How do I recycle?

All curbside and community drop-off programs in Benton, Washington and Madison counties take at least these materials (and many programs take more): 

Plastic Bottles & Jugs

Aluminum Cans

Steel Cans

Cardboard

Find out what and how to recycle near you by choosing a city below.

Keep scrolling to find tips on recycling no matter where you are.

Keep it clean. Keep it dry. Keep it simple.

Tidy Up

Give bottles and cans a quick rinse with water. Keep greasy and food-covered stuff in the trash. Think of it this way: If you’d worry about an item becoming sticky or smelly, it’s not right for recycling.

No Wish-Cycling

Make sure you recycle only the items that your recycler tells you they can accept, and nothing more.

We’ll come back to that on the next tab.

The Little Things

Can and bottle labels, stray staples in office paper and the little plastic windows in junk mail are generally OK to leave in.

Loose Items

Don’t put recyclables in plastic bags. Keep them loose.

Many people in Northwest Arkansas and elsewhere will try to add things to their recycling bin that aren’t on their recycler’s accepted list. The recycling company probably could recycle this anyway, the thinking goes, or they should try. 

This is such a common problem for recyclers that they have a name for it – wish-cycling. Here’s the truth: It doesn’t work and can wide-ranging consequences.

Recyclers need a certain volume of a given material, ways to handle and sort it and, most importantly, a manufacturer or other company ready to buy it afterward. Without any of those things, the recycler cannot accept the material, no matter how many people put it in their recycling bins. 

Unacceptable stowaways will be thrown away in the trash. If there’s enough contamination, the recycler has to throw away the recyclables, too, which doesn’t help anything. And contamination that isn’t caught will spoil the good stuff, hurting its quality and making it harder to sell and reuse. 

Bottom Line: Stick to what your recycler accepts.