Five Myths About Recycling in Arlington

Five Myths About Recycling in Arlington

No, you shouldn’t bag your recyclables - ever.

Myth Number 1. Arlington County will sort through your recyclables, even if they are in a plastic bag, to take out the stuff that belongs there. 

Wrong. If it’s in a plastic bag, it will not be recycled. This differs from many other cities. If you put glass, hangers, or metal pots in recycling, it just means more work for the staff and the stuff does not get recycled. Don’t guess. Look it up. 

Myth Number 2. Glass goes in the blue bin. 

Wrong. Glass goes to the glass recycling purple bins at North Kentucky and Langston or Washington Boulevard and Quincy. Set up a neighborhood round robin to take the glass. 

Myth Number 3. It’s okay to put dirty pizza boxes or aluminum pans in the blue cart. 

Wrong. Dirty pizza boxes or compostable carry-out boxes go in the green compostables cart and dirty aluminum should be washed out. 

Myth Number 4. Plastic bags go in the blue cart. 

So wrong. Not only should you not bag recyclables, but plastic bags of any kind do not go in. They even mess up the machinery.  You can take them to Safeway or Giant for recycling through their plastic bin. Even plastic film can go to the Safeway box. 

Myth Number 5. It doesn’t matter if you recycle wrong or don’t compost, it all gets incinerated anyway. 

Wrong. Arlington recycles a huge amount of glass, aluminum, paper and plastic when it is correctly binned. Compost and garden waste get sent to a facility in Fairfax or processed in Arlington, where they are turned into soil amending compost, leaf mulch, and wood mulch the County distributes to residents. 

For questions about recycling in Arlington visit: or call 703-228-6570