Recycling FAQs

What can I do to help?
Check out the Recycling for Residents webpage to learn more.

Why reduce, reuse, and recycle?

  • Conserve Earth's limited natural resources
  • Save money by reducing unnecessary purchases and reusing items
  • Reduce the need for landfills and their associated costs
  • Reduce ecosystem destruction caused by resource extraction
  • Reduce the amount of energy required to make new products
  • Decrease greenhouse gas emissions
  • Help create jobs at recycling centers and in innovative industries
  • Sustain the environment for future generations!

Where does my recycling go?
Watch this video to find out!

What is recyclable?
It depends on your service provider, but typically the following items are recyclable.  Mixed office paper, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, file folders, manila envelopes, cardboard, aluminum cans, aluminum foil, steel food cans, glass bottles and jars (residential pick-up only), plastic beverage and food containers, plastic carry-out containers, and plastics 1-7 (except Styrofoam). 
Click here for a complete list.
Click here for a printable poster!

NOT recyclable: Hand towels, tissues, snack packaging, ink pens, plastic bags and cutlery, Styrofoam, coffee grounds and food products

What can my business do to help?  
Start a recycling program using information and materials from the Recycling for Businesses webpage!

What has Louisville Metro Government done?
In 2012, Louisville Metro Government turned all of its deskside garbage bins into recycling bins.  Community garbage cans were placed at a central location within each office for items that could not be recycled.  This simple switch has increased the collection of recyclable material by over 56% and diverted a total of 112 tons of material away from the landfill in just six months!  Better yet, the program had almost no cost! 

A public awareness campaign was launched that included posters and e-letters from the Director of Sustainability.  Maintenance staff service the recycling bins just as they had done with garbage bins.  When garbage is found in recycling bins, the maintenance staff will leave a “business card” politely explaining why the recycling bin was not emptied.  This program has demonstrated that a slight shift in behavior can have a tremendous impact on the amount of material that is recovered for recycling. 

Single-stream or Source Separation?
With advice from your recycling provider, determine whether single-stream (all recyclables together) or source separation (materials separated by type) is better for your business or property.  Consider your waste stream, your ability to separate materials, and the current market for recyclable materials.

What else should I know?
Think about this. In New York alone, people produce enough trash in one day to fill the entire Empire State building. If everyone in New York recycled one edition of the New York Times, 75,000 trees could be saved.

Natural resources are used to produce everything that we rely on to live a healthy life, but we do not replace the resources at the same rate that we consume them.  Because people may not understand the importance of recycling, materials that can easily be reused or recycled are going to the landfill.

For yourself.
For your community.
For the planet.

Have more questions?  
Contact Mark Noll to learn more and/or make suggestions for improving this page.