Recycling is more than just a feel-good activity or a way to teach environmental stewardship in school. Recycling is an economic engine that has created job opportunities in Delaware and has significantly reduced Delaware’s rate of trash disposal while extending the life of our landfills.
Recycling also conserves valuable natural resources and energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and helps us take responsibility for our waste today, as opposed to leaving a burden for future generations.
Under Delaware’s Universal Recycling Law, all waste haulers who provide residential trash collection service must include recycling collection service. The law also requires businesses, schools, not-for-profit, and government services to participate in a comprehensive, universal recycling program.
The DNREC recycling staff offers free, non-regulatory assessments of commercial waste streams and waste management practices. And DNREC works with the Recycling Public Advisory Council and the Delaware Solid Waste Authority to promote and support recycling in Delaware.
Many materials can be recycled but only certain materials are accepted in Delaware’s single stream recycling program. “Single stream” recycling is a system where all traditional recyclables such as cans, cardboard, cartons, glass bottles and jars, paper, and plastics, can be stored and collected in the same container (cart or dumpster), separate from your trash.
Recycling is now available at home, work, school, and play. Place loose recyclables, not bagged, in your recycling cart or dumpster. Please completely empty all containers before recycling; there should be no food waste. Do not include plastic bags; they may be returned to stores for recycling.
Some special wastes may require certain handling procedures and may pose a threat to human health or the environment. You should keep these materials separate from regular trash and out of landfills. Many of these materials can be recycled through one of several programs or they can be taken to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection event.
The Division of Public Health offers prescription drug take-back events and medication collection boxes at several locations.
The Delaware Solid Waste Authority accepts electronics for recycling at several locations throughout the state and at regularly scheduled collection events.
Used oil and oil filters are accepted at several DSWA Drop-off Centers as well.
The best way to dispose of yard waste is to recycle it on-site. You can “grasscycle” by using a mulching mower and leave grass clippings to enrich your lawn. Compost yard waste and kitchen scraps for use in your garden. Your waste hauler may offer yard waste collection, or you can take it to a drop-off facility. Remember, yard waste may not be disposed of with your trash or in Delaware landfills.