Recycling Frequently Asked Questions

Review the resources below for answers to common residential recycling questions.

  • Why recycle?
  • Where do the recyclables go?
  • What should I do if a recycling truck damages my property during collection?
  • How do I request a recycling bin or cart?
  • What can I put in the recycling cart?
  • Can I recycle my newspapers if they get wet from rain or snow?
  • Are take-out containers recyclable?

Why recycle?

Most items that we use every day—especially containers and paper-based products—are made of materials that can be used over and over again. Recycling is collecting used materials that would otherwise be thrown away, then breaking down and remaking these materials into new products. When we recycle more, we are saving resources and sending less trash to landfills and incinerators. That’s good for the environment.

Where do the recyclables go?

Our crews pick up the recyclable materials from your bin or cart, dump them all into a collection truck and take them to a specially-designed Materials Recovery Facility or MRF. At the MRF, recyclable items are sorted by type, shredded or crushed, baled, and loaded onto tractor-trailer trucks to be shipped to factories or mills in order to be re-manufactured.

What should I do if a recycling truck damages my property during collection?

If a recycling truck or any Bates Trucking vehicle damages your property, please call the corporate office directly, at (301) 773-2069, to get information about how to file a claim.

How do I request a recycling bin or cart?

Most of the areas we service have purchased their own recycling containers and distribute them to their residents free of charge.  If your 18 gallon bin or 64 gallon cart is missing, stolen or badly damaged, contact information for the following Municipalities, Counties and Townships are as follows:

  • Prince George’s County – (301) 952-7630
  • Montgomery County – (240) 777-0311
  • Town of Riverdale Park – (301) 925-8100

For all other residents please call our corporate office at (301) 773-2069

What can I put in the Single Stream recycling cart?

All your clean recyclables can go into the cart. No separating. Do not put recyclables into plastic bags. Just place items loose into the cart.

DO Recycle

DON’T Recycle

  • Paper
  • Magazines/ Catalogs
  • Newspapers
  • Shredded paper (bagged)
  • Hard back books
  • Soda Cans
  • Plastic bottles & jugs
  • Plastic lawn chairs
  • Cardboard/Paper
  • Cereal boxes
  • Clean, balled aluminum foil
  • Pie pans
  • Envelopes
  • Paper milk/juice cartons
  • Mail & Junk Mail
  • Greeting cards
  • Plastic buckets
  • Empty aerosol cans
  • Light bulbs
  • Styrofoam
  • Mirrors
  • Ceramics
  • Pyrex
  • Wax paper
  • Batteries
  • Paper Towels
  • Painted/Treated wood
  • Padded/Plastic Envelopes

Can I recycle my newspapers if they get wet from rain or snow?

Under normal circumstances, we can accept wet newspaper, although dry newsprint is strongly preferred by processors. Unlike plastic, metal and glass, paper is organic. Rain/water causes paper to break down rapidly. One of the reasons the newer recycling carts have lids is to keep paper materials dry.

Are take-out containers recyclable?

No. This includes pizza boxes; paper cartons and Styrofoam®™ boxes. These items are usually too soiled to be recycled.

How can I recycle plastic bags?

You may take your plastic bags to your local grocery stores.  Most grocery stores recycle these bags.  If you choose to recycle your plastic grocery bags at home please put them all together inside of one bag and tie it up before you put it into your single stream recycling container.