclables from non-recyclables. Items that are recyclable will be landfilled if they are in plastic bags.

Flatten cardboard boxes and place them inside the cart.

Only items inside the cart will be collected. CVWMA’s recycling contractor mostly uses trucks with an automated arm that picks up and empties the cart. The arm cannot pick up lose items beside the cart.

Place your container out by 7 a.m. on collection day, rain or shine.

The night before is even better.

Wheeled carts must be placed with the opening facing the street or alley.

Leave at least 3 feet around your cart on all sides. This lets the automated truck arm do its job.

Avoid the Oops.

Residents who have unaccepted items in their curbside recycling container may receive an Oops! sticker. The sticker indicates what item isn’t accepted. Once you remove that item, the cart can be emptied on the next regular recycling day.

Contact CVWMA if you need help.

Use the web tool to report service issues such as a missed collection. You can also email or call 804-340-0900. Remember, CVWMA doesn’t know you’ve been missed until you let us know. Contractors perform all collections.