What’s Recyclable in Delaware?

Anything is recyclable if there is a market for it. Most materials are able to be recycled, but what is collected for recycling is limited.

This is usually due to economics. Recycling systems require collection and processing. Costs and feasibility matter. For example, a material that has a low economic value and is difficult to handle or process is not going to be collected in most recycling programs. So the better question is “What is acceptable?”


Nearly all single stream single stream recycling programs in Delaware accept the same group of commonly recycled items.

Paper products such as cartons, magazines, catalogs, phonebooks, junk mail, envelopes, newspapers, corrugated cardboard, cereal boxes, paper bags, white and colored paper, and paperback books.
Aluminum, steel and tin cans.
Glass bottle and jars.

Rigid plastic containers, such as bottles, jugs, crates, and tubs.

Delaware Recycling Poster

Not Acceptable

There are some things that are generally not acceptable in most recycling programs. Being “not acceptable” does not necessarily mean that it is not recyclable. It means that your recycling collector does not want it.

Anything with food residue or liquids.
(Pizza boxes free of cheese, sauce, and crust are OK for recycling)

Used aluminum foil or trays.


Waxed paper.

Plastic shell packaging.

How to Recycle Guide (PDF)

Special Recyclables

Lots of other materials can be recycled. Many of them are items that you might discard much less often. These include:

  • Electronics
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Cellphones
  • Ink cartridges
  • Building materials
  • Organics, Compostables, and Yard Waste
  • Clean Styrofoam (Call DSWA @ 1-800-404-7080)

For more information visit the How to Recycle Guide or visit

Close The Recycling Loop

Always remember to look for items with recycled content when you shop. Collecting recyclables is important. But if you really support materials going full circle, buy items with recycled content.

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