Recycling FAQs

Plastic Bales Ready for Recycling

Plastic Bales Ready for Recycling

1- What do I do with my household hazardous waste until the next scheduled collection date?

We encourage you to hold these items until our next special collection day for batteries, paint, paint related products, CFL’s, florescent tubes, thermostats, digital cameras, cellphones, ipods, acids, pesticides, adhesives, gasoline, kerosene, household cleaners, floor and furniture polish. Special collections are generally held twice per year in the spring and the fall. The next date can be found at our Household Hazardous Waste and Bulky Waste page.

2- What do I do with my old paint?

Starting in August 2016, we accept 1 gallon, 5 gallon, quarter gallon containers of latex and oil-based paint on a daily basis for proper disposal. Paint must be in the original container. We will not accept any other paint-related products. For complete details, see the Paint Collection section on the Ivy Material Utilization page. This collection service is free and is separate from our regular household hazardous waste disposal days.

3- What do I do with paint-related products?

Full cans of spray paint, paint-related products, adhesives (glue, putty, caulk), paint removers, thinners, solvents, sealants, nor wood preservatives are classified as Household Hazardous Waste. So we encourage you to dispose of those items on our Spring and Fall HHW Days at Ivy MUC. The next date as well as full details of what we do and do not accept can be found at our Household Hazardous Waste and Bulky Waste page.

4- What is the easiest way I can find out about the upcoming dates for HHW and Bulky Waste Amnesty special collection days?

Stay connected by signing up for our HHW notification email list by clicking here. We send out an email blast when the Fall and Spring dates have been approved by the RSWA board and even a couple reminders. In addition to our Household Hazardous Waste and Bulky Waste page, we run ads in the Daily Progress and Cville Weekly in advance.

5- What do I do with old batteries?

Some retail stores such as Batteries Plus stores collect battery types except alkaline. Please refer to your local telephone directory for stores in your areas that may offer this service. We encourage you to contact stores directly for specific programs and instructions.

6- What do I do with old CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs)?

Many Lowe’s and Home Depot stores collect used CFLs, please refer to your local telephone directory/internet for a store near you.

7- What do I do with other unwanted household goods?

There are many charities and non-profit organizations in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area that are in need of usable household and office items to support their work. Donating your usable things, instead of throwing them out, helps others in need and reduces waste at the same time.

Another option is to dispose of items at Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s Encore Shop, located at the Ivy Material Utilization Center. Please note that the Encore Shop cannot accept upholstered items, and the minimum fee for disposal is $6.00.

8- Where can I recycle packaging such as styrofoam peanuts and bulky Styrofoam?

The UPS Store, 977 Seminole Trail, (434) 973-6700 recycles only Styrofoam peanuts; Pack n’ Mail 536 Pantops Center (434) 971-5911 recycles and reuses Styrofoam peanuts, clean packing material (like bubble wrap), and bulk Styrofoam if it’s flat. Please call stores directly for more details. The “Peanut Hotline,” sponsored by the Plastic Loose Fill Council, has more information at 1-800-828-2214.

9- Where can I recycle magazines and junk mail?
Junk mail is among the recyclable items accepted at McIntire Road Recycling Center.

10- What else does McIntire Recycling Center take?
The bins at McIntire are labeled as follows:

File Stock: This is white office paper
Mixed Brown: This is cereal boxes, brown paper bags, and any non-corrugated cardboard
Phone Books: Yellow/white page phone books
OCC: Corrugated cardboard (no wax covering)
Newspapers & Magazines
Aluminum Beverage Cans: Drink cans only
Metal Cans: Pet food, soup cans, etc.
Glass: Green, brown and clear glass
Plastic: packaging, grocery bags, etc (Flexible)
Plastic: Bottles and Containers (Rigid)
All rigid plastics #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 or #7.  Most plastic containers have a triangular imprint on the bottom with a number inside indicating what type of plastic it is. Beverage containers, household bottles.

More info on our Recyclables Accepted page. No plastic motor oil containers, no Styrofoam of any kind, no hazardous waste material containers.

11- Can I recycle plastics bags and plastic packaging and wraps (flexible plastic) at McIntire?
Yes! Effective July 2015 we now accept flexible plastic. Grocery bags, newspaper bags, bread bags, case wrap from water bottles, bubble wrap, pet food bags, dry cleaning bags, toilet paper wrap. No soiled kitchen or lawn bags, no frozen food bags, no prewashed salad mixed bags, no biodegradable bags. All bags must be clean and dry.

12- Where can motor oil be recycled?

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority accepts motor oil and antifreeze at the Material Utilization Center in Ivy. Also, check with an oil change service or auto parts or repair shop, as most recycle motor oil free of charge.

13- What can I do with household food waste that can be composted?

City and County residents are able to take their food waste and compostables to McIntire Recycling Center through a composting pilot program.  For more information, please go to our compost page.

14- Why can’t all plastics be recycled?

Plastic containers coded with a #1 or #2 inside a recycling symbol on the bottom of plastic containers are recyclable in most communities in the county. These recyclable containers typically include soda bottles; milk, water and juice jugs; cooking oil and liquor bottles; and detergent containers. Other plastics coded with a #3, #4, #5, #6, or #7 are not typically recycled due to limited markets and expense. However, McIntire Recycling Center takes all plastics #1-#7!

Plastic that contained hazardous waste cannot be accepted for recycling, but can be accepted during HHW day.

15- How can I recycle my phone books?
Phone books may be recycled at the McIntire Road Recycling Center throughout the year.

16- Where can I take propane tanks for proper disposal?
Amerigas, formerly Columbia Propane, accepts propane tanks. See for details.

The following companies accept certified tanks:

Gerdau (formerly Cycle Systems): 296-6465
Staunton Metal Works (New Life Recycling): 1-800-287-3851

To get a tank properly prepared and certified:

Wel, Inc. Concord, VA 1-800-847-2455
Care Environmental Inc.: 1-800-494-2273

17- How can I dispose of my Christmas tree?

The County will operate seven sites. The sites will be open from December 26, 2016 to January 16, 2017. The hours will be 7:00 AM until dark daily. The sites are:

Rivanna Solid Waste Authority Recycling Center on McIntire Road
Crozet Park in Crozet
Greenwood Community Center in Greenwood
Chris Greene Lake Park in Earlysville
Darden Towe Park on Elks Drive
Scottsville Community Center in Scottsville
Walnut Creek Park, off Old Lynchburg Road

City Public Works Department the Charlottesville Curbside Pickup will be the week of January 9, 2017 (trees need to be at the curb side by 7:00 AM). Shortly after the Curb Side Pick-up, the City and County Parks Crews will join forces and chip and estimated 2200 trees at Darden Towe Park. Since 1988, County Parks has collected an average of 2300 trees annually that yield over 110 cubic yards of chips. Combining forces with the “Charlottesville Curb Side Pick Up” the joint programs collected 4,200 trees yielding 201 cubic yards of chips in 2016. This reduces the impact on our landfill and helping citizens find a place to dispose of cumbersome item. Both programs require that decorations, stands and nails be removed. Please no “yard waste”. Free mulch from the recycled trees will be available starting February 1, 2017 at Darden Towe Park.

18- How can I express my interest in enhancing existing service?

Come to Rivanna Solid Waste Authority Board meetings, located at 695 Moores Creek Lane. They are at 2:00 p.m. and are generally held the 4th Tuesday of the months of February, April, May, August and November (board meeting page). You can also send an email to or write to Executive Director, 695 Moores Creek Ln., Charlottesville, VA 22902.

In addition, you can attend your local Board of Supervisors or City Council meetings:

Come to County Board of Supervisors meetings. The regularly scheduled meetings of the BOS are held the first two Wednesdays of the month, in Board Room 241, Second Floor, County Office Building. Mail a letter to the Chairperson of the BOS at 401 McIntire Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902; Email mailto:bos@albemarle.orgor call (434) 296-5843.

Come to the Charlottesville City Council meetings. Council meetings are held the first and third Mondays each month at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall on the Downtown Mall at 7th and East Main Street. Email, or, or mail a letter to the Mayor, Box 911, City Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22902, or call (434) 970-3113.

18- How do I report incidences of litter?
For Albemarle County, call the Litter Hotline Number at 434-972-4145. For the City of Charlottesville, call Charlottesville Public Service Dept. at 434-970-3830.