Recycle Everything! (Well almost)
Don’t trash what can be reused or recycled.
When you’re about to throw something in the trash can, tell yourself “stop!” and make sure the item is not recyclable. A tremendous amount of the packaging, paper products, containers and plastics we discard every day are recyclable. Recycling keeps waste out of our landfills, helping to preserve open spaces; reduces use of natural resources; and creates new materials like polyester, polar fleece, carpeting, park benches, playground equipment, decking materials and more.
Most Montgomery County residents have curbside recycling pickup. Those that don’t can hire a private hauler or drop off for free at Montgomery County Transfer Stations. For things that can still be reused, consider donating or freecycling; see the Resources tab.
See everything that’s recyclable through Montgomery County’s recycling service, including not-so-common items, and how to do it
Find a County Transfer Station where you can drop off your recycling
Gaithersburg residents: Participate in your curbside recycling and leaf collection programs
Greendisk for computers and electronics
Freecycle to give or get free unwanted stuff
Organize a community swap. The Center for a New American Dream has a lot of resources on how to organize and host a swap meet for clothing, books, food/recipes, seeds and more. Before you recycle something or throw it away, see if someone else can use it!
Video: Watch your recycled soda bottle become polyester
Donating or recycling unwanted items is free and helps others in need while keeping unnecessary waste out of our system. Check with your tax advisor — you may be eligible for a tax credit for donated items!
Get a free recycling bin from Montgomery County.
Gaithersburg residents: get a green bin from the city.
Rockville residents: get a brown recycling cart from Rockville.
Recycle your old working refrigerator or freezer with Pepco and you could receive up to $50. If you recycle a working room air conditioner at the same time, you can receive an extra $25.
Doesn’t the recycling process still use energy and cause pollution?
Yes, it does, but generally at lower, sometimes much lower, levels than manufacturing the items from scratch. Additionally, the whole process of extracting or harvesting natural resources — mining and logging, for example — is eliminated. Sometimes recycling costs more than manufacturing from scratch because the environmental costs are not built into the raw material cost. And like buying organic produce, sometimes it costs a little more to do the right thing. Of course, the best solution is simply to consume less.