Recycling FAQs

Plastic Bales Ready for Recycling

Plastic Bales Ready for Recycling

1. How do I recycle plastic bottles?

Remove the plastic caps, rinse the bottle clean with water, remove the labels or plastic seal if necessary, and dry if possible. Bottles can be crushed if you need to make room for more.

2. 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. As of July 1, 2019, only Plastics #1 and #2 will be accepted at McIntire Recycling Center. 

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

3. 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.

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 in advance.

5. What do I do with my old paint?

We accept 1-gallon, 5-gallon, and 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.

6. What do I do with paint-related products?

Cans of spray paint, paint-related products, adhesives (glue, putty, caulk), paint removers, thinners, solvents, sealants, or 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. Where can I recycle magazines and junk mail?

Junk mail is among the recyclable items accepted at McIntire Road Recycling Center.

12. What does McIntire Recycling Center take?

The bins at McIntire are labeled as follows:

  • Aluminum Beverage Cans
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Mixed Paper
  • Plastic Film
  • #1 Plastic Containers
  • #2 Plastic Containers
  • Office Paper
  • Glass
  • Newsprint
  • Mixed Metals

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

13. 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.

14. Can I recycle Styrofoam at any RSWA facilities? 

No, Styrofoam is not accepted at any recycling location.

15. 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.

16. 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 or Ivy MUC. For more information, please go to our compost page.

17. How can I recycle my phone books?

Phone books may be recycled at the McIntire Road Recycling Center throughout the year.

18. 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

19. 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.

20. 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.