United States

Prince William County Latest Jurisdiction to Change Recycling Guidelines

More jurisdictions are cutting back on what they allow to be recycled and sometimes residents are unaware

After Prince William County officials announced changes to the county’s recycling rules this week, residents have expressed confusion over where they can recycle glass and plastics and what they can put in their curbside bins.

Residents in Prince William County were told this week to keep both glass and certain plastics out of their bins, the Prince William Times reported.

According to the Prince William Times, some sorting facilities that process recycling can’t keep glass clean enough to repurpose, and there are no glass-recycling centers in Virginia, requiring transportation to either Pennsylvania or North Carolina.

Further, the county bans the recycling of soft plastic containers, numbered 3 through 7, because of restrictions from countries like China and India, which by recyclable material from the United States.

News4 has compiled a definitive list of what you can and can’t recycle depending on where you live.

In the District:

The city’s government specifies that you can recycle clean and empty glass bottles and jars in your bins, but cannot recycle glass windows or ceramics. You can also recycle most plastic cups and containers, newspapers and milk cartons, and metal cans and containers.


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You cannot recycle Styrofoam, peanut foam packaging, plastic bags or plastic wraps.

For a full list, visit the Department of Public Works website here

In Maryland

Montgomery County:

You can recycle glass bottles and jars, plastic bottles and containers, and aluminum and steel cans.

You cannot recycle ceramics, mirrors, window glass or drinking glasses.

You may also not Styrofoam, plastic bags or wraps, electronics, or toxic containers.

For a full list, visit the county’s Department of Environmental Protection website here.

Prince George’s County:

You may recycle empty glass food and beverage containers, empty plastic bottles and containers and all paper materials.

You cannot recycle plastic bags, disposable containers or broken glass.

For a full list, visit the county’s website here.

Frederick County:

You can recycle glass bottles and jars, as well as clean aluminum foil. 

You cannot recycle drinking glasses, ceramics or window glass.

For a full list, visit the county’s website here.

Charles County:

You can recycle glass bottles and jars.

You cannot recycle ceramics, broken glass, drinking glass, window glass or mirrors.

You can search specific items at the county’s website here, and see a full list of acceptable recycling items here.

In Virginia

Fairfax County:

You can recycle glass bottles and jars. You can also recycle broken glass by carefully packaging it a sturdy containers and label the package “GLASS.” Then, set it out with your trash for pickup. 

You see the full rules at this website.

Arlington County:

You can recycle glass bottles and cans. You cannot recycle broken glass or sheets of glass.

You can see a full list here

City of Alexandria:

You can recycle glass bottles and jars, but the city is planning to launch glass drop-off centers to provide more options for recovering and recycling glass.

You cannot recycle drinking glasses or window glass.

Find a full list on the city’s website.

Loudoun County:

You can recycle glass bottles and jars only. You can also recycle aluminum cans, paper items and plastic like bottles, buckets, milk jugs and yogurt cups. 

You cannot recycle Styrofoam, plastic bags or scrap metal.

For a full list of guidelines, refer to the county website here. For specific items, check this list.

Manassas City:

You can recycle glass bottles and cans, but cannot recycle broken glass. You can also recycle jugs, cartons and metal cans. Manassas works with the company American Disposal Services, so check their website here.

Prince William County:

You can no longer place glass in your recycling if you live in Prince William County, but you can still recuycle plastic bottles numbered 1 and 2, as well as paper materials and empty metal aluminum and steel beverage containers.

Check the county's updated guidelines here.

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