Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Universal Recycling?

    Universal Recycling is a State Law, which requires all trash haulers, including municipalities, to provide single-stream curbside recycling service to their customers by delivering an appropriate sized recycling cart and collecting recycling at least once every two weeks. If you are interested in reading the Universal Recycling law in its entirety please click here.

  • Who collects my recycling?

    Each trash hauler is required to provide recycling collection at least once every two weeks. To view a list of licensed haulers click here .

  • What can be recycled?

    Listed below are the materials that should be placed in your Curbside Recycling Cart. Items should be placed in loose and not in trash bags.

    • Newspapers/Brown Paper Bags
    • Magazines/Catalogs
    • Telephone/Soft Cover Books
    • Junk Mail/Envelopes (all types)
    • Paper
    • Paperboard (cereal/tissue boxes)
    • Cardboard
    • Glass Bottles/Jars (any color)
    • Metal Cans (tin/steel/aluminum
    • #1 PET plastic food and beverage containers.
    • #2 HDPE plastic food and beverage containers. No motor oil or anti-freeze containers.
      – HDPE Mixed Rigid Plastics- kitty litter containers, small plastic buckets (up to 5 gallon), milk crates, small toys, and plastic trays.
    • #4 LDPE butter tubs, sour cream containers, and margarine tubs.
    • #5 Polypropylene yogurt containers, cottage cheese containers
    • #7 Mixed plastics various containers. Cartons and aseptic containers- juice boxes, orange juice and milk cartons.

    It is recommended that plastic bags be returned to a store where plastic bags are used. Every store that supplies plastic bags will have a receptacle to recycle them.

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    Click the chart for a great resource to have in your home and easily display for your family or guests what can be recycled in your home. This chart can be found in the ‘How to Recycle’ guide which was created by DSWA and the Department of Natural Recourses and Environmental Control. The ‘How To’ guide provides not a only a great resource for determining what is and is not acceptable to recycle in Delaware, but information on other things that can be recycled outside of your curbside collection, or ways to dispose of things like Hazardous Waste probably.


  • What happens to my recyclables?

    Material collected at DSWA Drop-Off Centers or through various curbside recycling collections is transported to either the Delaware Recycling Center (DRC) or the Milford Transfer Station.  All DSWA curbside recycling materials are taken to one or the other depending on the pick-up location.  Recyclables are then loaded into a transfer trailer (a large truck designed for transfer of large amounts of material), the recycling is taken to a sorting facility also known a Material Recovery Facilities (MRF).  A MRF uses a system of sorting mechanisms, which can separate the recyclables into individual material groups such as paper products, plastic, glass etc. This prepares the material to be sent to their respective market. Once the material is separated into its individual groups, it is then baled. A baling system puts a large amount of the same material together typically in a square shape to be sent to the actual recycling facility, which turns material into a new product.

    DSWA is very excited that now, thanks to a partnership with ReCommunity, Delaware has its own MRF, so that all recycling collected in Delaware is sorted and prepared for market right here in Delaware.

    ReCommunity, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a leading recycling, recovery and repowering company that is focused on dramatically reducing the volume of land-filled waste through conversion into useful products such as recycled commodities, low-carbon energy, engineered feedstock, bio-fuels and other value-added recycled products. ReCommunity has designed a wonderful education website to show everyone exactly how a MRF operates.

  • Take a Virtual Tour of a Materials Recovery Facility