Your one-stop spot for recycling tips and info!

Recycling 411 Logo 2

While recycling may often be as simple as tossing a bottle in a bin, it's all too often that we find ourselves with materials we may not know how to dispose of, or that we haven't run across before. As such, the City of Maryland Heights has begun the Recycling 411 program, an informational series spanning video, web, and print dedicated to providing information on recycling and waste disposal in an exciting and engaging way!

Recycling 411 Video Archive

Recycling basics

The City of Maryland Heights contracts solid waste services to Republic Services, which includes collection and management of all trash, yard waste, and recyclables.

Recyclable materials are managed through single-stream recycling. This means that only certain materials without contaminants such as food waste or liquid residue are accepted in recycling. 

As a rule of thumb, items can be recycled in the Republic Services system if:

  • They are clean and dry cardboard, paper, metal, and glass items that are larger than the size of a business card
  • If they are clean and dry plastic materials larger than a business card and not thin enough to be easily poked through with your hands, and that are noted as recyclable on their packaging

Common Recyclables

Flattened Cardboard and Paper:

Dry paper and cardboard items larger than the size of a credit card are able to be processed in single-stream recycling systems. These items must be made of one type of material. Mixed material items (such as cardboard toy boxes with plastic view windows) must have their materials separated in order for them to be processed in the recycling systems. Milk, juice, creamer and soup/broth cartons are also accepted!

Glass and Metal:

Non-contaminated glass (clear and colored) bottles or containers and metal items larger than the size of credit card can be placed in recycling bins and processed in single-stream recycling systems.

Plastics, Bottles, Jugs, and More:

Specific plastic recyclables are allowed that meet certain criteria, depending on the kind of plastic used in their manufacturing. Examples of acceptable plastics by code are as follows:

  •  Code #1: PETE Plastics (i.e. soda & water bottles, medicine containers)
  •  Code #2: HDPE Plastics (i.e. milk/detergent jugs, butter tubs)
  •  Code #3: V Plastics (i.e. PVC pipes, shampoo bottles, medical tubing)
  •  Code #4: LDPE Plastics (i.e. squeezable condiment bottles)
  •  Code #5: PP Plastics (i.e. syrup/ketchup bottles, plastic bottle caps)
  •  Code #7:  Miscellaneous Plastics (i.e. large plastic containers, water cooler bottles)

What Plastics Aren't Allowed?

Three major categories of plastics aren't accepted in the single-stream recycling system.

  1. Polystyrene plastics (code #6) are largely composed of Styrofoam products, such as Styrofoam cups, plates, and trays, as well as packing peanuts and other insulating materials. These products have incredibly low density (~95% air by volume), and cannot be processed in single-stream systems. 

    Please dispose of these items with your regular trash, or contact Foam Products Corporation (FPC) at 314-739-8100 or at to dispose of large Styrofoam materials such as packaging inserts or Styrofoam coolers (no food containers, contaminated materials, or packing peanuts are accepted at their facility).

  2. Thin plastics are unable to be processed in single-stream recycling, as they are small and pliable enough to pose the risk of affecting the machinery at the recycling facility. Examples of thin plastics include grocery bags, bubble wrap, plastic wrappers, and more.

    As a rule of thumb, if you are able to easily poke through plastic items with your fingers, it cannot be processed in single-stream recycling. Instead, please dispose of such items with your regular trash, or seek out specialized disposal options where available (i.e. grocery bag disposals being available at many area grocery stores).

  3. Composite items tend to be harder for recycling facilities to dispose of, as composite plastics pose a greater challenge in sorting, and eventually, in breaking down into reusable form. This is especially true of code #7 plastics, which are classified as being composite form by nature of their code. If you're uncertain of the item at hand, please utilize the St. Louis County Recycle Wizard or research your item online before disposing with your other recyclables. 

    In addition to this, plastic items that may contain other materials (such as toys that feature electronics) cannot be processed in regular recycling. Such items should be saved for donation in toy drives, or otherwise disposed of with your normal trash/bulk waste. 

Other Waste Disposal Tips, Tricks, and Info

City-Hosted Events:

Throughout the year, Maryland Heights typically schedules two Bulk Waste disposal events, two Electronic Recycling events, and two Paper Shredding events. 
  1. At the Electronic Recycling event, residents can safely discard of electronic junk (nearly anything that has a cord or battery). Most items are free to recycle, but some fees apply to certain items. If fees apply to the item you are discarding, cash or check payments will be accepted. Please see for a complete list of accepted items and fees.
  2. At the Paper Shredding event, residents may bring the equivalent of five file-sized boxes or bankers boxes (12"W x 15"L x 10"H). The capacity of one of these boxes is equal to two filled paper grocery bags. Please remove all trash, batteries and non-paper items. Books are not accepted. Paper clips, staples and small binder clips do not need to be removed from the paper.
  3. At the Bulk Waste disposal event, residents may bring bulk waste items to large dumpsters to dispose of trash items that are too large for a regular curbside trash container. This includes items like old furniture, carpet, mattresses and large appliances without freon.

    In addition to the special events, Republic Services will dispose of bulk waste items at no extra cost, but must be contacted in advance in order to pick up these items. Please call 636-947-5959 to schedule an appointment. 

Composting 101:

Composting is a means of disposing of household organic waste (such as yard and food waste) that allows for organic material to naturally degrade over time. As the materials break down, they are converted into compost, a vital nutrient for soil that helps to promote plant growth. 

Composting reduces landfill waste and feeds biodegradable materials back into the circular economy. It is more environmentally friendly and economically worthwhile than regular waste disposal, and requires minimal effort from individual consumers! 

The process of composting couldn't be more simple! To compost, you simply need to: 

  1. Combine green and brown materials in a dedicated compost bin.
    • Green materials include nitrogen-rich items such as grass and plant clippings, produce food waste, coffee grounds,
    • Brown Materials include things such as  tea bags, eggshells,  dry leaves, sawdust,  shredded newspaper, and straw.
  2. Sprinkle the materials with water
  3. Stir the items together
  4. Let nature allow the items to decompose into compost over time
A little time and patience can yield amazing results! Whether you're an avid gardener or if you're simply looking to more responsibly manage your waste output, everyone can benefit from composting!

Hazardous Waste:

Hazardous waste items can include items such as paint, batteries, mechanical oil, cleaning supplies, and other items that contain chemically dangerous materials.

Store hazardous waste materials away from the rest of your regular waste items. St. Louis County has two Household Hazardous Waste facilities that will accept these items but an appointment is required. See for more information.

Yard Waste:

Yard waste and large natural debris is regularly collected by Republic Services year-round. 

To dispose of yard waste, simply collect whatever waste may be present and store it in bags (paper/biodegradable bags strongly recommended) or supply your own plastic bins and leave items along your curb to be collected on your designated yard waste day. 

Tree branches should be no longer than 4 ft. and no wider in diameter than 6 inches. Bundle branches with twine.

Don't be afraid to reach out!

Recycling can be complicated, and many items may fall outside of what you may be familiar with regularly recycling. There are resources available to help! 

Check back on this page for more updates, videos, and information about our Recycling 411 program, as we work to answer any questions you may have! 

The St. Louis County Recycling Wizard is a fantastic tool to help look up specific items online and point you in the right direction for many items that might need special handling.

For specific questions regarding recyclables, bulk waste, or any other concerns with waste disposal, visit or call (314) 291-6550.