What is recycling?
Recycling is being able to find a good use for something that otherwise would be thrown away. Like paper. Old paper can make new paper. Old aluminum cans can make new ones or can even be used to make new car parts. Certain recycled plastics are used to make fleece jackets. Even giving an old bike to another kid – it's all recycling. And it's a good thing to do. It saves us all money and time. It uses the earth's resources in a better way. And it's just not wasteful. In fact, it's important. The stuff you throw away can actually help someone else.
How do I recycle?
No one here is going to tell you it's easy. It does take a little bit of effort and certainly it takes thought. Instead of throwing recyclable materials in with your trash, separate them. Put them outside for pickup on your recycling day – which is the same day as your trash pickup.
Why should I recycle?
Recycling saves us money, creates jobs and saves the environment. The question should really be, “Why shouldn’t I recycle?” Recycling means you can do something good for yourself, your neighborhood, the environment and even for your family. And if that's not enough, do it because it's the law.
Do I have to recycle?
Yes. Recycling is the law in Philadelphia. If you don't recycle, you can be fined up to $300.
What Can I Recycle?
Orange juice cartons, milk cartons, juice boxes, soup boxes, ice cream cartons, and more
Tin and aluminum cans, empty aerosol cans, empty paint cans
Jars and bottles
Newspaper, magazines, mail (junk and personal), phone books, food boxes (remove plastic liner), computer paper, flyers, wrapping paper (no foil or plastic wrap), soda and beer cartons (no food-soiled paper, please!)
Recycle All Household Plastic Containers!
#1: Soda and water bottles, condiment and peanut butter jars, etc.
#2: Milk, water and juice jugs, detergents, shampoo bottles, dairy product containers, flower pots, some household cleaners
#3: Rigid plastic containers and juice bottles
#4: Plastic tubs and lids from butter, margarine or similar products
#5: Yogurt containers and deli trays
#6: Plastic cups, plates and to-go containers
#7: Many mixed plastic containers and plastic products
To learn more about what plastics you can recycle, download the Plastics Recycling Fact Sheet (pdf)
Empty and flattened
What are #1 and #2 plastic containers?
Plastics come in many different types, and the two most abundant are marked with a #1 and #2. The #1 plastic containers are things like soda bottles and water bottles. The #2 plastic containers are items like detergent and fabric softener bottles. To find out if a plastic container is acceptable, look for a recycling symbol with the number 1 or 2 imprinted on or near the bottom of the container.
What time should I place my recycling out for collection?
Recycling must be placed out for service by 7 a.m. on collection day but no earlier than 7 p.m. on the previous day. In Center City, recycling must be set out between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.
When will my recyclable items be collected?
Recycling is now picked up on the same day as your trash, every week. Make sure your recycling bins are filled, then put them out side by side with your trashcans.
Click here to find out your specific recycling day
How do I separate trash from recyclables?
It's easiest to have a container or two set up where separation happens. Like a bin in the kitchen for bottles and cans you’ve washed out, and another in the office for used paper and mail. Just remember that with single stream recycling, it can all go in the same bin – we do the sorting for you.
What types of containers can I use for recyclables?
You can use any sturdy plastic or metal container that holds 32 gallons or less and just mark it with the word "RECYCLING" on its side. Don't use cardboard boxes as containers; they'll end up wet, split open and make a mess on your sidewalk. Instead, flatten them and place them in your bin to be recycled with your bottles, cans and paper. If one bin is not enough to hold all recyclables, simply add another one.
Where do I get a recycling bin?
The City will give you a recycling bin at any of these locations. But you don't have to have one of ours. You can use any household container (no larger than 32 gallons), as long as you write "RECYCLING" on it.
How much recycling can I set out for collection?
There is no limit per collection for recyclable materials, but no container filled with recyclable materials may weigh more than 40 pounds.
What happens when regular trash trucks pick up recyclables?
That's not supposed to happen. If you see a trash truck picking up your recyclable materials, call 215-685-RECYCLE (7329) or dial 311 and report it. Philadelphia recycling trucks are uniquely decorated ¬– some even feature paintings by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
What happens if a recycling truck misses my house or block?
Call it in to 215-685-RECYCLE (7329) and report it.
What is the Foam Pilot Program at the NE Sanitation Convenience Center?
For the Foam Pilot Program Philadelphia residents and businesses can drop-off their clean foam #6 materials at the Drop-Off Center located at State Road & Ashburner Street. Foam materials can be placed in the blue drop-off bin clearly marked to accept foam #6 materials. Operating hours for the Drop-Off Center are Monday-Saturday, 8 am-6 pm.
There is no limit to the amount of foam materials that a resident can bring at one time.
Click here for more details from the press release.
What's the number to Recyclebank Customer Care?
Why don't I see anyone scanning my sticker?
Your sticker is imbedded with an RFID tag that is scanned automatically by technology mounted on the back of the trucks. It works just like EZ Pass.
I recycle with my barcoded sticker every week, but I haven't received any rewards. Why not?
Have you called Customer Care? After you have your sticker on your bin for 3 weeks call our Customer Care number (888-727-2978) to verify your account. Then you can order rewards over the phone with a Customer Care rep or they can set up an online account for you and you can shop for rewards online! Recyclebank does not send any rewards automatically.
This way, you get to choose what you want to use your points for!
How do I earn points?
Every time you recycle with your Rewards sticker you earn points based on the amount that your community recycles. The more you and your neighbors recycle, the more points you earn! Additionally, you will receive points monthly when your community reduces the amount of trash collected.
I signed up with someone in person. How do I create an online account?
Call Customer Care at 888-727-2978. They will create your online account. DO NOT try to create an online account without calling first. Otherwise, your online account will not be linked to your Rewards sticker.
What can I recycle?
See a complete list of everything you can recycle, when, and how on the Streets Department Website
Who is eligible to sign up for Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Program?
Residents that receive city provided recycling pick up are eligible for the program. This includes single family homes and apartment buildings with 6 units or less. Resident must be 16 years or older.
I put out more than one recycling bin each week. Can I have a sticker for each bin?
Each household needs just one sticker. Because points are distributed based on how your community recycles, we just need to know that you participated that week.
What do I do if I move?
You have two options:
Take the bin with your Recycling Rewards sticker with you. Then call Customer Care (888-727-2978) to update your address.
- If you leave your bin, call Customer Care number (888-727-2978) to request a new sticker be sent to your new address. The old sticker will be voided out.
How do I get my rewards?
You have two options:
- If you have internet access and have an online account you can redeem your points online.
- If you do not have internet access you can call Recyclebank Customer Care number (888-727-2978) and redeem your points over the phone and the rewards will be mailed to your home.