Every year, the District of Columbia produces over 800,000 tons of trash. According to the Office of Recycling, approximately 70 percent of that amount is generated by commercial and non-residential sources. To cut down on the amount of waste going to landfills and incinerators, the District requires all businesses and non-residential buildings to recycle.
Commercial establishments must pay for waste disposal based on weight, volume or the number of times trash must be collected. By implementing an effective recycling program, a business can reduce its volume of waste, resulting in lower disposal costs.
In addition to being more cost effective, recycling decreases the amount of trash going directly into the District's "waste stream." In so doing, businesses can improve our region's environmental health by saving costly natural resources, cutting down on certain types of pollution and decreasing the need for more waste facilities in or near our communities.
A commercial recycling program includes separation of recyclables from other solid waste, ensuring an adequate number of containers for separated recyclables and hiring a licensed, registered recycling hauler to regularly pick up recyclables.
DC Recycling Requirements
Any premises not authorized to receive municipal trash and recycling collection services is considered a business or commercial establishment.
Recycling is required in all commercial establishments. These include: office buildings; churches; retailers; warehouses; apartment buildings (with four or more units); co-ops; condominiums; service companies; bars and restaurants; museums; associations; non-profit organizations; and universities.
Recyclable materials include:
- Paper - newspaper, cardboard, mail, envelopes (except Tyvek®) and office paper
- Aluminum, steel and tin cans
- Brown, green and clear glass bottles and jars
Recyclables should be free of any contaminants such as paint (and other chemical substances), animal wastes and garbage. Food containers, such as carry-out cartons and pizza boxes, are not recyclable.