Zero Waste DC

Information taken from DC Department of Public Works and Zero Waste DC's new website.


Earlier this year an expanded list of recyclable items was announced in the District. While residents serviced by the Department of Public Works (DPW) have been able to recycle the new items for several months, starting on January 1, 2018, all residential and commercial properties—including multi-family dwellings, office buildings, and restaurants—will be required to recycle this full suite of materials. And to make things simple, the items that should be recycled are now uniform throughout DC—whether you’re at home, work, or school.

The District strives to achieve a goal of diverting 80 percent of citywide waste from landfills and waste to energy facilities. The increased number of recyclable items and focus on resident education aims to assist in achieving this goal.

New items added to the list of recyclable items in the District include: pizza boxes; paper and plastic plates, cups, lids, and to-go containers; plastic produce, deli/bakery containers, and trays. Through the addition of these items, the District joins a select group of cities that accept food service packaging for recycling, thereby supporting the development of local and national solutions to recycling new materials.

As a reminder, plastic bags, wraps, and film are not accepted in the District’s recycling. These items clog facility equipment, imposing downtime and safety hazards to recycling facility employees. Many supermarkets and large retailers have plastic shopping bag return/recycling bins in their stores. (Drop them off at the 1855 Wisconsin Avenue Safeway or other participating grocery store or retailer.) Residents are asked to place recyclables into their blue bins loose, or in paper bags.

In addition, effective January 1, 2018, electronics (e.g., computers and monitors, keyboards, printers, laptops, VCRs, TVs, etc.) are banned from the trash and should be recycled at the Fort Totten Transfer Station or through other drop-off locations and mail-back options.

For more information and resources related to recycling in the district, please visit Sign up here to learn more about recycling, composting, and how you can reach your own Zero Waste goal. Check out for specifics on trash, recycling, and disposal of special waste. And follow Zero Waste DC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Questions? Please email

Background. The Mayor’s List of Recyclables was developed following a survey of eight material processing facilities (MRFs) within a 45-mile radius of the District. Materials added to the list were accepted by a majority of MRFs in the region. The Mayor’s List is a requirement of the Sustainable Solid Waste Management Amendment of 2014. The purpose of which is to provide a single comprehensive list of recyclable and compostable materials for DC residents, schools, and businesses. (Read the FAQs and two-page Recycling Fact Sheet.)

Related Reading