Portsmouth City Logo

Portsmouth Waterfront
Skip Navigation Links




Click here for the
Recycle Calendar


Recycling Event
April 9, 2016
9 am - Noon

Great American Cleanup

April 16, 2016
7 am - Noon

recycle items


Department of General Services - Portsmouth Recycles!
Frequently Asked Questions


Contact Waste Management

bullet "Blue" Neighborhood Schedule
bullet "White" Neighborhood Schedule


Simply click on the questions in the blue tabs below to reveal answers:

Q: How do I obtain a recycling cart?
Contact the Division of Waste Management at 393-8663.
Q: How can I get a replacement for my cart that is missing or damaged?
Call Waste Management at 393-8663.
Q: My recycling was missed. How do I report a missed pickup?
Call Waste Management at 393-8663.
Q: How do I know what week to put out my cart?
A collection map and calendar of Blue Week or White Week collectionswill be posted online soon. You can also contact the Waste Management Division at 757-393-8663.
Q: What if I have more recycling materials than will fit inside my recycling cart?
(1) Flatten your recyclables to create more space in your cart.
(2) Retain your excess recyclables for the next collection.
NOTE: Recyclables left beside your cart can not be collected.
Q: The recycling truck usually comes by my house late in the day. Why do I have to have my cart out at the curb by 7 a.m.?
Drivers begin their routes at 7a.m. Route schedules may change due to employee changes or weather conditions.
Q: Should I put my recycling cart out when it's raining?
Q: I'm moving. What should I do with my recycling cart?
Each cart is assigned to a particular address and the city retains ownership of the cart. If you move, leave the cart for the next resident to use. If there isn't a cart at your new residence, call the Waste Management Division at 393-8663.
Q: I understand there is a computer chip in the cart. What is that for?
The carts come with a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. Initially the chip will allow the city know what cart was assigned to what address. Eventually, the chips may be used with short-range scanners mounted on the collection trucks to keep track of carts and provide collection data.
Q: What is NOT acceptable for recycling?
Anti freeze container, ceramics, binders, dishes, hazardous waste containers, light bulbs, mirrors, motor oil containers, paint cans, pesticide containers, pizza boxes or other cardboard boxes that are contaminated with grease or food residue, plastic bags, plastic newspaper bags, plastic wrap, Pyrex containers, Styrofoam, or window glass. If in doubt call 393-8663.
Q: Why should I recycle?
Recycling has both environmental and economic benefits. Recycling reduces the amount of waste generated by your household, saves landfill space, and reduces the amount of trash that is disposed at the Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) plant. Also, recycling saves energy and natural resources (i.e., water, minerals, trees,), reduces air and water pollution, and creates markets for recyclable material.
Q: What else can I do?
Encourage others to reduce waste and recycle. If you must purchase paper products, make sure they are made from recycled paper.
Q: Can bottle caps be recycled?
Yes, metal caps/lids. Yes, plastic caps/lids. Please remove them from the bottle before placing in recycling cart.
Q: Can I recycle envelopes with the plastic window? What about staples? Glossy advertisements? Post-its? Can I recycle paper with tape on it?
Q: Can I recycle batteries?
No. Batteries are not recycled through the curbside recycling program. Car batteries and regular batteries can be recycled by taking them to the SPSA Regional Landfill located at 1 Bob Foeller Drive, Suffolk, VA. You may also hold onto them until we offer another Household Hazardous Waste Collection event.
Q: Can I recycle cereal boxes?
Q: Can I recycle plastic bags?
Not in your recycling cart. Most grocery stores provide recycling bins for plastic bags.
For a full list of items that can be placed in your Cart, download thishelpful reminder.
Q: Can I recycle toys and household objects made of plastic?
Q: Why can't I recycle pizza boxes?
Q: What do the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers represent or stand for?
The numbers on the bottom of plastic containers are resin identification codes and they indicate the type of plastic a container is made from. The codes are not intended to mean that a particular product is recyclable, which is why recycling programs identify what plastic products are acceptable and are not acceptable. The City of Portsmouth recycles numbers 1-7.
Q: If plastic doesn't have a recycling logo on it, can it still be recycled?
Q: Do I have to separate glass, plastic, aluminum and steel?
No. Place all your recyclables in your blue cart.
Q: How clean do containers need to be before I toss them into the recycling cart?
Simply rinse; no need to wash.
Q: Do I need to take the labels off jars and cans?
No, labels are okay.
Q: Should I step on plastic bottles and crush cans before recycling?
Only if you need more capacity in your cart.
Q: What are the basic procedures for recycling aluminum cans?
Empty and rinse. You do not need to crush unless you need more space in your cart.
Q: What can I do with packing peanuts?
Save them for personal use or check with packaging service stores to see if they will accept them.
Q: Where do Portsmouth's recyclables go?
Recyclable materials are taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF), where they are separated, baled and prepared for market. Eventually, those recyclables will come back in the form of new products.
Q: What are the benefits of recycling?
Recycling saves natural resources and landfill space, reduces the need for new landfills, conserves energy, reduces pollution and litter, and creates jobs.


City of Portsmouth, Virginia · All Rights Reserved · Portsmouth City Hall · 801 Crawford Street · Portsmouth, VA 23704 · 757-393-8000