Residential Recycling Program

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Tempe Recycles 

Recycling should be a part of everyone's daily routine as Tempeans work together to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. By recycling materials, the amount of refuse that is disposed of in landfills is reduced. Waste materials are recycled into products with value. With Tempe's residential commingled recycling program, residents are able to recycle various types of paper, glass, aluminum, cardboard, steel cans, and plastics.

Guidelines for Blue Recycling Containers

  • Place container in street with wheels against curb or in your driveway next to the sidewalk by 6 A.M. on your collection day PDF
  • Don't block the sidewalk with the container
  • Place container at least 10 feet from parked vehicles or any fixed object
  • Remove the container from the curb by 8 P.M. on collection day and place container in the garage or behind fences 
  • Place only acceptable recyclable materials in container.
  • Keep them loose! Do not bag your recyclable items. 
  • Click here to request an additional recycling container

Recycling Tips

  • Buy better quality products with a longer useful life. These products often have an extended warranty and can be repaired rather than simply being thrown away.
  • Buy larger sizes. A single larger size package generally creates less waste than multiple smaller size packages.
  • Buy "refill packs" whenever you can. Many manufacturers of household products are redesigning their packaging so that you will be able to buy small packages of concentrates to refill the larger, more durable containers used to store their products.
  • Don't send useful articles of clothing that your family has outgrown to the landfill. Do a little mending and contribute such articles to a local charity.
  • Have old household appliances repaired rather than send them to the landfill. If you are buying a new appliance, donate the old one, rather than throw it away.
  • Talk to your family so everyone understands the importance of recycling. Collecting items for recycling is a great way for the kids to "earn" their allowance and help the environment at the same time.
  • Plan your meals carefully so that you can help reduce the 11 percent of waste that comes from food waste.
  • If you work in an office that makes a lot of copies, suggest that everyone try to copy on both sides of the paper. This cuts your use of copy paper in half.
Top 10 in the bin 

Do you recycle? Do you know what you can and cannot put in the blue bin? The City of Tempe has a recycling goal of 25 percent by 2020. To help achieve this goal, we need your help!

The top 10 things to put in your recycle bin are:

  1. broken down card board
  2. paper
  3. food boxes
  4. mail
  5. beverage cans
  6. food cans
  7. glass bottles
  8. jars (glass and plastic)
  9. jugs
  10. plastic bottles and caps

Did you know that you cannot put plastic bags and wraps into the blue bin? These soft plastics ruin the recycling equipment and cause challenges for recycling staff. You can recycle these items at your local grocery store, or save them for a Zero Waste Day.

The city has three Zero Waste Days annually, in January, April and November.  At these events, you can also recycle Styrofoam, electronics and textiles, as they items cannot go into the blue bins. For a specific list of locations and acceptable items for each event, please visit Zero Waste Days.

For more information about what to recycle and what not to recycle, please visit Top 10 in the bin.

  • When did Tempe's curbside commingled recycling program get started? February 1993.
  • What is commingled recycling? It is simply placing all the recyclables together in your recycling container. Residents are not required to separate recyclables.
  • What materials can be recycled? Plastic, glass, aluminum, steel (tin) cans, cardboard, chipboard, paper, newspapers, and magazines. See a complete list here.
  • Can multifamily dwellings, apartments, etc. recycle? While the neighborhood drop-off points are still available, because of the space limitations common to most multifamily residences, a recycling system must be tailored to each individual complex. For more information on recycling service for multi-family, please visit Commercial Recycling
  • What type of container is it? Our blue barrels are 90-gallon recycling containers. The containers are on wheels and are easily moved. They have hinged lids, are blue in color, are stenciled with the city of Tempe logo and they are also labeled "recycling only."
  • How does the recycling program work? Did you know your blue bin is free? Residents are asked to place their recyclable materials into their blue recycling container, and wheel it out to the curb on the assigned weekly collection day. Never bag recyclables. Keep them loose in your blue bin. Bagged recycling causes contamination and costs four times as much to process, sending loads to the landfill instead of being recycled.