- Visiting Chesapeake?
- Resources for New and Relocating Businesses
- Development, Land Use & Construction
- City Council
- City Budget
What Can and Can't Be Recycled
Big Blue Bin Recycling
- Gift Wrapping Paper
- Paper bags
- Glass jars & bottles
- Tin or steel cans
- Cardboard (Flatten all boxes)
- Telephone books
- Junk mail
- Envelopes with clear windows
- Magazines & catalogs
- Newspapers & inserts
- Office paper & file folders
- Aluminum cans
- Clean foil & pie tins
- Plastic bottles & containers with a spout – #1 and #2
- Cereal boxes
- Paper towel rolls
Check out our recycling infographic:
Trash vs Recycling
*As of 2017, the almond milk carton shown in this video actually IS recyclable!
Know what you can't recycle.
Plastic bags do NOT go in the big blue bin!
Can you recycle cardboard?
You bet! Hear it from Jerry.
What about yard waste?
Nope. That doesn't go in your big blue bin.
- Any plastic item that's not a #1 or #2 with a spout
- Ribbon and Bows
- Foam or plastic food containers (e.g. those used for restaurant leftovers or salad bars)
- Clothes hangers
- Food waste
- Light bulbs
- Ceramics or dishes
- Disposable Cups
- Garbage bins
- Water hoses
- Motor oil containers
- Window glass or mirrors
- Hazardous waste containers
Recycle in clear bags at curb
TFC has no way to "capture" the shredded pieces of paper during their sorting process. The shredded paper should be bagged and placed in the brown city trash can.
Plastic grocery bags
Recycle at your local grocery store (try Farm Fresh, Food Lion or even Target). Most have a container near their entrance where you can bring your bags any time the store is open.
Recycle working and non-working electronics at your local Goodwill store.
Each bin has a sticker attached to the lid listing items that are acceptable to recycle. As of 2017, add food & beverage containers (like OJ containers or shelf-stable soup/almond milk containers) to the list!
For more frequently asked questions and recycling information, visit the Public Works Blog and click on the "Recycling" category.
How do I recycle electronics?
Your local Goodwill store will gladly take those old electronics off your hands, whether they work or not! They follow federal guidelines for proper disposal of anything that might have personal information on it like computers and cell phones. The City also holds quarterly Chesapeake Recycles Day events during which we partner up with Goodwill to take your electronics and dispose of them properly. Some Best Buy stores may be another option for you as well - just give them a call to find out.
Can I recycle plastic bags?
Plastic bags cannot go in the Big Blue Bin – they get caught up in the machinery at TFC Recycling and can create quite a mess. But please do recycle your bags at your local grocery store. Most stores have a bin near the entrance where you can dispose of your plastic bags (not only grocery bags but things like bread and apple bags as well!).
*Also, recycling should NOT be bagged in any kind of plastic bag when placed in the Big Blue Bin. Garbage bags are included in the "No Plastic Bags" rule. TIP: Paper grocery bags are great for bagging recycling!
Can construction paper (with crayon or marker drawings on them, no craft materials or glue) be recycled?
Can cardboard milk and orange juice cartons be recycled?
Yes! New in 2017, you can now recycle food and beverage containers like those that container orange juice, almond milk and shelf table soups and broths.
Are cans with linings (usually BPA) okay? Almost all food cans these days have these liners.
Yes, these are ok.
When recycling old wire bound notebooks, can the wire also be recycled, or do we need to remove this first?
The wire should be removed first.
Can the old-school metal bottle caps be recycled, once they are removed from the glass bottles? (The kind you need a bottle opener for.) How about metal caps that come on glass pasta jars?
Yep, we'll take them!