Recycling Information

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Thanks for your interest in recycling!

In Omaha, we use single-stream recycling. This means packer trucks (also called garbage trucks) marked with large yellow recycling signs on the back and sides collect and transport your recyclables to an indoor, semi-automated sorting facility.

How do you fit into the picture? It’s all about the green bin. Please place your recyclables in your green bin each week, then set it out next to your trash on your collection day.

There are city ordinances that regulate how garbage, yardwaste and recyclables are to be prepared for collection. The two sections of the Omaha Municipal Code that relate to solid waste are Chapter 33, ARTICLE II, Division 1, Section 33, Items 21-30 and Chapter 33, ARTICLE II, Division 2, Section 33, Items 41-49. The ordinances also speak to the ownership of material in recycling bins placed at the curb.

Recycling Bins

  • Green recycling bins are available to households within the City of Omaha that receive solid waste collection from the City’s collection contractor.
  • You are able to recycle a number of common household items in this green bin.  A list of acceptable items is below.
  • Your recycling is picked up once per week, the same day as garbage and yardwaste is collected.
  • You may pick up your free recycling bin at one of these seven locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Omaha switch to a 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 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.

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 additional recyclables.

What Can I Recycle Curbside?

All Clean Paper

Photo of paper sack filled with paper recyclablesTo prevent litter, place in a paper sack or small cardboard box. DO NOT USE PLASTIC BAGS. Lay sack or box either inside bin, on top of bin, or next to your bin with opening facing away from wind. You may recycle:
  • Photo of cereal box, newspapers, junk mail and egg cartonMagazines
  • Catalogues
  • Phonebooks
  • Newspaper
  • Junk/Bulk Mail
  • Detergent Boxes
  • Greeting Cards
  • Paper Egg Cartons
  • Cereal Boxes
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Paper Books
  • School Paper
  • Photo of cardboard boxCorrugated Cardboard – PREP: Flatten. Place on ground under bin or fold and stuff multiple boxes into one box and set out next to bin.
  • Packing tape & staples are okay

Do not include any soiled paper or these non-recyclable items:

  • Paper plates
  • Styrofoam
  • Tissue Paper
  • Hardbound Books
  • Diapers
  • Plastic Bags
  • Rubber Bands

Containers

Photo of full green recycling bin on top of collapsed cardboard boxesPlace containers loose in the bin, NOT in plastic bags or paper bags. You may recycle:
  • Photo of carton recyclablesGable top & Aseptic cartons including:
    – empty juice boxes
    – milk cartons
    – juice cartons
    – soup boxes
  • Photo of metal recyclablesAluminum cans & steel (tin) cans including:
    – empty aerosol cans
    – empty and dry paint cans with lid removed
    – food cans
    – beverage cans
    TIP: Rinse. Place end (lid) of food cans inside can and crimp closed. Labels may stay on.
  • Plastic bottles, cups, caps, lids, food containers and packaging with numbers:
    Four icons showing 1,2,3,5 recycling icons
  • Flattening plastic bottles helps prevent litter.
  • Caps and lids are now OK.
  • Approved containers include:Water bottles, pop bottles, cooking oil bottles, mouthwash bottles, shampoo bottles, cleaning product bottles, milk jugs, juice bottles, margarine tubs, whipped topping tubs, yogurt containers, sour cream containers, and reusable/disposable food storage containers.Photo of plastic recyclables
  • Also approved are:
    Plastic bottles, clamshell deli containers, snap top containers, microwave meal trays, plastic cups, clear plastic packaging, cookie trays and dvd cases.

Do not include:

  • Motor Oil
  • Auto Product Bottles
  • Lawn Chemical Bottles
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Metal Parts
  • Straws

A Word About Glass

photo of four glass bottlesGlass is not collected from the green recycling bins.

Glass is recyclable if you take it to a drop-off site. More information is available about drop-off sites by clicking here.

Remember...

  • Place all materials at your collection point by 6AM.
  • Leave a couple feet of space between recycling bin, garbage containers and yardwaste containers.
  • Photo of yellow recycling reminder stickerA decal with recycling reminders is available that you can apply to your recycling bin. Call 402-444-4500 to request a decal.

Photo of Hefty energy bagsIf you choose to participate in using Energy Bags, place them in the bottom of the green bin with heavier materials on top to prevent them from blowing out of the open bin.

Additional information on obtaining and proper use of the Energy Bag may be found by clicking here.

 

More Resources
Helpful Sites
Recycling is Not New to the Big “O”
Brochure
Recycling Collection and Prep
Brochure
Picture Perfect
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