Omaha Recycling FAQs


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See also the Omaha Waste Collection FAQs by clicking here.

Does the city of Omaha offer curbside recycling?

Yes. We offer recycling service to all home owners in Omaha. Your recycling is picked up once per week, the same day as garbage and yardwaste is collected. Omaha uses a system called "single stream" which means that you can combine everything into one bin. To prevent litter we ask that paper items be put in a paper bag. It's very easy and is offered as a service to household paid for by property taxes, sales taxes and other revenue sources.

How do I get a recycling bin?

Due to budget restrictions, we no longer deliver recycling bins. Recycling bins are still free, however now you must pick up bin from one of five locations. For a listing of locations click here.

When is my recycling picked up?

Curbside recycling is picked up once a week, the same day as garbage and yardwaste collection. Recycling, garbage and yardwaste will be picked up at separate times on that day and may occur any time from 6AM until 7PM.

What is my recycling collection day?

To give an accurate answer we'll need to look up the address. You may do so by clicking here or call 402-444-5238 for assistance in determining your collection day.

What items can I recycle?

A complete explaination is available when you click here.

To put it simply you may place the following in your green recycling bin:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel cans
  • Plastics bottles and packaging 1, 2, 3 and 5 (check the bottom of the bottle for number inside a triangle set of arrows)
  • Milk cartons, juice and soup boxes
  • We don't accept glass in the bin. Glass can be recycled at the drop-off sites.
Put the following in a paper bag so you don't cause litter and then place in the bin:
  • All clean paper including newspapers, magazines, junk mail and cardboard.

Why did Omaha switch to single stream recycling?

The city switched to a new and easy way of recycling called "single stream" to make it even easier for our residents to participate. You don't need to cut boxes down or sort paper any longer. Just place your recyclables like cans and plastic bottles in your green bin and your paper materials in a paper bag or small box to help prevent litter and you are done! It's O! so easy. The new system is also more economical to collect and process, helping us become more efficient so we use taxpayer dollars wisely.

Why is glass no longer accepted?

Omaha switched to single-stream recycling collection to make recycling even easier but single-stream recycling is collected in a compactor truck that would break glass. This meant that Omaha had to remove glass from the system because it can be dangerous for the recycling workers and contaminate other materials such as paper. You can still recycle glass by taking your glass to one of the Omaha area drop-off sites. The list of drop-off sites is available by clicking here.

Is recycling picked up on holidays?

Six holidays are observed by the collection contractor and affect the collection schedule of all material, recycling, garbage and yardwaste. When holidays occur during the work week collection is delayed by one day for the remainder of that week, with the regularly scheduled Friday collection occurring on Saturday. The following holidays are observed:
  • New Years Day (January 1)
  • Memorial Day (Last Monday in May)
  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Labor Day (First Monday in September)
  • Thanksgiving (Fourth Thursday in November)
  • Christmas (December 25)

An e-mail reminders service about the holiday collection schedule is available. To register click here.

How can I learn more about curbside recycling?

Visit our website at www.OmahaRecycles.com. Also watch your mail for our publication WASTELINE that is mailed out several times per year. To look at back issues, click here.

Why should I recycle?

Omaha's recycling program offers an easy and convenient way for you to do good, all from the comforts of your own home. Recycling is O! So Easy. By placing your recyclables in your green recycling bin, you can help divert materials from the landfill and help preserve natural resources. Each year residents of Omaha recycle around 15,000 tons of materials. That equates to half a million dollars in energy resources saved each year.

What happens to the items after I put them into my recycling bin?

Recyclables are picked up once per week in Omaha. Deffenbaugh Industries, our collection contractor, uses packer trucks, commonly called garbage trucks, with large yellow RECYCLING signs on the side to collect and transport the recyclables. The recyclables are taken to an indoor, semi-automated, processing facility operated by Firstar Fiber. Firstar Fiber separates the different materials, compacts and bales the material for shipment to various companies to make new items. By using recycled resources to make new items, companies save billions of dollars each year in energy costs.

Here is an example of the process: an aluminum can that is recycled in Omaha, will be shipped to an aluminum plant where it is melted and used to make a new can that is then back on store shelves in as little as 60 days. That is called closed loop recycling and it starts right in your kitchen when you choose to recycle that can!

Do you offer recycling for multi-family units like apartments?

We offer recycling to all the single-family households in Omaha and also the apartment buildings where the property owner has registered to recycle solid waste collection from the City of Omaha. For apartment buildings that we don't provide service to, we do encourage you to use any of the Omaha drop-off locations. A listing of drop-off sites is available by clicking here.

Do you I have to use a green bin to recycle? I'd like to use a larger garbage can.

Yes, you need to use the green recycling bin. The collection drivers are looking for the green bin to know there are recyclables to collect. Always use the green recycling bin and you may use a box or paper sack to hold addtional recyclables.

How do I dispose of a broken recycling bin?

To dispose of a broken recycling bin, you need a bright orange label that we can either mail you, if you call the solid waste help line at 402-444-5238, or ask for a bin disposal label when you pick up a replacement recycling bin at one of the recycling bin distribution locations that are listed by clicking here.