Community Recycling Program

Community Recycling Program


The following is for guidance information only. Your community may have recyclable materials specific to your community. Each county or municipality should closely examine all the materials that are being generated and landfilled in your specific area and begin to look at those materials that can be recycled.

What materials should a community collect in a recycling program for residents?

  • Newspapers
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Steel Cans
  • Corrugated Boxes
  • Plastic Bottles
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • Used Motor Oil
  • Scrap Tires
  • White Goods (large appliances)
Items such as used motor oil, scrap tires, computer/electronics and white goods should be collected at one or more sites convenient to the public.

What type of collection containers or other storage containers are needed to collect recyclable materials for a community recycling program?

Communities that are looking at establishing a curbside recycling program will need to provide at the very minimum an 18 gallon plastic bin for each household to collect recyclables. Communities that are looking at establishing a drop-off recycling program will need to look at some type of trailer or similar drop-off collection system. The general rule of thumb is to have one drop-off location per every 3,000 to 3,500 people. Participation is the key to any of these programs. Never assume that the public already knows how to recycle or your program is doomed to fail. The Recycling and Solid Waste Reduction Program has developed some helpful materials for increasing participation in curbside and drop-off recycling programs for communities. Click here Curbside Information or Drop-off Information to view materials developed specifically for increasing participation in either of those programs.

In addition, the Recycling and Solid Waste Reduction Program has developed materials contained in a 3-ring binder listing manufacturers of recycling collection containers, curbside bins, carts, storage bins and trailers. The binder has brochures as well as contact information on each manufacturer of recycling collection equipment. Call us or send an e-mail and we'll be happy to send out on loan a copy of this binder. Click here on Recycling Container Manufacturers to view a list of manufacturers of various recycling collection and storage containers, curbside bins and trailers. Many of the recycling container/trailer manufacturers are also on our Recycling Links page. Click here on Links to Recycling Container/Trailer Manufacturers.

What type of equipment is needed to operate a community recycling program?

If your community chooses to operate a community owned recycling facility rather than sell materials to a private recycling facility, you'll need to invest in some of the following processing equipment. At minimum you'll need the following:

    • Vertical/Horizontal Baler
    • Fork Lift
    • Floor Jack
    • Can Sorter
    • Skid Steer Loader
A building to process and store collected materials will be critical to the success of the operation. Click here on Recycling Equipment to view information detailing recycling processing equipment.

How should recyclable materials be processed for marketing?

Click here on Processing Recyclable Materials to view information on processing these materials.

Where can collected/processed materials be marketed?

The Recycling and Solid Waste Reduction Program has compiled a list of markets for various recyclable materials. Click here on Recycling Directories to view these directories. The State-wide Recycling Directory lists profit and non-profit recycling facilities in the state which accept a wide range of materials including metals, paper, and plastics. There is also a number of directories for specific materials including paper, plastics, scrap tires, used motor oil, fluorescent lamps and mercury and computer/electronics. If you have any questions on materials which are not listed in these directories, contact our program and we'll be glad to assist you.

Are there any grants to assist in the development or expansion of a community recycling program?

MDEQ has several different grant programs that communities can apply for to help in establishing or expanding recycling and recycling education programs. These grants can be used to establish a curbside or drop-off recycling program, purchase equipment for processing recyclable materials, establish scrap tire and white goods collection programs, develop a recycling education program, and provide for 50% of the salary of an environmental enforcement officer. To learn more about these grants, contact the Solid Waste Management Branch staff directory or click here on Solid Waste and Tire Grants to go to this MDEQ website.

How should participants in the program be educated on recycling?

Education is the key to a successful recycling program in any community. The more you can educate, the higher the participation you will have, the less contaminants you'll find in the collected materials, the fewer complaints you'll receive, and the more efficient your program will be in the long run. In addition, recycling participation can be greatly increased by the addition of a Pay-As-You-Throw variable rate solid waste program for the residents. Information on this program can be found in the "Recycling Links" or click here on PAYT Information. The Recycling and Solid Waste Reduction Program has numerous resources that can assist your community in educating the public on recycling. We have samples of recycling education flyers, educational resources, trained recycling education speakers, and presentation materials. If you have questions, comments or need assistance, contact the Recycling and Solid Waste Reduction Program staff at MDEQ.