Luckily for all of us who live in the city of Dallas, it’s easy to recycle here. It’s also free—and in fact, you can even make money recycling, depending on what materials you have and how you recycle them.
On the other hand, recycling rules can be complex in any city. On top of that, many people recycle the wrong things, or throw out things they could in fact recycle.
This article will teach you how to recycle anything in Dallas (or nearly anything!)—and how to help protect our environment by doing so.
As a Dallas resident, you can receive a free blue recycling bin, and have general recycling at your home picked up for free. You can also drive general recycling to numerous city recycling dropoff locations.
These are the things you can recycle in the blue bins: mixed paper (including newspapers, magazines, and junk mail), cardboard, glass bottles and jars, metal cans, cartons, and plastic containers (plastic #1-5 and plastic #7).
Be sure to recycle clean items. Rinse out cans and plastic containers, and tear off and throw away portions of pizza boxes that have cheese stuck to them. Keeping recyclables relatively clean keeps city employees safe and machines running efficiently. Do note you can always bring aluminum cans to Encore to receive cash for them!
Here are some things to keep out of the recycling bins: plastic bags and film, styrofoam, paper towels, toys, clothes, and metal hangers. One surprising item you can’t recycle: shredded paper! You might choose to compost your paper shreds, or if you hang on to them, you can recycle them during either the spring or fall “Recycling Roundup” held here in Dallas. For more information on what materials are accepted and when the next Roundup is taking place, go to dallascityhall.com.
Hard to Recycle Materials (HaRMs)
Some materials are more difficult to recycle, but are still recyclable. These include home electronics (often called e-waste in the recycling world), chemicals of any kind, lightbulbs, and aerosol sprays.
Chemicals such as fertilizer, paint, cooking and motor oils, and cleaning products must be disposed of carefully for safety reasons, so they can’t enter the general waste stream. However, you can bring these materials to the Dallas County Home Chemical Collection Center (DCHCCC) anytime.
THE DCHCCC is open Tuesday-Thursday and on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Also, batteries, oil, paint, and antifreeze (known as BOPA in the Dallas recycling community) can be taken to monthly BOPA collections sponsored by the city. Visit dallasrecycles.com for more information!
As for e-waste, you have several options. If you have a cell phone or computer in relatively good condition, you might want to try selling it on eBay or through a website like Gazelle, uSell, or Swappa. Electronic waste can be dropped off for free at several city recycling locations. Many electronics stores, such as Best Buy, also accept this waste for recycling. But if your e-waste can’t be resold, your best option is to bring it to Encore Recyclers and turn it into cash!
Recycling Large and Unconventional Items
While there isn’t an easy way to recycle a large item like a piece of furniture, you can often donate it to charity. Major charities such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army will come and collect your furniture for free, and you can also earn a tax write-off!
There are also a lot of great organizations actively recycling in Dallas that specialize in certain items. For example, the Gimme 5 program recycles used toothbrushes and razors, repurposing it into plastic lumber. Old eyeglasses can be recycled or donated to those in need at stores like LensCrafters. The organization ReCork America turns old wine corks into amazing things like insulation and tiling.
Before you throw anything away, do some quick research to determine whether there’s a way for you to re-use, recycle, or donate it.