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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Resource Recovery
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Page updated Oct 15, 2014 8:49 AM

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Reduce, Reuse (Donation) and Other Recycling Opportunities

Remember, it’s REDUCE, REUSE and then RECYCLE. Reducing the amount of waste we create in the first place will help reduce the amount of materials that need disposal. Many items that you no longer need may still be useable, can find another home and extend its life.

What you can find on this page:

What's New

  • Residential Data Destruction and Paper Shredding  Rather than destroying documents that contain personal information consider shredding the paper, then recycling it. Check you local listings or Google 'paper shredding services, Alexandria, VA' for a shredding service near you. There may be fees charged for some or all of the services. Or, you might consider buying a shredder at a local office supply shop or on-line.  The company listed below has donated quality shredding services at some of our public events and they have done a good job.
    • Shred Station Express - provides both mobile and off site document destruction of small or large quatities of documents and electronics
      • 5604 General Washington Dr
        Alexandria, VA  22312
        Tel: (703) 347-4638
      • Mobile Destruction Hours:  Mon - Fri  9 am to 7 pm,  Sat  9 am to 5 pm
        Store Drop Off Hours:         Tue - Sat  9 am to 3 pm


Reduce Ideas

Looking for ideas about how to reduce the amount of stuff you use, check out our tips!

Stop Junk Mail 

Residents can stop credit card solicitations and other types of unwanted mail through various outlets.  Check out this website to learn how to stop the junk mail

Stop Delivery of the Free Washington Examiner 

Residents can contact the Washington Examiner at:
1010 15th Street, NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
Stop Delivery Online 


Tips for Reuse

  1. Honestly evaluate the condition of the items you wish to donate - these organizations spend a lot of money disposing of items that should have probably been recycled or disposed of in the first place.
  2. Call or visit the organization's website for additional information on what they will or will not accept.
  3. Follow the specific instructions provided to ensure that the items you intend to donate will be reused, rather than discarded.
  4. Drop off items during normal business hours, or appointed time agreed upon.
  5. Contact a bulk hauler to recycle or dispose of your large items if they are not fit for reuse:  
  6. Online Reuse Networks/Services
    • Alexandria Freecycle is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.
    • CraigsList Allows for open online exchange of consumer goods.
    • ezAuctioning, Inc. helps you get top dollar for your valuables. They are experts at marketing your unwanted valuables to eBay's 192 million registered users.
    • MissionFish makes it safe and easy for nonprofits to benefit from eBay, The World's Online Marketplace®. They can provide an easy way to convert in-kind donations, such as reusable items, into cash.
    • Habitat for Humanity Restore accepts and sells gently used items in working condition. 



Material Search List - Recycling and Donation Opportunities



Many types of batteries still contain high levels of heavy metals and other toxins that are extremely dangerous to the environment. 

  • Residents may dispose of Batteries of all types at the City's Household Hazardous Waste Center located at 3224 Colvin St.  Please review the information below for recycling and disposal options for each type of battery and consider buying rechargeable batteries instead of disposable batteries.  Rechargeable batteries reduce the number of batteries being manufactured and are easily recyclable. 

Alkaline and carbon-zinc household batteries are every day batteries (typically AA through D size) found in flashlights, remote controls, and other appliances. 
      Note:  These types of batteries are no longer hazardous and may be disposed of in your regular household trash.  If you are uncertain about the type of battery you have, please take them to the Household Hazardous Waste Center along with your other hazardous waste materials. 

  • MOM's Organic Market accepts alkaline/carbon-zinc and other rechargeable batteries for recycling.  They are located at 3831 Mt. Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305. 

Button Batteries are small, round and typically used in watches and hearing aids.  These batteries contain mercury, silver, cadmium, lithium and other heavy metals that extremely toxic and should always be recycled or disposed of properly. 

  • Check with your local retailer about disposal and recycling options or visit the City's HHW Center.

Automobile Batteries (Lead-Acid Car Batteries) -  should always be recycled at your local auto parts store or service center. 

  • Never dispose of automobile batteris in the trash
  • Take all automobile batteries to your local auto service centers or lead-acid battery retailer
Rechargeable batteries are used in the following types of devices: power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and two-way radios.   Rechargeable batteries include:

  • Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd)
  • Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) 
  • Lithium Ion   (Li-ion)
  •  Nickel Zinc (Ni-Zn)
  • Silver- Zinc (S-Zn)
  • Sealed Lead acid (Pb*)



  • Bikes for the World collects repairable bicycles donating them to charities overseas. Note: $10/bike donation suggested, defraying shipping to overseas charity partners. Receipt provided for all material and cash donations.
  • Vélocity is a bicycle cooperative that collects bicycles and bicycle parts for use in our community-based bicycle repair shop.  We are based in Alexandria and provide space and tools for the community to fix or build bicycles, as well as, providing training, rides, and events to promote cycling in Alexandria. 
  • Find the nearest Goodwill (click on the link for "Where to Donate") or Salvation Army store near you where you can donate materials. 



  • Alexandria Libraries offer an on-going used book sale at all four branches and hosts periodic large book sales every few months. For more information regarding these sales, please call 703.519.3498.
  • Already Used Used Books takes books in trade and sells used books.  Located at:  2501 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. 
  • Book Bank takes books in trade and sells used books.  Located at:  1510 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. 
  • Books for America accepts (and does home pickups of) donated books, movies, CDs, laptop computers, etc. They use the books to build reading libraries in schools, shelters, prisons, etc. in the Washington, DC metro area (and are branching into rural Virginia) as well. Located at:  1417 22nd Street, NW Washington, DC 20037. 202.835.2665
  • Booksavers of Harrisonburg, VA, resells and recycles books. Booksavers will sell donated items that have value. Old textbooks and other similar items are channeled through other organizations, or have their covers removed ands are recycled. Email Booksavers (attention David Stoltzfus, Manager) at to arrange for delivery.
  • Find the nearest Goodwill (click on the link for "Where to Donate") or Salvation Army store near you where you can donate materials. 


Building Materials

  • MWCOG – Online Builder’s Recycling Guide helps builders find out how and where to recover construction and demolition materials in the Washington, D.C., area. The database is searchable by material or by company, searches are divided by state.



  •  Many local charities accept donations of unwanted cars, boats,and trailers.  Contact your favorite charity and ask them about vehicle donations.

CDs, VHS, and Audio Cassettes

  • Service Source  recycles all types of electronic media and media cases for CD's, DVD's, VHS tapes, and other items
  • GreenDisk offers individuals, businesses and government offices solutions for recycling a variety of technology wastes, including discs, CDs, DVDs, videos, audio taps, cell phones, pagers and PDAs.
  • Find the nearest Goodwill (click on the link for "Where to Donate") or Salvation Army store near you where you can donate materials. 


Cell Phones

  • Staples stores now offer a nationwide Mobile Devices Recycling program, where customer can recycle their used cell phones, PDAs, pagers and rechargeable batteries. A large portion of the proceeds generated from recycling the mobile electronics devices will be donated to the Sierra Club. The Staples in Alexandria is located at: 3301 Jefferson Davis Hwy Phone number: 703-528-8207.
  • ReCellular, Inc. is the largest recycler and reseller of used wireless phones and accessories in the wireless industry. ReCellular has well-established partnerships with Easter Seals, Verizon Wireless, the March of Dimes, National Organization on Disability, Goodwill Industries, and The Body Shop.
  • Recycle for Breast Cancer is a fundraising program designed to help The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation raise funds quickly and easily through recycling many types of electronic equipment, cell phones, and toner cartridges. As a participant, you collect these items, box and prepare them for shipping and the organization will send you a prepaid shipping label. There is no cost to you for shipping.
  • Staples accpets cell phones, as well as, computers for recycling. 
  • Best Buy accepts cell phones, as well as computers, inkject cartridges, CDs/DVDs, and more for recycling. 



The Northern Virginia area is filled with local consignment and thrift shops. Reusable clothing is also accepted by many churches and thrift stores. To locate one near you, consult the yellow pages under "churches" and "thrift stores."

  • Find the nearest Goodwill (click on the link for "Where to Donate") or Salvation Army store near you where you can donate materials. 
  • Planet Aid also has yellow collection boxes at many locations around Alexandria, such as grocery stores and gas stations. Find a location near you.  
  • Art for Humanity Collects shoes, clothing, jewelry, women's accessories, sheets, towels, etc. We give those donations to poor families in developing countries. They use some of the donations for the needs of their extended family and sell others, using the proceeds to build a home, pay for educational expenses, or begin a small home based business.
  • Eclectic Threads is a consignment shop featuring womens' vintage to modern clothing and accessories.
  • Elinor Coleman's Vintage Mirage, LLC vintage to contemporary jewelry and clothing, and unique home accessories, rebuttoning garments and estate consultations.
  • Recycled Clothing Store sells men, women and children's reusable clothing. 703.619.6660
  • Remix offers affordable vintage clothing for men and women merchandised in a classy contemporary way.



The City encourages residents and business to donate their electronics for reuse before recycling. 

Many electronics retail stores are now accepting electronics, computers and TV's for recycling.  Check with your local electronics retailer about recycling options. 

  • Service Source recycles all types of computer and electronic goods for both residents and businesses in the area.  Also provides electronics destruction services.
  • Computer CORE  non-profit organization that accepts late model computers and peripherals for student education and training.
  • Goodwill accepts working computers for reuse.
  • Staples accepts computers for recycling. 
  • Best Buy accepts computers for recycling.
  • City of Alexandria Electronics Recycling site at 3224 Colvin Street.  (Alexandria residential households only).

Businesses may recycle computers and electronic items by exploring: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's Computer and Electronics Recycling resources.


Construction & Demolition Debris

  • MWCOG – Online Builder’s Recycling Guide helps builders find out how and where to recover construction and demolition materials in the Washington, D.C., area. The database is searchable by material or by company, searches are divided by state.


Cooking Oil

Residents can dispose of small amounts of cooking oil, in solid form, in the trash.  Commercial entitities can call one of the following vendors. 



Furniture & Household Items

  • Alive, Inc. ALIVE! serves over 12,000 Alexandrians annually with shelter; low-cost early childhood education and childcare; financial help for rent, utilities, medical care and other critical needs; emergency food; and deliveries of donated furniture and housewares.
  • Upscale Resale consignment store offers an eclectic mix of new and used home furnishings.
  • Find the nearest Goodwill (click on the link for "Where to Donate") or Salvation Army store near you where you can donate materials. 


General Thrift

  • Back Porch Thrift Store Operated by the United Community Ministries, the thrift store accepts items to assist families and individuals to improve the quality of their lives in a manner that builds their self-esteem and fosters their ability to function at the greatest level of their capacity - socially, economically and emotionally.
  • Catholic Charities/Christ House Thrift Store accepts general household items for distribution to their clientele. 703.548.4227
  • Look Again, Prevention of Blindness Society Resale Shop provides comprehensive information on vision problems, correction and eyeglasses as well as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and a directory of professional members. You can also donate used eye glasses.
  • St. Clement Thrift Shop accepts general household items for distribution to their clientele. 703.998.6166
  • Find the nearest Goodwill (click on the link for "Where to Donate") or Salvation Army store near you where you can donate materials. 


Metal Items

Large Metal Items can be recycled at local scrap metal dealers

Small Metal Items: Alexandria residents can recycle small and large metal items at Covanta. 

  • Address: 5301 Eisenhower Avenue
  • Phone Number: 703-370-7722
  • Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Alexandria residents only, valid City sticker on your car required.  Report to the Scale House to drop-off your metal items.

Covanta Scale House Directions 



Packing Peanuts

The Plastic Loose Fill Council offers a toll-free Peanut Recycling Hotline; call (800) 828-2214  to help you identify a peanut collection site closest to you. Locations in or near Alexandria include:

    1001 N. Fillmore Street, Arlington, VA  22201
    (703) 351-7777
  • The UPS Store
    4094 Majestic Lane, Greenbriar Town Center, Fairfax, VA  22033
    (703) 631-4280
  • The UPS Store
    6412 Brandon Ave, Springfield Tower Center, Springfield, VA  22150
    (703) 569-8802
  • The UPS Store
    3057 Nutley Street, Pan-Am Shopping Center, Fairfax, VA  22031
    (703) 280-1500


Plastics - Other

Plastic containers and bags are commonly used very day and are increasingly recycleable in curbside and drop-off recycling programs.  There are local business accepting containers that are not recyclable in curbside and drop-off recycling programs. 



Toner Cartridges

Some toner cartridges can be reused or recycled:

  • GreenDisk also offers solutions for recycling toner cartridges.
  • T3 Toner Company buys back empty toner, inkjet, fax, and copier cartridges. T3 Toner then remanufactures and sells the refurbished items. The company will also buy surplus inventory, expired, excess, overstock, and outdated printer supplies. Individuals or companies should use the “Request a Quote” form on the T3 Toner website to get an estimate of how much money they will receive on their empty items. The website also contains a list of items that T3 Toner will accept.
  • Staples Recycle for Education calls upon communities across the country to recycle their used inkjet and laser toner cartridges to generate funds for educators who "go the extra mile" in their classrooms. Staples will donate $1 to local schools for every eligible old inkjet and laser cartridge dropped off at their store. Check the Staples websites for a list of eligible cartridges. Interested in setting up your own drop-off container for used cartridges? Contact a Staples store associate for more information and a recycling bin.
  • Recycle for Breast Cancer is a fundraising program designed to help The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation raise funds quickly and easily through recycling old cell phones and empty inkjet and toner cartridges. As a participant, you collect these items, box and prepare them for shipping and the organization will send you a prepaid shipping label. There is no cost to you for shipping.

You can further help the environment and save money by purchasing remanufactured toner cartridges. These cartridges are often available in office supply catalogs and you order them as you would any other office supply. These cartridges are a high quality product and function exactly like the new cartridges do, and often at a lower price.


Greening your Holiday Season or Anytime of Year

According to the EPA, Americans generate an additional million tons of trash over the average between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.  That's a massive 25 percent spike in trash! Here's how you can help over the holidays and year round!

1.  BYO Bags! Start by shopping with a reusable bag instead of using the disposable bag offered by the stores, including grocery, retail, and electronic stores.  Even if you can't always remember to bring a reusable bag, just doing it half of the time will mean half the amount of bags.  Every bit helps!

2.  Reduce, reuse, and recycle your gift wrap. 

  • When wrapping gifts, try using the comics in the newspaper, or reusable wrapper such as cloth, decorative boxes, etc.
  • Reuse wrapping paper.  Instead of just wrinkling it up into a wad, save the larger sections for wrapping future gifts.
  • Choose wrapping paper with recycled content and that is recyclable (non-metallic paper).

3.  Don't forget the rechargable batteries! With all the electronics that need batteries, tons of regular batteries get dumped when they run out.  Get a simple recharger for under $20 and save money, as well as, our landfills.

4.  Give to Others! So much food is thrown out over the holidays.  Check with yoru local church or soup kitchen and donate it. 

5.  Greening your Holiday Tree. 

  • Consider a live holiday tree.  After the holidays, plant it in your yard or ask your local park officials if you can donate it to them.
  • Recycle your holiday tree into mulch.  Remove all the ornaments, tinsel, and stands and set it out for the City's Holiday Tree collection (curbside customers only) or through a local recycle center. 

6.  Green Gift Giving! Consider giving gifts that do not create waste or do not harm the environment.

  • Event Tickets - a great way to personalize a gift.
  • Time/Yourself Gift - give/volunteer to make dinner, do chores, collect family recipes or make a photo album, etc.
  • Donation - make a donation to a cause.

For more about greening your holiday season, visit these following links:

Center for a New American Dream
Earth 911 

US Environmental Protection Agency 



"Green" Online Resources

Below are online websites committed to providing information on how each and everyone of us can make Alexandria, the United States, and the World a better place to live by reducing, reusing and recycling.

The Green Guide: is produced by National Geographic and provides readers with information on eco-friendly washing machines to how to incorporate eco-friendly practices into a wedding.  Visit: for more information.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: has a lot of information on how we can protect the environemnt, as well as, kid-friendly web pages with games and activities.  Visit: for more information. 

Virginia Recycling Association: provides Virginia residents and employees with information on recycling in Virginia.  The website also has information about improving recycling at schools.  Visit: for more information. 

Earth 911: provide information about "greening" the environment, as well as, linking residents to local recycling programs in their state or City.  Please make sure when using this site to locate recycling programs that you follow up with the locality to see if there have been an recent changes in the program.  Visit: for more information. 


2900-B Business Center Drive
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703.751.2569

Office Hours:
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.