Recycling has big benefits—it lowers climate emissions and saves resources and energy.  On the other hand, garbage sent to the landfill creates methane, a strong greenhouse gas that is 35 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.  Recycling just makes sense—it is free, easy to do, and can save you money!

Households: 17 completed, 17 committed
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Annual Savings
$0 - $0
Upfront Cost
These are estimates

Energy and water savings

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kWh Electricity
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Therms Natural Gas
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Gallons Gas
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Gallons Water
  • Reduce methane (climate) emissions
  • Save energy and money
  • Conserve precious natural resources

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The Action
We will recycle more and reduce our garbage sent to landfill.
Is this action for me?
Yes! This action is for everyone.
When and Who?
This action can be done anytime by anyone.
How long will it take?
Quick - just a bit of time to sort and put items in the recycling bin.
What is the cost?
No cost - and possible savings if you lower your garbage bin size.


  • Reduce methane (climate) emissions

  • Save energy and money

  • Conserve precious natural resources



Discover when recycling pickup occurs in your area, answer frequently asked questions about recycling, or request your own recycling bin from the city here.

Learn what to recycle where throughout Albemarle County. 

Don't have the space, knowledge, or desire to compost at home? Learn how to compost and where to drop off your compost at these locations for free!

The Basics

Almost all communities have curbside recycling or other community recycling programs. Recycling programs have expanded significantly and now take many more items. Take a moment to learn about your local program and add new stuff to your recycling bin! It’s easy to do and can even lower your garbage bill.


Find out what materials your local recycling program accepts
Check out local recycling center for other recycling options
Post a list on the fridge
Set up a bin
Reduce your garbage bin size and save money

Recycling makes a big difference

Recycling has become so much a part of our everyday routine that we often don’t think about the benefits.  Recycling makes a big difference!  First, it saves resources.  Every time you recycle something we don’t need to go find new resources.  For example, when you recycle paper, we don't need more trees to make new paper.  Second, it saves energy.  Recycling saves all the energy that goes into finding and extracting or creating new resources for production.

Third, it reduces our greenhouse gas emissions and helps protect our future.  When garbage goes to a landfill, over time it creates a very dangerous greenhouse gas called methane.  Methane is over 35 times stronger than carbon dioxide in warming our climate.  Recycling reduces methane emissions and is a very important part of addressing climate change and protecting our future.  

The best news - recycling is one of the easiest actions to take and can save money!  It doesn’t cost anything and requires very little effort.  If you increase your recycling enough to reduce the size of your garbage bin, you can often save money on your monthly garbage bill!  And, if you are looking for additional ways to help with a tight budget, you can sometimes get money back for some of your items.

Find out how your local program works

Every community has their own recycling program and programs vary.  The first step is to find out what your community program takes.  Look in the resources section below for links and information on your community program.  Many items are often included in curbside service, which makes it very convenient to participate.  However, some items that are harder to recycle may be part of a dropoff or occasional pickup program.  Check for these additional community recycling services.

In addition to community recycling services provided, there are also often local recycling centers where you can bring your materials and get money back!  Some items have higher value, like aluminum cans, copper or other metals and some electronics.  Check out your local recycling centers to see if there are some items worth collecting and taking in for some money.

Set up a bin and start recycling!

After you learn what your program takes, think about what bins or set up will help you recycle.  Generally the most convenient place is to have a bin is in the kitchen, for bottles, cans and other items.  However you also might want to have a small bin or box in a home office to collect paper and magazines or newspapers.  You might even want to have a small box in the garage to collect things like batteries and small electronic items as well.

Your community program will often have colorful how-to information sheets on what items they take.  Post this on the refrigerator or somewhere else in your house to help remind you of what you can put in the bins.  One tip - for anything that has food in it, remove the food and give it a quick rinse if it is really dirty.  This will help with odors in your bin and will also help your materials be ready for the highest value for reuse.

What does my stuff become after I recycle it?

Even the most commonly recycled items can become some surprising stuff.  Recycled paper and cardboard often become more paper and cardboard. However, you can also use recycled newspaper to insulate walls and attics.  Recycled plastics are used to create everything from soccer balls to carpet, clothes, furniture and more.  Recycled metal cans can become bike or car parts or help make new appliances.  Your stuff becomes new stuff and helps save energy and resources!

Composting -- Easy as 1-2-3

Another way to reduce garbage going to the landfill is to compost.  Composting is the process of taking your extra food, plant and other organic waste and facilitating the natural process of turning this material back into soil.  Compost then can be used in your garden to help cultivate new plants!

Composting creates some greenhouse gas emissions from the natural process of decomposition that happens during composting.  However, the emissions from composting are generally less than those created when compostable items go to the landfill.  Composting is catching on and more communities are adding curbside compost service.  Check in the resources section to see what your community provides.  If your community does not have curbside composting yet, consider encouraging your city to add it!

Even if you don’t have a curbside program, composting is easy to do:  1) collect your compostable material and bring it to your compost bin, 2) help your material turn back into soil, and 3) use your new soil in your garden!  Once you purchase your bin and the items to get started, composting requires very little time and effort.  Check out more information on setting up a home composting system.  Some common items that you can compost:

  • Food Waste (banana peels, vegetable trimmings, moldy bread, eggshells, etc.)

  • Soiled Paper (“to-go” cardboard boxes, pizza boxes, napkins, coffee cups, etc.)

  • Yard Trimmings

Buy recycled!

Finally, complete the circle and buy recycled!  The next time you are shopping look for the recycled symbol.  Buying recycling is about more than just paper!  From clothes to kitchen countertops, recycled items are everywhere.  Every time you buy a recycled product you are helping to save energy and precious natural resources