Residential Recycling/Recovery

Recycling/Recovery Program Expands - Single-Stream Accepted

For over 20 years, Monroe County residents have enjoyed a progressive, convenient and continually expanding curbside recycling program. As is its charge from the county, Waste Management, Inc., the Monroe County Recycling Center’s (MCRC) contract operator, examines the waste stream for sustainable recovery opportunities. In 2004, the MCRC began accepting all clean paper--allowing county residents to make a clear and affirmative impact on our local environment. In 2010, the MCRC began accepting plastic containers numbered one through seven for recycling/recovery along with aluminum foil, foilware and household metal pots and pans. Now, the MCRC has started to accept single-stream materials from its recycling collector customers. Single stream means that paper materials no longer need to be separated from commingled materials--they can all be mixed together. Click here for a listing of items accepted by the MCRC.

Some recycling collectors are not customers of the MCRC. Customers should contact their hauler to confirm what is accepted and how recycling bins should be prepared.

The MCRC “Blue Box” Recycling/Recovery Program

The following commingled and paper materials should be placed in your recycling box and taken to the curb before 6:30 a.m. on your regular trash collection day. If high winds are forecast on your collection day, please delay recycling. White goods (major appliances) are also required to be recycled by Monroe County law--contact your waste collector for details.

Commingled Materials

Only the materials listed below are accepted for recycling/recovery. All containers should be clean. Please do not separate the types of containers using plastic grocery bags—they should all be mixed together. Labels are accepted.

  • Metal Food and Beverage Cans: lids are accepted.
  • License Plates: defaced
  • Metal Pots, Pans and Aluminum Foilware
  • EMPTY Aerosol Cans: with caps. NO pesticides or spray paints.
  • Plastic Containers and Items (#s 1 through 7): recycle caps, spray pumps and lids. Examples of plastic items not accepted by MCRC: styrofoam*, empty prescription bottles*, pesticide containers, bulky items* and bags or filmy product wrapping. *The ecopark will accept certain of these items. Click here for details. 
  • Glass Food and Beverage Bottles, Jugs and Jars: recycle lids and caps. No drinking glasses, window glass, pyrex, light bulbs, etc.
  • Gable Top (Milk and Juice) Cartons and Drink/Soup Boxes: remove and throw away plastic straws; recycle caps.

Paper Materials

Paper items may be kept together by using a brown paper bag (do not use plastic bags). Almost any kind of clean paper product can be placed in the recycling bin (NO soiled papers, paper toweling or wet paper).

Some examples:

  • Newspapers, Magazines, Catalogs, etc.
  • Corrugated Cardboard: flattened, 2x4 feet maximum—if you have a large stack of flattened boxes, it should be tied together with string or twine.
  • Phone Directories and all Books
  • Paper Boxes—cereal, cracker, soda, tissue, shoe, gift, toy, etc.: flatten box and recycle any plastic liners at grocery store with other plastic bags.
  • Pizza Boxes & Paper Egg Cartons: discard all contents and flatten.
  • Junk Mail, Advertisements and Brochures
  • Home Office Paper, Files, School Papers, etc.: shredded paper in brown paper bags only.
  • All Envelopes: window envelopes too!
  • Gift Wrap
  • and More!

Plastic Bags/Wrap - What and Where Can You Recycle?

Plastic bags and product wrap are not accepted for recycling by the MCRC's recycling collectors. New York law requires that major retailers that offer plastic bags for purchases take them back for recycling. Many other kinds of plastic bags/wrap should also be included. A recent county residential waste characterization study found that eight percent of household garbage was made up of plastic bags or wrap--much of which could be recycled. Please click here for a listing of what can and cannot be returned to the store for recycling. If you would like a downloadable guide to plastic bag and product wrapping recycling, click here. The Monroe County ecopark also accepts certain clean, dry plastic bags and product wrapping. Click here for details.

Help Prevent Windblown Litter

Participants in the curbside recycling program can help reduce windblown litter in the community by delaying recycling bin set-out by one week if high winds are forecast on collection day. Although the Monroe County does not endorse any particular product or service, there are items available for purchase that can help prevent items from being blown out of bins on recycling days. Click on the below links for further details.

Reduce Junk Mail

Reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by calling the following toll-free number: 1-888-567-8688.

New or Replacement Recycling Bins

In order to obtain a new or replacement recycling bin, homeowners must call their garbage collector. City of Rochester residents should call 585 428-5990.

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