For Information or Questions about Recycling, call (901) 576-6851, Ext 1

City of Memphis Solid Waste Management provides three (3) recycling programs:

  1. Curbside recycling - Provided for all single family homes and multi-family housing of 8 units or less.
  2. Recycling drop-off centers - Provided for residents of apartment complexes and private developments not serviced by City of Memphis Solid Waste Management. Five (5) drop-off centers are located throughout the city (see Recycling Drop-off Centers).
  3. Yard waste recycling- Mulching and composting of thousands of tons annually of limbs, branches, trees, leaves, shrubbery and other organic waste commonly generated from residential yards (see YARD WASTE RECYCLING).

Curbside Collection 

Curbside Recycling Container
All homes serviced by City of Memphis Solid Waste Management are issued one, 18-gallon, tan recycling bin, capable of holding one or more weeks worth of household recyclable material. Please recycle only the materials identified in promotional literature and this web site.

Curbside Recycling Collection Schedule
Curbside recycling collection is every week on the same day as garbage collection.

Recycle Memphis!

Recycle the Following Items:

Recycle Steel Cans- All steel food, beverage and empty aerosol cans are accepted. You can even leave the labels and lids attached. Rinsing is recommended but not required.
Recycle Aluminum Cans- All empty aluminum food and beverage cans accepted. Label OK and rinsing is not required.
Recycle Plastic Bottles -All empty plastic milk, soda and other bottles and small food containers with the recycling symbol #1 PETE or #2 HDPE, usually made into the container side or bottom. Rinsing is recommended.
Recycle Empty aerosol cans
Recycle Aluminum used beverage containers
Recycle Aluminum foil, food trays, and wrappers
Recycle Cartons-food and beverage cartons including milk and juice cartons, juice boxes, creamers, soups, and broths.
Recycle Glass Bottles & Jars -All empty clear, brown and green bottles and jars are accepted. You can leave labels attached, but remember to remove lids. Rinsing is not required.
Recycle Newspapers and Magazines-All magazines, phone books and clean, dry newspapers with inserts are acceptable.
Recycle Cardboard -Corrugated and Paperboard (greyboard), e.g., cereal and shoe boxes. [BL1]  
Recycle Office Paper & Mail/Junk Mail -White and colored paper, envelopes, manila folders, stationery, notebook paper, sticky notes etc.
Overflow or Excess -Place any overflow recyclables in clear plastic bags next to your recycling bin at curbside.

All of the above may be commingled into your bin or into overflow clear bags.

DO NOT RECYCLE plastic bags unless used for Overflow. No plastic wrap or anything with recycling numbers higher than those listed above.
Empty all containers of contents.

Do not use recycling bin for garbage or yard waste.

Your recycling bin is for recyclables only. UNACCEPTABLE items will be left in the bin for your disposal. The more you recycle, the more room there is in your green cart and the less trash that goes to landfills.

Recycling Drop-Off Centers

Five recycling drop-off centers are available for residents and businesses not serviced by City of Memphis Sold Waste Management.

  • Downtown - Located in the gravel parking area on Mud Island Drive at the North entrance to Mud Island Park.
  • East Memphis - Located on Moore Ed, approx. 300 yards off Germantown Parkway So., just south of the Shelby Showplace Arena at the Agricenter International.
  • Midtown - Located on the corner of cooper and Walker at the First Congregational Church.
  • Southeast - Located at the Hickory Hill Community Center at 3910 Ridgeway.
  • ReCommunity - 3197 Farrisview Blvd. (located off American Way just west of Lamar intersection) This is the City's recycling processing facility operated by ReCommunity. Place recycling material in carts located just outside the gate.


The items listed above for curbside recycling are accepted at these sites (other than cardboard). There are two tan containers for your convenience, one for paper items only and the other for cans and bottles. Please, help us keep these sites available and clean by recycling only what is acceptable and by placing all items in the containers, not on the ground.

Yard Waste                       Solid Waste Management Truck

The City of Memphis Bureau of Solid Waste Management collects approximately 400,000 tons of solid waste each year from the curbs of Memphis streets. Of that amount, it is estimated that 30% or more is organic waste, commonly referred to as yard waste or brush. Consequently, with the advent of waste reduction laws and goals in the early 1990's, coupled with the desire of solid waste managers to manage yard waste more efficiently, a yard waste recycling program was developed in 1995.
Watch Your Waste

The yard waste recycling operations are part of the City's Solid Waste Recycling Department, which also manages the City's curbside recycling program of household items, appliance recycling and various other recycling programs. Yard waste recycling is based at the City's Earth Complex Compost Facility, located at 2389 Hennington in southwest Memphis, with satellite staging sites in the north and east service areas of the city. This is a mobile recycling operation, which moves from site to site, grinding the staged brush into mulch, whereupon, the resulting mulch is purchased and removed by a contractor from the respective sites. However, surplus quantities of the mulch are kept in reserve for use on various City properties and projects. Additionally, bagged leaves are transferred to the Earth Complex Compost Facility during the high volume leaf season of November through January, where the leaves are debagged and composted into a rich soil amendment. After six to eight months of monitoring, the final compost product, is sold to contractors and used internally. Although the amount of yard waste generated by Memphis dictates how much can be recycled, the City usually recycles between 80,000 tons and 100,000 tons per year.

Recycling Trucks                                          Recycling Trucks
Occasionally, free mulch is provided by the Bureau of Solid Waste Management for citizens of Memphis in various locations throughout the city, on a load-your-own, while-it-lasts basis. Watch for notices in the local media regarding times and places. For more information call 576-6851 Ext. 1.

The Learning Bin Recycling Curriculum

The Learning Bin Recycling Curriculum was designed to introduce recycling and other waste disposal alternatives to children in grades K - 5, so they can practice these habits at home. Over 3,000 Memphis school teachers have access to this curriculum which teaches students about the environment, recycling, composting and other waste management methods. The activates and exercises are both easy to use and adaptable to a variety of teaching environments and address both national and Memphis City Schools' educational standards.


Meet Re-Pete


RE-PETE was designed to guide students through recycling and make learning fun. The lovable little guy weighs in at 3 lbs., 8 oz. and answers to the name RE-PETE. His daddy, PETE was introduced to Memphis a few years ago as part of the Earth Complex logo. RE-PETE will be featured throughout the guide so students can follow along with him and his adventures in recycling. RE-PETE will practice good waste management habits and pass them along to the students to use at home.

The Learning Bin's Creation

The Learning Bin Curriculum was created by the City of Memphis Recycling Department, within the Division of Public Works, with the help of Sossaman Bateman & Associates. Most valuable was the input from Dr. Ron W. Cleminson, Ph. D. at the University of Memphis Center for Environmental, Energy, Science and Education, and his 1998 summer Elementary Science Curriculum class, which consisted of local school teachers. Once created, The Learning Bin was approved by the Mayor and Superintendent, who recommended its implementation into all Memphis City School elementary classrooms.
Copyright 2017 City of Memphis
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