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New DC Recycling Requirements Begin January 1st

Friday, December 29, 2017

(WASHINGTON, DC) Earlier this year an expanded list of recyclable items was announced in the District. While residents serviced by the Department of Public Works (DPW) have been able to recycle the new items for several months, starting on January 1, 2018, all residential and commercial properties—including multi-family dwellings, office buildings, and restaurants—will be required to recycle this full suite of materials. And to make things simple, the items that should be recycled are now uniform throughout DC—whether you’re at home, work, or school.

The District strives to achieve a goal of diverting 80 percent of citywide waste from landfills and waste to energy facilities. The increased number of recyclable items and focus on resident education aims to assist in achieving this goal.

New items added to the list of recyclable items in the District include: pizza boxes; paper and plastic plates, cups, lids, and to-go containers; plastic produce, deli/bakery containers, and trays. Through the addition of these items, the District joins a select group of cities that accept foodservice packaging for recycling, thereby supporting the development of local and national solutions to recycling new materials.

As a reminder, plastic bags, wraps, and film are not accepted in the District’s recycling. These items clog facility equipment, imposing downtime and safety hazards to recycling facility employees. Many supermarkets and large retailers have plastic shopping bag return/recycling bins in their stores. Residents are asked to place recyclables into their blue bins loose, or in paper bags.

For more information and resources related to recycling in the district, please visit zerowaste.dc.gov.

Background:

The Mayor’s List of Recyclables was developed following a survey of eight material processing facilities (MRFs) within a 45-mile radius of the District. Materials added to the list were accepted by a majority of MRFs in the region. The Mayor’s List is a requirement of the Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment of 2014. The purpose of which is to provide a single comprehensive list of recyclable and compostable materials for DC residents, schools, and businesses.

DPW provides essential city services in two distinct program areas: environmental services/solid waste management and parking enforcement. Both contribute to making District streets and public spaces clean, safe, attractive and accessible for all residents, businesses, commuters and visitors.