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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Resource Recovery
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Page updated Feb 4, 2015 12:23 PM

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Recycling is an everyday way to fight climate change. Recycling saves natural resources, energy and money. In 2011, Alexandria recycled:

  • Over 16,300 tons of mixed paper and cardboard, saving over 275,000 trees. 
  • Approximately 1,400 tons of aluminum cans, saving the energy equivalent of 3,290,000 gallons of gasoline! 

The recycling program is tasked with providing recycling collection to eligible single-family homes; encouraging recycling at home, school, and work; as well as providing education about recycling and setting up recycling collection programs.


What's New 

Business and Multi-family Property-owners Are Now  Submitting Their Required Recycling Implementation Plans

Businesses and multi-family property owners are required to submit or update a Recycling Implementation Plan every two years.  The purpose of the plan is to ensure that property owners have trash and recycling services that satisfy Alexandria's Code of Ordinances.  The plan may be completed on-line or by mail.  For information or to receive access to the on-line reporting form, please call 703-746-4133 or email .

Change in Acceptable Recyclable Materials

No Plastic BagsAlexandria’s recycling processor no longer accepts plastic bags or film of any type in our residential recycling collections.   While these plastics are perfectly recyclable, they are problematic for the machinery at the materials recovery facilities to process.  Therefore, we ask that residents discontinue any recycling of plastic bags in our residential recycling program.  Please visit our Plastic Bag Recycling page for information on how and where to recycle plastic bags and films.

Look for Alexandria’s Waste Watchers!      

Wally the Waste WatcherHave you noticed a neighbor with a smaller trash cart decorated with a Waste Watchers decal.  The Resource Recovery Division is evaluating the feasibility of offering a smaller trash cart to our customers. One-hundred selected households volunteered to exchange their large, City-issued, garbage container for a smaller, 32-gallon container and a log book.  Participants use their new container for a year, marking in the log book each week if all of their garbage fits in the container.  At the end of the year, they will fill out a brief survey.

Are you wondering why we are testing the feasibility of a smaller trash can?  Surprisingly, there is good evidence that households with small trash cans and large recycling containers start throwing away less trash and are careful to recycle more.  Some people even avoid buying things with excess packaging because they don’t want to fill up their trash can!  We have an Eco-City goal of recycling 60% by 2020.  The smaller containers may help move us in the right direction.  Trash ….. low, low, low.  Recycling…..up, up, up.



Covanta promotes energy efficiency with donation of Electric Car fueled by Alexandria Energy from Waste Facility.

Covanta LogoThe City of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation & Environmental Services (T&ES) in partnership with Covanta Energy are working on several initiatives to promote the environmental benefits of using Alexandria/Arlington waste as fuel for the generation of electricity. As such, Covanta is donating a Nissan Leaf for the next three years; this fully electric car runs solely on a rechargeable battery, has no supplementary gas engine, and gets approximately 106 miles per gallon. The City’s Recycling Team will use this car to perform route inspections and work with businesses as they promote recycling. Due to the City’s density, electric cars with zero emissions and limited range are ideal in Alexandria.

The Covanta ‘Energy from Waste’ facility, located at 5103 Eisenhower Avenue generates enough electricity to power over 25,000 homes each year. As part of the City’s Eco-City Alexandria initiative, residents are continually encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle throughout the year. In 2011, the City reached its highest recycling rate to date, at a record 48%. After materials such as paper, cardboard, and metals have been removed from the waste stream through the recycling efforts of residents, the remaining garbage is used as fuel, rather than buried in a landfill. Energy from Waste facilities generate fewer harmful greenhouse gases, and the Alexandria/Arlington Energy from Waste plant has one of the most advanced emission control systems in the country. Alexandria and Arlington County recently agreed to permit Covanta to operate the Eisenhower facility until 2025.

Recycling Presentations Now Available for HOA’s or Community Groups

Confused about what can be recycled? You are not alone!  Recent improvements in sorting technology at recycling processing facilities, and global demand for recovered resources, have created changes in recycling throughout the City of Alexandria.  In addition, unwanted electronic equipment has become a resource for recovered special metals.  The City’s recycling staff is now available to discuss these changes with home-owners associations and community groups.  For more information call Stiles Peabody at 703.746.4135.

City of Alexandria Achieves 48% Recycling Rate

The City of Alexandria has achieved its highest recycling rate ever!  The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has approved the City's 2012 Recycling Rate Report that documents a municipal solid waste recycling rate of 48.8 percent.  This is a small increase over last year's reported 48.4 percent recycling rate, and 20 percentage points higher than the City’s 2009 recycling rate as certified by the Virginia DEQ.  The City’s recycling rate has been continuously improving over the past several years due in part to a significant reduction in the overall waste generated combined with improvements to the City’s recycling services which include larger carts for single stream recycling and the addition of alley recycling pickup services.  This improved recycling rate puts us another step closer to achieving the City’s long-term Eco-City Alexandria goals while saving the City a considerable amount of money in avoided waste disposal costs. 

Sign Up for Solid Waste & Recycling eNews - Would you like to receive more information about recycling and solid waste programs? Need a quick reminder when refuse service will be delayed due to a holiday? With the City of Alexandria's Free eNews service, you can receive updates about recycling and solid waste, in addition to more than 80 additional topics that may interest you.


Information for renters and home owners about what, when, where, why and how to recycle at apartments, condos, home owner associations, and single family homes.


Information about recycling for City of Alexandria public and private schools.


Information for property managers, tenants and employees about recycling requirements and what, when, where, why and how to recycle at non-residential buildings.

  On the Go   
Information about recycling at public buildings and special events in the City of Alexandria.

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

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