A common question about acceptable recycling is which “numbered” plastics are allowed in curbside pickup. These numbers are actually called Resin Codes, and while the symbol may look similar to the recycle symbol, it does not mean the item is recyclable. The resin codes on packaging tell you what kind of plastic it is. This image was created by industries and is not a regulated tool for recyclability. Instead of checking the resin code, check DPWs Recycle Guide to see which types of plastics are accepted!
TDPW Launches “Feet on the Street” Educational Campaign to Reduce Recycling Contamination
Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) is launching the Feet on the Street recycling campaign to educate residents about what items to keep out of their recycling containers, especially plastic bags, films and wraps. Over the next two months, DPW sanitation workers will check and tag recycling containers in neighborhoods where collection crews have observed high contamination. When collection crews observe something in a recycling cart that does not belong, an “Oops” tag will be placed on the container. The informational “Oops” tag will give residents instant feedback, reminding them to keep out plastic bags, food-covered items, paper towels/napkins, carry out containers, and tanglers (i.e., garden hoses, wires, electrical cords). Plastic-bagged recyclables account for most of the City’s recycling contaminants.
Recycling Do’s & Don’ts
The biggest recycling contamination challenge for Baltimore is disposing of plastic bags, films and wraps in the cart or placing plastic bags filled with recycling out for collection. Contaminated recycling increases the City’s recycling processing costs and can cause equipment jams at recycling processing facilities, creating hazards for recycling facility workers. Additional sources of contamination include clamshell containers, Styrofoam, and bottles and jars that are not empty or clean, tanglers (i.e., electrical cords, hoses, Christmas lights), and clothing.
When preparing recycling for collection, residents are reminded to:
- Place clean and empty recyclables in the cart
- Leave recyclables loose in the cart
- Do not bag items
To make sure the right items are placed in recycling carts, residents are encouraged to review the DPW recycling guide and the Recycle Right web feature.
Baltimore will temporarily but indefinitely scale back recycling collection to every other week due to staffing shortages due to COVID. Neighborhoods south of North Avenue (including Locust Point) will have collection during cycle B which began Jan. 24.
New Baltimore Recycle Cart FAQ
Community Recycling Drop-Off Locations
How to Recycle Electronics
Many common electronics can be recycled, reused, refurbished, or donated. These can include phones, computers, televisions, speakers and more. Donating or recycling electronic devices helps conserve resources and natural materials.
Maryland legislation requires Certified Electronic Device (CED) distributors to provide take-back programs that will recycle electronic devices for free. Check out the current list of manufacturers registered to sell products in Maryland and have a take back program for their products. Additionally, some companies have independent recycling programs.
DPW offers electronic recycling at Residential Drop-Off Centers. A variety of electronics are accepted such as gaming consoles, copy machines, docking stations etc. Please note these electronic items are NOT to be set out for curbside collection!
DPW Recycle Right Tool–Not sure if your item is recyclable? Visit DPW’s Recycle Right Tool. This easy-to-use tool helps to take the guesswork out of recycling. Just type in or click on the name of the item that you are looking for and information will be provided on proper disposal.
Visit DPW’s Recycling Services page for more information and FAQs.