Recycling Guide

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What can go in your recycling bin?

Download print friendly Recycling Guide

 Yes - Put these items in your recycling bin!  


paper recycling

Paper and Cardboard

  • Newspaper & inserts
  • Mail & envelopes
  • Cereal & food boxes - Remove liners
  • Paperback & hardcover books
  • Non-foil wrapping paper
  • Milk & juice cartons
  • Drink boxes
  • Cardboard boxes - Flatten – do not tie up
  • Cardboard egg cartons
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Clean pizza boxes
  • Magazines, catalogs, & phone books


 plastic recycling

Plastic Bottles, Jugs and Tubs

  • Plastic lids OK if secured on container
  • Milk, juice, & soda bottles
  • Shampoo & conditioner bottles
  • Detergent & fabric softener bottles
  • Yogurt, dairy, & margarine tubs
  • Pill bottles
  • Plastic plant pots & buckets
  • Rigid plastic toys


glass recycling

Glass Jars and Bottles

  • Glass jars and bottles
  • No caps or lids

 aerosol-spray-cancans2aluminum-foil metal aluminum cans


  • Aluminum cans, trays & foil
  • Metal food cans - Lids in can, crimp shut
  • Empty aerosol cans - Aerosol cans that are not empty that contain hazardous waste should be taken to a hazardous waste drop-off site.  See Household Hazardous Waste Disposal instructions.



Frequently Asked Questions

Download print friendly FAQ document

If you are not sure whether an item is recyclable at the curb, call (703) 385-7837 or email

Item  Can I put it in the blue recycling bin? Why or Why not? 
Plastic Bags

No, but you can bring plastic bags to your local grocery store to be recycled.

Paper bags/ film can break or get caught up in the equipment at the recycling facility causing it to stop production or break the machines.
Clamshell Packaging No This type of packaging is usually made with low quality plastic, which makes it very difficult to recycle.
Pizza Boxes Yes, but only the parts without food or oil on it. 

Organic material ruins the final recycling product. Rip off any parts with food or oil on it and recycle the clean parts.

Food Bags & Wrappers No There is just no market for recycling this type of material.
Styrofoam No

The recycling facility that the City of Fairfax uses doesn’t have the right equipment to recycle Styrofoam.

Paper Cups & Plates No

There is a layer of wax on some paper cups & plates that contaminates the recycling process. Used paper cups & plates may be contaminated with food and/or oil.

Light Bulbs No

They are made from a different type of glass and contain metal parts. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs contain mercury. Special care must be taken with broken ones, as the fragments are toxic if ingested or inhaled. See Household Hazardous Waste Disposal for proper disposal instructions.


Shredded Paper No The paper is too small to be detected by the machines at the recycling facility and can get stuck to other recycled items. This contaminates the process.