“Can this be recycled?” It’s a common question in households. The Loudoun County Recycling Guide helps provide answers, which can lead to a reduction in the amount of waste in the recycling stream.

“Our recycling guide helps take the guesswork out of recycling,” said Loudoun County Recycling Specialist Tony Hayes. “It’s never a good idea to simply assume something is recyclable and just let the recycling companies sort it out. We call that ‘wishful recycling,’ which contributes to significant waste in the recycling process and reduces the value of recycling, financially and environmentally.”

The Loudoun County Recycling Guide lists items that can be recycled through curbside recycling and at the county’s recycling drop-off centers. Items not specifically listed as acceptable materials should not be placed in a recycling container until your local service provider is contacted to confirm whether they can be recycled.

Common Mistakes – Plastic bags, plastic foam (such as Styrofoam), empty motor oil containers and recyclables sealed in plastic trash bags are common items mistakenly set out for recycling. Here’s what to do instead:

  • Return plastic grocery bags to grocery stores for recycling.
  • Place plastic foam and empty motor oil containers in the trash.
  • Do not seal recyclables in plastic bags; instead deposit them loosely in recycling bins.

Hazardous items also found in recycling bins include batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, pressurized cans and other hazardous materials. These items should not be placed in recycling bins or even the trash, but instead disposed of at one of the county’s household hazardous waste or business hazardous waste collection events.

Glass Bottles and Jars – Currently, one of the most common questions about recycling concerns glass bottles and jars. While glass bottles and jars are still accepted in some curbside recycling programs, the glass is not always able to be put to a beneficial use and may be discarded as waste. Loudoun County has established a glass recycling program at six recycling drop-off centers where glass bottles and jars are collected separately from other recyclable materials to ensure they are recovered for another use. More details are available at loudoun.gov/recycling.

More Information – More information about the county’s recycling and waste management programs is available by calling 703-771-5500 or visiting loudoun.gov/wastemanagement.