What's Happening in the Winston-Salem, NC and Triad Area, Since 2010
Home > Resources > Winston-Salem Recycling: What Can You Really Recycle?

Winston-Salem Recycling: What Can You Really Recycle?

How do we keep this site running? This post may contain affiliate links — the cost is the same to you, but we get a referral fee. Compensation does not affect rankings. Thanks!

Winston-Salem recycling support varies from city to city. For those that live in the twin cities, here’s a list of things you can recycle. Anything not on this list should not be recycled at this time unless taken to a specific facility or using an online provider (for which we also provide details).

On this page you’ll find: Curbside Pickup Do’s and Dont’s | Details on Individual Items | Tips & Guidelines | Where to Recycle Hard to Recycle Items | Online Services | Questions?

Curbside Pickup

Here’s the do’s and don’ts for curbside pickup (rollout cart program). The city now offers rollout Winston-Salem recycling carts that are picked up on a bi-weekly basis. These carts hold five-times as much as the green bins and protect materials to be recycled from the weather. Biweekly collection saves fuel, reduces emissions and saves you trips to the curb. Because the pickup is automated, here are some guidelines that will help with collection.

  • No sorting required. All items to be recycled can mingle in the cart.
  • Be sure the lid closes.
  • Put your cart out at the edge of the curb (not in the street) with the front of the cart facing the street.
  • Leave at least three feet of space around the cart.
  • Do not place the cart under low-lying limbs or power lines.
  • Put your cart out by 6 a.m. and remove by the next day.

List Of Things You Can Recycle via Curbside Pickup

  • Glass Bottles & Jars – green, brown and clear only (no caps)
  • Corrugated Cardboard – flattened and no larger that 3×3 feet (larger cardboard boxes may be taken to collection sites located throughout the city – see below)
  • Junk mail
  • Office Paper such as envelopes, notebook paper, office paper
  • Chipboard (usually brown or gray on the inside) such as cereal boxes, paper towel cores, facial tissue boxes, etc. Please remove any foil or plastic liners.
  • Newspaper, magazines, catalogs, phone books
  • Plastic bottles and jugs #1 through #7 but only if the neck is smaller than the base of the package
  • Aluminum and Steel food and beverage cans, glass food and beverage jars/bottles, aerosol cans.
  • Cardboard Milk & Juice Cartons – but no bottle caps

List Of Items You Should NOT Recycle In Your Curbside Bin

Again, we repeat – please DO NOT include the following items in your curbside recycle bin!

  • Antifreeze containers
  • Batteries
  • Books – that includes binders and spiral notebooks
  • Ceramic containers or deli containers
  • Herbicide/Pesticides
  • Glass – dishes, drinking glasses, window glass, mirrors, etc.
  • Light Bulbs
  • Mirrors or Window Glass
  • Motor Oil Containers
  • Paint Cans
  • Plastics – bags, newspaper bags, wrap, toys, containers, food trays, cups, etc.
  • Pots or Pans
  • Pyrex or Housewares containers or items (glass or ceramic)
  • Styrofoam
  • Wide-Mouth Plastic Containers
  • Boxes with food – pizza boxes or any cardboard boxes that are contaminated with food or grease residue.

More Details On Recycling Items

Ever wonder if a particular piece of cardboard or plastic can be recycled? Can you recycle cereal boxes, for example? Can you recycle plastic or cardboard that doesn’t have the recycling symbol on it? Below is some more detail on what you should, and should not, recycle.

Chipboard

You can recycle cereal boxes, dry food boxes, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, etc. NO Styrofoam egg cartons, waxed aluminum foiled or plastic coated boxes, such as milk, juice cartons, frozen food cartons, etc. If the package has inside chipboard it can be recycled. NO pizza boxes, boxes with grease or food residue, or packing materials.

Glass Bottles

Only clear, green or brown glass bottles are allowed. NO ceramics, dishes, drinking glasses, light bulbs, mirrors, Pyrex, window glass or any glass that is not a container.

Plastic Bottles & Jugs

The neck of the container must be smaller than the base or widest part. NO bottle caps or tops, containers that are not bottles, such as deli or yogurt containers, margarine tubs or wide-mouth prescription bottles.

Tips and Guidelines

  • Do not place any recyclables in plastic bags.
  • Empty aerosol cans and remove the lids.
  • Remove caps and lids from glass food and beverage jars and bottles. Rinse the jars and bottles.
  • Rinse and flatten cans. If you use the type of can opener that leaves a sharp edge on the lid, stop before completely removing the lid and then push the lid down inside the can before flattening it.
  • Remove caps from plastic bottles, rinse and flatten. Plastic bottles #1 through #7 are accepted.
  • Remove newspapers from the plastic sleeve. No plastic bags are accepted.
  • Remove the plastic and foil liners from chipboard containers.
  • Shredded office paper may be placed in a brown paper bag in such a way as to reduce litter, and placed in the Winston-Salem recycling cart.
  • Flatten corrugated cardboard boxes before placing them in the cart.

Where To Recycle #5s, Batteries, Bulbs, Electronics & Other “Hard to Recycle” Items

Cell Phones, Batteries & Printer Cartridges

These can be mailed in to the City of Winston-Salem. Just pick up a pre-labeled bag for mailing in the Lobby of the Bryce A. Stuart Municipal Building (100 East First Street downtown) or call 336-727-8153 for more details. Then put your empty inkjet cartridges and cell phones into the bag and place them into your mailbox for the USPS to deliver safe and sound.

Recycle Electronics at Goodwill

Electronics can also be troublesome in that it is often dangerous to dispose of these items through traditional waste removal routes. So, take your unusable electronics to any of the local Goodwill of Northwest locations around Winston-Salem. This includes computers, printers and monitors. It does not matter where you bought it – just bring it, and they will take care of it properly. And there’s an added bonus: the donation is tax-deductible, so this is a great option to get a little return on your investment while also making our city a better place.

Electronics at Lowes Home Improvement, Best Buy, & Home Depot Too

Lowes Home Improvement, a North Carolina company, offers recycling at the store entrance for customers to recycle cell phones, rechargeable batteries, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and plastic shopping bags. They also offer a recycling program for wood pallets and will recycle your old appliances with the purchase of a new one. Lowes Garden Centers also now accept plastic plant trays, pots and tags to recycle. More details on the Lowe’s recycling program.

Home Depot also accepts CFLs, rechargeable batteries and cell phones in receptacles near their customer service desks. More details on the Home Depot recycling program.

Best Buy accepts many electronics and appliances. More details on the Best Buy recycling program.

Take your Plastic Caps to Aveda

Plastic twist-off caps and lids can be recycled at Aveda salons.

#5 Plastics at Whole Foods

Plastic items marked with a recycling #5 and batteries can NOT go into your recycle bins here in Winston-Salem. Our local Whole Foods store on Miller Street accepts your #5 items (by the bakery section). However, alkaline batteries and plastic bags are no longer accepted.

Online Services

Three websites we’ve used ourselves and would highly recommend for recycling hard-to-recycle items:

Keep Winston-Salem And North Carolina Green!

That’s it! Might seem like a lot at first but you’ll get the hang of it quickly. And if you consider that the people in New York put out enough trash each day to fill the Empire State Building, you start to realize the impact your little recycling efforts have. If everyone recycled and composted instead of throwing everything into the trash, we could cut the amount of trash produced by more than half. You’ll probably notice yourself that once you get into recycling, and especially if you decide to compost as well, that you’re wheeling your trash can to the street less and less.

You can get more up-to-date information on the city’s recycling programs on their recycling page.

What have you had difficulty recycling?

Source: www.cityofws.org/departments/sanitation/collections/recycle-today

Alex is a Winstonite (and Salemite) and tennis enthusiast. You'll catch him hitting balls at Miller Park, grabing a cold beer at 1st Street Draft House, or chowing down on a tasty tomato pie at Mozelle's just about any day of the week.

Leave a Reply

39 Comments on "Winston-Salem Recycling: What Can You Really Recycle?"

avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Kim

I know I can’t recycle old pots and pans but can I put them in my regular trash container? Thanks!

Michelle Schenker
Admin
Michelle Schenker

Hi Kim! We would suggest that you donate your pots and pans to Goodwill rather than throwing them out or call the city to learn the current status for recycling of these items. Thanks!

Pissed Off
Pissed Off
I think it’s absolutely stupid that the #5 containers aren’t accepted. I know just our family of two have many yogurt tubs, margarine tubs and the like to recycle each month. Would you rather us put them in the landfill? For the whole city there’s one place that accepts #5 materials. Do you think I’m going to cart a pile of containers across town to Whole Foods every month or two? No, I’m not. And besides, I’m betting they have a limit and/or probably only accept materials from items they sell. What does the city do with the ones that… Read more »
Kristi Marion
Admin
Kristi Marion

Hi “Pissed Off”,
We agree that more options for recycling #5 containers would be a welcome addition. It’s our understanding that the City does not currently have the equipment and processes to recycle this type of plastic, and that Whole Foods ships these to facilities that can. We will inquire and get you a more thorough answer!
Thanks so much for recycling and you care for the environment!
Cheers,
Kristi
MyWinston-Salem.com

My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem

Not in the curbside recycling bin, but several locations accept them. Checkout the #5 section in the article above for details.

Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Nice post. Plastic items marked with a recycling #5 can NOT go into your recycle bins here in Winston-Salem. But, our local Whole Foods store on Miller Street has started a program to accept your #5 items and recycle them. So, gather them up at home and then make the trip to Whole Foods to make sure these are recycled appropriately. Thanks a lot for posting this article.

My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem

Pizza boxes are a no no. Even if you've cleaned out all the pizza, the oils from the cheese permeate the cardboard and make it inadequate for recycling.

My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem

Do you mean plastic? What brand are you buying that makes their juice containers out of wax? The milk and OJ, etc. containers you find at your local grocery store (the square, tall, plastic coated paper ones) cannot be recycled.

My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem

Normally you want to take your yard can, because at least in Winston-Salem, you paid for it and the sticker on it is your license to use it. You can re-order trash and recycling bins for the new house since they're a free, public service. But confirm with your city by calling their sanitation department either way.

My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem

Hi there,
Excellent question! You can't technically recycle most Christmas wrapping paper (unless specifically mentioned that it's recyclable, the paper tends to contain elements that can't easily be processed for recycling). However, if you open your presents carefully, you should be able to simply reuse your wrapping paper, which one ups recycling by conserving 100% of the resource!
🙂

My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem
In general, you want to cut it up so it fits nicely within your recycle bin (they don't like it if you stack it up on the curb beside the bin, or leave whole boxes). Also, generally you can only recycle cardboard that is pure cardboard – ie. not coated in gloss on one side as is typical with packaged consumer goods. That being said, the rules also vary by district. Call your local recycling authority to find out the specifics for your city. Let us know how it goes! We're always looking forward to hearing updates on what local… Read more »
My Winston-Salem
My Winston-Salem

As long as the cardboard fits in your recycling bin without completely overflowing, they should take it. If not, I would complain!
Note that you can ask them to deliver more than one recycling bin to your property (we use two).

Anonymous
Anonymous

Can I recycle covers to plastic containers which are marked #5? I recently had some left at the curb when I put them out in my bin.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks for posting the article on recycling items in W-S. May I know what the procedure is for recycling these listed items? Also, can tablet wrappers be recycled?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Can you recycle these?

Anonymous
Anonymous

What about pizza boxes? I've cleaned out all the food, so as far as I can tell all that's left is cardboard…

Anonymous
Anonymous

Can I recycle wrapping paper from Christmas presents?

Anonymous
Anonymous

What are the exact rules for cardboard. I have some no bigger than 3×3 and they don't pick it up, sometimes they do. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Recycling is a must. Yes, these days we have to intentionally care for planet Earth. Let's face it folks, health matters!

Anonymous
Anonymous

I flatten my boxes of cardboard and made sure they were smaller than 3×3. When they didn't pick it up I called and asked why they left a voice mail a few days later and said I had too much. I want to know how much I can do at one time so I can put that much out for a few weeks till it's gone.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Where can I recycle old electronics?

Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

We're moving, and our new place has a trash can, but no recycling or yard cans. Should we move them from our existing house or order new ones?

wpDiscuz