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We accept only #1 and #2 plastic bottles and jugs. This includes water bottles, sports drink bottles, laundry detergent containers, shampoo bottles and any other plastic container with a neck. However, those numbers on the bottoms of containers can be misleading so the best way for consumers to recycle correctly it to pay attention to the shape. The majority of plastic bottles and jugs are #1 and #2.
Plastics #3-7 are not accepted at this time. Unfortunately the chemical makeup of these items leads them to be unmarketable to the manufacturers that are making new items out of recycled materials. Several Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) have accepted these items for the past few years, but there isn't a market for them at this time.
Use our new Recyclopedia tool to search for other waste items, and we'll tell you how to recycle or dispose of them.
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Unfortunately many of the items that residents were previously putting in their cart were not supposed to go in there in the first place (on average 25% of what we put in our cart is not recyclable). We are cleaning up the recycling stream with this new program and all of our outreach and education. Consumers need to do their part by knowing what is and isn’t recyclable rather than just “wishful recycling” that clogs up the waste stream, breaks equipment and makes recycling more expensive.
Here's what you can put in your cart:
Visit our accepted recyclables page to search for ways to recycle and dispose of waste items.
Unfortunately, yogurt cup containers are no longer recyclable. This is a repercussion of the international trade restrictions that were recently enacted because those items used to be sent overseas for recycling and there is no longer a market for them. Hopefully, domestic markets will open up and we will be able to add those items back into our recycling stream. For now all we can do is focus on reducing and reusing!
Shredded paper is not allowed in the curbside cart with one exception–if the shredded paper is in long strips (not crosscut into short strips or confetti) it can be placed in a paper bag and put into the curbside recycling cart. Otherwise it needs to be disposed of in the regular trash.
Numbers 3-7 will not be accepted. Unfortunately, the chemical makeup of these items lead them to be unmarketable to the manufacturers that are making new items out of recycled materials at this time. Many Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) have been accepting these items for the past few years (County Waste included), but unfortunately there just isn't a market for them and so they sit in bales on the MRF property waiting for a buyer. The only market at this time seems to be waste-to-energy (i.e. burning trash to make electricity). However, it is important to the County that everything we collect for recycling from our residents is actually being recycled and not burned for energy so we have removed that item from our list.
The only items that are being excluded (that were included before) are plastic containers such as yogurt cups and clamshells because there simply isn’t a market for those materials at this time. The good news is that these are a small percentage of our recycling stream. All of the items that we currently accept have always made up the majority of the items in the cart.
We are simply asking folks to pay attention to the shape of the plastic rather than the number to keep it simple and minimize confusion. We accept any plastic bottles and jugs (water bottles, sports drink bottles, laundry detergent containers, shampoo bottles and any other plastic container with a neck). This does include #1 and #2 plastics but those numbers on the bottoms of containers can be misleading and were created by the plastics industry to identify the chemical compounds that the materials are made of. The best way for consumers to recycle correctly it to pay attention to the shape.
Plastic bottles and jugs are the only ones that are marketable for recycling. The recycling industry is working hard to look for new markets so as they become available, we will definitely be adding more materials back into the stream.
View or download and print our Curbside Recycling Program brochure.
The number of plastics with a neck that are not #1 and #2 are minimal so the Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) can easily weed them out. Here is the technical explanation:
Plastics #1 and #2 with a neck are the only plastic containers that hold any value on the recycling commodities market at this time. Bottles with a neck are blow molded and melted at a certain temperature. Plastic bottles without a neck are injection molded and melted at a different temperature. When the two different types of materials are mixed in the recycling stream they create a contamination problem because there is no market for the injection molded plastics #1 and #2 at this time and they do not melt down together. To streamline the response we simply leave the numbers out of the conversation and tell folks that we accept any plastic bottle with a neck. The small number of plastics with a neck that are not #1 and #2 are easier for the MRF to weed out.
The County accepts the same materials at the convenience centers as we do in our curbside recycling program – we no longer accept the additional plastics at the convenience centers as of July 1.
James City County has gray carts with a tan lid that have TFC printed on the side. Recycling carts come in three sizes and have wheels.
No. Carts MUST be gray cart with a tan lid in order to be service by James City County; due to liability reasons.
Carts MUST be curbside the night before a collection OR by 7 a.m., the morning of the collection.
TFC will NOT return to the address if the cart was not out curbside by 7 a.m. on collection day.
We will schedule a missed collection for the address 24 hours after their scheduled collection. A missed collection will be serviced depending on when the resident contacts us. (If a resident has called in a missed collection by 12:00 noon, their items will be serviced that business day by 6 p.m. Anything after 12:00 noon, will be serviced on the next business day.
TFC will NOT remove items that are not placed inside the cart. The truck has a clamping arm that services the carts. Drivers are not required to step outside of their vehicles to service items on the ground. All items must be…
TFC will not service the small green/blue/black recycling containers. Those small containers are from other providers.
No. Due to liability reasons, carts MUST be the gray cart with a tan lid in order to be service by James City County or TFC.
No. James City County residents are serviced by TFC, who will only service recycling carts with gray bottoms and tan lids. Residents will need to contact the following companies for their policy information, service, and billing concerns.
Yes. Residents can schedule a Bulk collection if they have several boxes and/or wrapping paper that will not fit in their recycling carts. Residents can also request a courtesy collection if they have a lot of approved recyclable items needed to be removed. (ALL REQUESTS MUST BE APPROVED BY TFC).
Yes. Residents can request a cart exchange if their current cart is:
Residents can also requests additional carts, but will be charged accordingly.
No. Currently there are no additional charges if a resident requests an additional collection.
Carts are $7.00 per cart, per month.
Residents will be serviced curbside every other week unless they:
Cart deliveries will take place within 3-5 Business days of the request.
Cart removals will take place within 2-4 weeks of the request. Cart must be visible and not behind a gate or on a patio.
James City County charges $7.00 a month; however, we bill quarterly. You will start paying once you receive your first quarterly bill in the mail. You will be able to sign up for reminders as well as sign up for auto payment with the provided payment instructions attached to invoice.
All payment information will be updated daily in PCI. If PCI is not reflecting the correct payment information, all payment concerns must be directed to the Treasurer’s Office.
Residents can sign up for auto payment on the James City County website under Online Payments, when paying an open invoice. Residents will be able to request how they would like to be billed as well. To sign up for Reminders, the resident must go to their Curbside Recycling Schedule Online, and request notifications.