New in Fiscal Year 2023-24, we've partnered with North Carolina Central University Athletics for a Recycle Right Durham campaign! The ad is below, and you can also see it on Spectrum and you may see banners on various websites. Please use the Waste Wizard below to search for what to recycle and how. Contaminated recycling costs the city over $300,000 each year. Let's reduce, reuse, and recycle right Durham!

 If you are not sure if an item is recyclable, keep it simple and safe. These items are always safe and desirable: bottles, jugs, cans, jars, paper and cardboard. If you want to explore more deeply, use the handy "Wizard" tool below to search for recyclable items, or download this quick reference guide.


In Durham, it's easy to recycle. Place all acceptable recycling items loose in your blue cart. There is no need for any sorting. Also, please DO NOT bag your recyclables. 


All paper must be clean and dry. Discard anything that is wet or contaminated by dirt, paint, chemicals, food, etc. Boxes with wax coating and/or grease and food residue are unacceptable. Do not bundle or place anything in bags. No shredded paper please. Hardback books will not be accepted.


Cardboard should be flattened and should fit inside your blue recycling cart.  For new move-in residents of the City of Durham, cardboard that cannot fit inside your blue recycling cart, must be flattened and a scheduled collection arranged by placing a call to the City's Durham One Call Center. Residents may also take large volumes of flattened cardboard to the City's Transfer Station.

Glass & Metal

Only glass bottles and jugs are acceptable. Anything with grease and food residue is unacceptable. Fluorescent bulbs should be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Facility. Please, no drinking glasses or mirrors or other household glass.


Rinse containers to remove grease and food residue. Do not place anything in the cart longer than 2 feet or heavier than 40 pounds. Do not place anything in the cart that has come into contact with petroleum products or hazardous waste. Do not place any plastic bags in your cart.

If you are unsure, use the "Waste Wizard" tool above to search for your item to learn the proper method of disposal.

Other/ Miscellaneous

Most reusable items that are not eligible for your recycling cart can be taken to the Waste Disposal and Recycling Center or donated to a thrift store.