City of College Park, Maryland

Public Works

Recycling in the City of College Park has come a long way. Single stream recycling was introduced to the City in 2008. Recycling (including single stream, electronics and yard waste) in College Park can account for up to 44% of the solid waste collected – which is good, but there is always room for improvement.

Three Simple Steps to Help You Become Better Recyclers:

  • Empty: Remove any remaining food or liquid contents from your recyclable item before placing it in a recycling container;
  • Clean: Lightly rinse the recyclable item to remove any remaining residue; and
  • Dry: Gently shake out excess water or let the recyclable item air-dry before placing it in a recycling container.

By adopting these three steps, we can each do our part to help reduce materials contamination and further enhance economic viability in the nation's recycling model. 

There are many ways that you can do your part to help save energy and reduce the volume of material going to the landfill by recycling your paper, bottles, cans, and many other materials. In addition to curbside recycling, you can also recycle many other materials by contacting organizations that re-use household goods, building materials, and more.

For more information on recycling in College Park, please follow these links:

Know What To Throw flyer

Curbside Single-Stream Recycling: What is and is not Accepted in the Blue Cart

Special Items Recycled by the City

Other Recycling & Reuse Opportunities

Recycling at Your Event

What Happens to My Recycling?

Recycling collected by the City of College Park Department of Public Works is taken to Prince George's County Materials Recycling Facility, located in Capitol Heights, Maryland. Click here to see a video from Waste Management about how single stream recycling is sorted at their facilities.

Recycling Facts from the 2014 EPA Report

The total national Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) recycled was 66.5 million tons, with paper and paperboard accounting for approximately 67 percent of that amount. Metals comprised about 12 percent, while glass, plastic and wood made up between four and five percent.

Why Recycle?

  • For the economy:
    - Recycling is a $200 billion industry in the U.S.
    - Recycling generates 7-10 more jobs that landfills and waste to energy plants.  
    - Recycling properly creates valuable resources for U.S. manufacturing and can become a highly valuable export
  • For the environment:
    - Recycling conserves finite natural resources - this is critical as population continues to grow exponentially.
    - Recycling conserves fresh water up to 95% in the mining and manufacturing process for many materials.
    - Recycling prevents waste from going into oceans
    - Protects forests which help to reduce CO2 emissions
    - Significantly reduces use of fossil fuel energy and reduces CO2 emissions

The Not So Obvious… did you know that:

  • Every day, Maryland homes and businesses produce 41 million pounds of solid waste – enough to fill Ravens Stadium 3 times! (MD Department of the Environment)
  • Recycling 1 ton of cardboard saves 46 gallons of oil (Recycle Across America)
  • Every ton of paper recycled can also save the energy equivalent of 322 gallons of gasoline (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – EPA).
  • Recycling aluminum saves almost 95% of the energy needed to produce aluminum from its original source. (The Aluminum Association), and 1 recycled aluminum can saves enough energy to operate a TV for 3 hours. (Can Manufacturers Institute)
  • Recycling just one glass jar saves enough electricity to light an 11 watt CFL bulb for 20 hours (Recycle Across America).
  • Five plastic bottles (PET) recycled provides enough fiber to create one square feet of carpet or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket.
  • Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year.
  • Recycling 1 million desktop computers prevents the release of greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of over 17,000 passenger cars, and recycling 1 million cell phones saves enough energy to power more than 19,000 US households with electricity for an entire year. (EPA)

Recycling Tips - Please:

  • Empty bottles and containers and rinse your recyclables – the cleaner your recyclables are, the fewer problems with odor, insects and pests you will have, AND the better quality recyclables we will provide to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
  • Throw out items with high food contamination (like that really greasy pizza box from the weekend), and NEVER include containers for hazardous materials such as motor oil, as these types of items can contaminate an entire load of recycling, causing it all to go to the landfill.
  • Recycling carts and containers must be at the curb by 7:00 a.m. and removed by midnight on collection day.