Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What can I recycle?
    • Plastic bottles & jugs, collapsed and with lids screwed back on
    • Glass jars and bottles of any color
    • Aluminum and steel cans
    • Cartons
    • Empty aerosol cans with lids and tips removed
    • Paperboard (cereal boxes, etc.)
    • Cardboard (broken down to 3-foot-by-3-foot sections
    • A variety of paper products, including office paper, newspaper, magazines, junk mail and envelopes (with or without windows), telephone books and paper grocery bags
  2. What is a carton?
    Cartons are a type of packaging for food and beverage products. Cartons are easy to recognize and are available in two types -- refrigerated and shelf-stable cartons. Refrigerated cartons include milk, juice, cream and egg substitutes that are found in the chilled sections of grocery stores. Shelf-stable cartons include juice boxes, soup and broth, soy milk, wine cartons and other non-refrigerated products found on the shelves of stores.
  3. Can I recycle plastic bags?
    Plastic bags aren’t currently accepted in the City’s curbside recycling program, due to the stringent standards for the reselling of this material.  Manufactures require plastic bags be clean, dry and in like-new condition to use in the manufacturing process. Due to the collection and separation process; Rumpke Recycling can’t meet manufacturer’s standards. Many local retailers have established a plastic bag recycling program. We encourage you to seek out these types of opportunities to recycle your plastic bags.
  4. How should I prepare my recycling?
    Remove lids and rinse glass bottles and jars. Steel lids may be placed in the recycling bins as well.
  5. Why can everything go into one bin?
    Rumpke Recycling, which administers the City’s recycling program, is proud to take part in a sorting process called "Single Stream Recycling." Through this process, residents can place all recyclable items in their recycling bins for biweekly collection -- without sorting them. Eliminating the need for sorting makes the process easier on both residents and Rumpke drivers.

    All the recyclable materials are placed together in the recycling truck, and transported to a Materials Recovery Facility. At the Materials Recovery Facility, the recyclables are sent through a series of machines which separate the materials. Employees are stationed at several points throughout the facility to maintain quality control. Once the items have been separated, they are baled and shipped to end markets where they are manufactured into new items.
  6. Are additional carts available?
    Yes. There is no charge for an additional cart. Please call into 591-6000 and follow prompts for Recycling Questions or visit and make your request.
  7. When is my recycling collected?
    Your recycling will be collected the same day as your trash, every other week. Rumpke Recycling will collect the materials from your bin between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Please note that in some neighborhoods, Rumpke Recycling may service customers on one side of the street several hours before servicing customers on the opposite side. If your recycling is not collected before 3 p.m. (and it is usually collected before 3 p.m.) on your scheduled service day, please visit or call 591-6000 and Rumpke Recycling will send someone out that day to pick up your recycling.
  8. Why is a garbage truck picking up my recycling?
    Rumpke Recycling uses several different types of trucks to collect material. The most common types of trucks are box trucks and rear load trucks. Rumpke Recycling is slowly phasing out the use of box trucks now that recyclables no longer have to be separated by type. These box trucks are being replaced by rear load trucks, which hold more material than a box truck, making them more efficient.
  9. Where do my recyclables go?
    The City of Cincinnati's recyclables are transported to Rumpke Recycling’s Material Recovery Facility on Vine Street, where they are separated by type through a manual and mechanical process. The material is then shipped to manufactures across the country. The manufacturers convert it into new and useful products.  If you would like to learn more about the recycling process, please visit  Tours of the facility are also available.  Please call Rumpke at 1-800-582-3107 to schedule your visit.
  10. What do my recyclables get turned into?
    Some of the products your recyclables become include:
    • Plastic: Polyester suits, carpet fibers and backing, drainage pipes, park furniture and clothing
    • Glass: New glass containers, road bed aggregate and fiberglass components
    • Newspapers/Paper: More newsprint, paperboard, construction paper and animal bedding
    • Steel Cans: New cans, building materials and new food cans
    • Aluminum Cans: New cans, rain gutters and window frames
  11. Can I tour the recycling center?
    Yes. Residents can tour Rumpke Recycling’s facility. Rumpke ask that participants be at least a freshman in high school. Please call Rumpke at 1-800-582-3107 to schedule your visit.


For more than 20 years, Cincinnati residents have made recycling a daily habit, diverting more than 250,000 tons of material from the waste stream. In 2010, residents recycled a record 14,343 tons of metal, glass, plastic, and paper -- 1,153 more tons than the previous year!

Recycling efforts in Cincinnati:

  • Conserved enough energy to power every home in Cincinnati for 6 days.
  • Reduced more greenhouse gas pollution than if every household in Cincinnati did not drive a car for more than 3 weeks.
  • Saved 127,627 trees from being harvested.

On average, each household in Cincinnati recycled 193 pounds in 2010 -- 14% of all the waste each household generates.

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