Recycling Calendar


Automated Recycling Brochure


Recycling Brochure

Automated Recycling Frequently Asked Questions


Going Green at your Curbside!

The SWMD operates two types of recycling collection services for participating areas of the City of Houston. Both programs allow residents to conveniently recycle at their curbside on a bi-weekly basis.



  • Curbside Recycling utilizes an 18-gallon bin placed at the curb for collection.
  • Automated Recycling utilizes a 96-gallon cart rolled to the curb for collection.



Curbside Recycling Program

Curbside recycling is currently available to 40,000 homes receiving City of Houston service.


Residents may place newspapers, magazines, telephone books, aluminum and tin cans, advertising mail, corrugated cardboard, plastic soft drink, milk and water containers together in the same bin. Each bin holds 18 gallons of recycling material and is itself made out of 25% recycled plastic and 75% virgin material.


Used oil is also collected and is placed next to the bin in clean containers with screw-on tops.


Plastics #1 - 5 and 7 are accepted in this program.


Curbside recycling is collected on a biweekly basis to reduce the number of trips into the neighborhoods, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions. Biweekly service is also more cost-efficient for the department by ensuring the bins are full on collection day.


Businesses or residents may call 3-1-1 to request brochures or to request a presentation.


Automated Recycling Program



Under the Automated Recycling Program, recyclables will be collected using automated collection vehicles. Homes participating in the program are issued a 96-gallon green automated cart similar to the black automated garbage can. There are currently 211,000 homes participating in the Automated Recycling program. Participants are able to put all of their unsorted recyclables into one city-provided container.



Although the cart is much bigger than the 18-gallon green bin currently used in the Curbside Recycling Program, it has wheels, making it much easier to move the recyclables to the curb.  Also, the cart has a lid which contains the recyclables and keeps them from getting wet. Printed on the lid is a list of the items that can go in the cart. This program allows participants to recycle glass, which is not collected in the Curbside Recycling Program.



What items can go in the cart?


Newspaper Plastic Containers #1 - 5 and 7 (rinsed & drained)
Magazines Aluminum and Tin Cans (rinsed & drained)
Catalogs Cardboard (flattened)
Phone Books Glass Bottles and Jars (rinsed & drained)



Additional information about what can be recycled can be found here.


Recycling Service Area Maps by Zip Code - View Schedules and maps by zip code



Yard Trimmings Recycling


The SWMD has also initiated a program that encourages the diversion of yard trimmings from landfills. Through techniques called "grasscycling" and "composting", residents can reuse their yard trimmings and return valuable nutrients to the soil. If residents choose to place their yard waste for SWMD collection, they must use a city-approved compostable bag.


When it comes to yard trimmings, you have options! Visit each tab for more information...




The yard trimmings collection service is offered to all citizens who receive the automated garbage collection service. Yard trimmings make up approximately 30% of the total residential waste stream in Houston. Recycling yard trimmings saves the city in landfill costs and extends the life of landfills.


Grass clippings, small branches, and leaves must not be placed in the automated garbage cans. They must be put in city-approved compostable bags, not weighing more than 50 pounds, and placed at the curb 3 feet away from the automated container for separate yard trimming collection.


Small branches may be put in bundles as long as each bundle is less than 4 feet in length, 18 inches in diameter, and not weighing more than 50 pounds.


Yard trimmings mixed with paper, plastic or any other type of waste will not be collected.



In addition to the recycling and diversion services, the SWMD also provides services for:



Facilities for recycling and proper disposal of Household Waste are also available at the:



Business Recycling Program


Information about the City of Houston's Business Recycling Program


Electronic Recycling

Learn more about electronic recycling facilities in your area


Houston-Galveston Regional Recycling Guide

A guide to recycling in the Houston-Galveston area


Recycling Locations Interactive Map


Tree Waste/Junk Waste Information

In alternating months, residents may dispose of their Tree Waste and Junk Waste at their curbside. This method of collecting large waste comes with the benefits of diverting materials that can be recycled from landfills, saving landfill space and valuable tax dollars. The Tree/Junk Waste schedule changes each month from Tree Waste to Junk. Tree Waste months are January, March, May, July, September, and November. Junk Waste months are February, April, June, August, October and December. “Tree Waste” is defined as “clean” wood waste such as tree limbs, branches, and stumps (lumber, furniture, and treated wood will NOT be accepted). Read more here.


Got Mulch?

You can purchase Houston Mulch at your local Lowe's or Living Earth locations.




Reuse Warehouse

The City of Houston Building Materials Reuse Warehouse (Reuse Warehouse) accepts donated construction materials from builders, supply companies, remodelers, contractors, and individuals. These materials are made available at no charge for use by any non-profit organization. The Reuse Warehouse benefits the community by providing storage space for excess building material that would otherwise be dumped in local landfills. The City of Houston stores the material until it can be used by local organizations.


Learn more about the Reuse Warehouse here...




Neighborhood Depositories/Recycling Centers


City of Houston Neighborhood Depositories/ Recycling Centers


(Accepts Tree Waste, Junk Waste, Used Motor Oil and Household Recyclables. Facilities area available at no charge to City of Houston residents)


Six Houston-Area Locations



Environmental Service Centers (ESC)

The Environmental Service Center (ESC) was opened to make the disposal of household hazardous waste easier. Two locations are available to accept Household Hazardous Waste and other materials such as Batteries, Oil, Paint, Antifreeze and electronic waste at no additional charge to City of Houston residents.


Recycling Centers (Junk Waste not accepted)


Clear Lake/Ellington Airport || Kingwood Park & Ride



Items accepted at the Neighborhood Depositories and Recycling Centers:

  • Newspaper, magazines, office paper
  • Glass food & beverage bottles and jars (No ceramics or plate glass!)
  • Plastic bottles & jugs marked #1 - 5, and 7
  • Aluminum and tin food cans
  • Cardboard boxes (Must be broken down with packing materials removed.


The SWMD has several permanent sites where residents can bring recyclables:





Volunteers are available at the Westpark Consumer Recycling Center and the Environmental Service Center drop-off sites to assist residents who bring their recyclables to these locations.


Ellington Field, Center Street and the Kingwood sites accept all recyclables collected in the curbside recycling program, including glass. Used oil is not accepted at this location.


Used motor oil is accepted at the Neighborhood Depository/Recycling Center sites, the ESC's as well as the Westpark Recycling Center.