What you can and can’t recycle in Asheville

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Today, we’re diving into a topic near and dear to many Ashevillians – Recycling. Here’s a look at how it works locally, what is accepted, where to bring your non-standard items + more. ♻️

The basics: Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators (plus, keeping it out of streets, rivers + oceans). When materials are properly recycled they can be used to create new materials which in turn conserves natural resources,reducing the need to collect new raw materials (and therefore limits pollution), saves energy + supports local manufacturing. 🌎 Bonus: In 2016, 757,000 jobs + $36.6 billion in wages were created through U.S. recycling programs according to the EPA.

The process: After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility (locally, this is at N. Woodfin, serving Asheville, Fletcher, Woodfin + Weaverville) to be sorted, cleaned and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Once they are turned into the processed materials they can be used for any number of things such as newspapers, paper towels, soft drink containers, steel cans + plastic laundry detergent bottles. The recycling loop is continued by buying new products made from recycled materials. 💰

In 2016-17, Asheville recycled 590 pounds per household, the highest rate in N.C., and a 74% increase from 2011 when Asheville launched a single-stream recycling program and launched the big blue bins in Asheville. 👏

What can + can’t you you recycle in Asheville?

According to Curbie, the following Recyclables are accepted in Buncombe County –

  • All plastics marked # 1-7, including bottles, jugs and jars, as well as yogurt and margarine tubs, dairy containers, plastic drink cups, deli containers, and produce boxes
  • Aluminum pie tins + food trays
  • Milk and Juice cartons
  • Juice boxes + soup cartons
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Metal food and beverage cans
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Newspapers and inserts
  • Corrugated cardboard + moving boxes
  • Mixed paper, including catalogs, junk mail, magazines, egg cartons (paper only) envelopes, manila envelopes, office paper, phone books, glossy paper, post-it notes, cereal and similar boxes, brown paper bags + empty paper towel tubes

The following items are not accepted in your regular recycling bins (and alternatives for how you can recycle them) –

    • Used cooking oils. | Alt: take to Blue Ridge Biofuels drop of locations
    • Motor oil + used oil filters | Alt: Can be recycled at most auto stores and garages. Take to Advanced Auto or Autozone for free recycling.
    • White goods, appliances including stoves | Alt: Take to Biltmore Iron & Metal Company
    • Medical equipment | Alt: Take to ABCCM or Habitat for Humanity
    • Empty propane tanks | Alt: Take to Biltmore Iron & Metal Company
    • Styrofoam (regardless of type and the number on the item)
    • Plastic bags, shopping bags, cereal bags, Ziploc bags, shrinkwrap, dry cleaning bags, chip bags. | Alt: Reuse plastic bags as small trash can liners, and wash out your Ziploc bags for switch to silicone bags that you can put in the dishwasher.
    • Plastic soda can rings | Tip: Cut these before throwing away so they don’t get stuck around wild-life
    • Plastic bubble wrap | Alt: take to any UPS store
    • Hardcover books | Alt: Donate to POP, Pages Opening People, a local non-profit which finds homes for donated books. Hardcover is made with cloth, leather, or plastic, and the glue used to bind it is not easily removable. It is advised to donate these books since they are built to last a long time.
    • Batteries | Alt: Recycle at Lowes or Home Depot through the Call2Recycle program. Batteries can also be recycled at Hard to Recycle Events and given to electronic stores.
    • Paint cans | Asheville’s hazardous waste program takes these. They must be emptied or dried out to be collected with trash. Can also be taken to Buncombe County Landfill.
    • Flower pots | Alt: Recycle with Lowes
    • Hard, bulky plastics (kiddie pools, toys, buckets, chairs)
    • Tooth brushes, plastic razors, cosmetic + soft plastic personal care containers
    • Food Grade Styrofoam (egg cartons, take away containers, cups & plates) | Alt: Publix Grocery Stores
    • Sharp objects (needles) | Can be recycled by placing them in hard plastic container with a screw on cap (laundry detergent jug) and taken to Buncombe County Transfer Station (190 Hominy Creek Rd.)
    • Fluorescent + Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs | Home Depot and Lowe’s Home Improvement collect them at these locations (127 Acton Cir., 795 Fairview Rd., 19 McKenna Rd., 89 S. Tunnel Rd., 95 Smokey Park Hwy.)

  • Car batteries | Cannot be thrown away. Many stores accept them, especially when you buy a new car battery

  • Brush | City of Asheville collects leaves, brush, etc. separately from normal recycling collection. Click here to find your scheduled day for pickup. Everything should be on the curb by 7 a.m. of your scheduled pickup day. Here’s how you prepare brush for collection
  • Leaves | Collected twice a month at 7 a.m. on collection day. Places leaves in a container labeled leaves or brush Leave container open do not tie it or put a lid on it. Do not mix with trash. It is possible to compost leaves by: Running a mulching mower over leaves will allow them to compost directly into the lawn, Raking them into a compost pile.
  • Household Hazardous Waste | Collection days are held throughout the year at the landfill located at 85 Panther Branch Rd.

What about larger items like appliances, furniture, box springs, dehumidifiers, dryers, fans, building supplies, bikes, etc.? Junk Recyclers is a local company which either re-sells these items (giving them a new home) or they’ll recycle the salvagable parts through a local recycling center. What they take here + prices here.

Where to recycle in AVL?

Have something you know you can recycle, but it won’t fit in your big blue bin? Here are options for drop-off.

  • Buncombe County Transfer Station | 190 Hominy Creek Road | Monday-Friday 8am – 4pm, Saturday 8am to 1pm | Accepts bagged household trash + Recycling. No loose items accepted.
  • Buncombe County Landfill | 85 Panther Branch Rd, Alexander | Monday-Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm, Saturday 8:00am to 1:00pm | Accepts most recyclable items

DYK: The Transfer Station has a moving box exchange? If you are in need of some boxes please stop by and take as many as you need.

Residents within the city limits of Asheville, Fletcher, Woodfin + Weaverville are given two bins for trash + recycling to be picked up weekly by Buncombe County Curbside Management free of charge.

Residents outside the city limits or businesses looking to enroll in curbside pickup can do so by contacting Curbside Management at 828.252.2532 or filling out an application online.

Greenworks Asheville hosts several Hard 2 Recycle events throughout the year in which they partner with local companies to make a central location for the community to bring items that are not accepted at typical drop-off locations. Items accepted at these events include: books, appliances, metals, batteries, electronics, pet supplies, computers, cell phones, styrofoam, personal care products + more.


Can corrugated cardboard be put in the mixed residential bins?

Do bottles and containers need to be rinsed?

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