Recycling Primer

Social Justice -> Green Sanctuary -> Recycling Primer

Updated August 1, 2010
(thanks to Mary Ann Moxon, Virginia Gazette’s “Easy Being Green” columnist) Find more “green” info on her EASY BEING GREENer blog


  • that office paper with a few staples or paper clips in your recycling bin is now OK? Today’s sophisticated sorting equipment can deal with them.
  • that it’s OK to leave your newpapers out in the recycling bin in the rain? A top layer of damp papers doesn’t ruin the whole bunch
  • that shredded paper does NOT belong in your recycling bin UNLESS it’s inside an empty cereal or cracker box–NOT inside a plastic bag? Plastic bags are NOT WANTED in those bins at all because they clog the sorting machines! Better yet, spread it under your mulch where it will soon become compost.
  • that you can find out how, what, and where to recycle in your area by visiting

CURBSIDE PICKUP: (in many York and James City neighborhoods)
Newspapers, magazines, cardboard, junk mail, catalogs, phone books, computer paper; paper bags; glass bottles; aluminum and steel cans; #1 and 2 plastic bottles with necks (no lids). Call Virginia Peninsula Public Service Authority 259-9850, to find out if weekly curbside pickup is available in your area, or to request a bin. York County will change to every other week beginning on 7-1-10. Genesis Computer Repair and Sales in Yorktown will pick up personal and business computers and monitors as long as they’re working and less than 6 years old—at no charge. Contact Lisa, Tues.-Fri. at 757-833-6262.

#5 plastic containers — Tired of throwing away yogurt, sour cream, Brita faucet filters, and other #5 plastic containers? In January 2009, the Brita water filter folks and Preserve, a Massachusetts company that makes 100% recycled household goods, began their innovative “Gimme 5” recycling program. Preserve will accept clean #5 plastics, including Brita pitcher filters, in a mail-back program. Brita faucet filters will not be accepted since they are made with different plastic and have a different structure. Use ground shipping for less environmental impact. They’ll recycle them into “made in the USA” mixing bowls, cutting boards, colanders, etc. and they’ll be on Target’s shelves this month. Mail to: Preserve Gimme 5, 823 NYS Rte 13, Cortland NY 13045. Info: 888-354-7296.
OR drop off at a Whole Foods Market—closest one is at Short Pump in Richmond.

CDs/DVDs and CD Cases: Separate the CDs/DVDs from their jewel cases and discard any paper. Jewel cases not accepted unless the CD is removed from the case. The CD Recycling Center has more information.
Mail to: Back Thru the Future, 1 Park Drive, Suite 9, Franklin, NJ 07416. Write “CD” on the outside of your shipping package.
Cell phones for Soldiers:
Corks don’t need to go to landfills. Mail them (natural or synthetic) to: TerraCycle, ATTN: Cork Brigade, 121 New York Ave., Trenton, NJ 08638.
Small Electronics: (GPS devices, MP3 players, cell phones, digital cameras; camcorders, car audio head units, notebook computers, game media and game consoles): Staples, Best Buy and Dell provide online trade-in programs. Find if it’s acceptable & print out prepaid shipping label. After product is received, they will send you a gift certificate.
Recycle For Breast Cancer provides prepaid shipping labels, envelopes or collection materials based on the condition, quantity, and weight of the items you have (cell phones, MP3s, pagers, Palm Pilot, PDAs, digital cameras, and inkjet cartridges).
VHS tapes and floppy disks: Alternative Community Training (ACT, Missouri)

Plastic Bags: (grocery, shopping, newspaper, and dry-cleaning): Collection bins at Target and most groceries; do NOT put these in curbside recycling bins
Athletic Shoes (even if really worn; no cleats): Just drop them off at your local Nike store or outlet. Nike Factory Store, Prime Outlets.
Gently-Worn Shoes: Soles 4 Souls has a list of local drop-off sites.
Crocs: We take shoes for granted. Not so everywhere. Crocs, Inc. launched a recycling program, SolesUnited, in early 2008—in response to the desperate need for footwear in impoverished countries and areas affected by tragedy. They’ll sort, clean, grind, and remold them into new shoes. They’ve given away 2 million pairs already, most in Malawi. You can donate your old Crocs at The Campus Shop or Williamsburg Trading Post.
Rechargeable Batteries (see local Household Chemical Collection Day info for all batteries): Radio Shack; Staples; Target
Books and Paperbacks: Donate to Friends of the Library; sell at Book Exchange, 1303 Jamestown Rd.
Cell Phones: Verizon, Office Depot, Staples, Target; Avalon for Women, 312 Waller Mill Rd., Williamsburg
Compact Fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs: Home Depot
Computers and Other Electronics: Consumers may drop off two items, per household daily, at Best Buy stores free of charge. A $10 recycling fee will be charged per unit for items with screens such as televisions, monitors and laptop computers. You will receive a $10 gift card in exchange for that recycling fee. Also at Office Depot; and Special County Household Collection Days (Williamsburg and James City County: 8-Noon on Aug. 14, and Oct. 9 at Lafayette HS. Yorktown: 8-Noon on July 10, Sept. 11 at County Drive); new Goodwill on Richmond Road
Fats, Oils, Greases (“FOG”); Tires (small charge); “White Goods” (AC, dishwasher, refrigerators, washers, dryers): 3 James City “Convenience Centers”: 1204 Jolly Pond Road from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m., 7 days a week; 107 Tewning Road – Mon. 8 a.m.- Noon.; Tues.- Sat.: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Closed – Sunday; and 185 Industrial Boulevard, Toano (Hankins Industrial Park) – 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., 7 days a week.
Household Chemicals” such as oils, gasoline, paints, stains, sealers, thinners, solvents, transmission & brake fluids’ insecticide, weed killers, fertilizers, pool chemicals, oven & drain cleaners, metal polishes, floor waxes, charcoal fluid, auto & household batteries, and fluorescent/CFL bulbs: Williamsburg/JCC: 8 a.m to Noon on June 12, Aug. 14, Oct. 9, 2010 at 107 Tewning Rd. York Co.: 8 a.m. to noon on May 8, July 10, Sept. 11, Nov. 13, 2010 at County Dr., off Goodwin Neck Rd.
Motor Oil: Williamsburg’s Advance Auto Parts, 454 Merrimac Trail, & Jamestown Road Shell, 1301 Jamestown Road
Packaging “peanuts” and bubble wrap: Williamsburg Parcel Plus, Mailstop, and UPS stores
Printer ink cartridges: Office Depot (5/day max); Staples (10/month +$ rebate) TVs: ARC, 2520 58th St., Hampton; 757-896-8463; M-F; 9 a.m.– 3:30 p.m. $10/small TV; $15 if larger than 27”. ALSO see Best Buy info above (under Computers and Other Electronics)
Wire hangers: Most dry cleaners

GIVE AWAY and keep out of the landfill
“Gently used” furniture, clothing, appliances, toys, computers, TVs, etc.: Williamsburg Freecycle Networks and; or Salvation Army, 151 Kristiansand Dr., Suite 109 (off Richmond Rd.); DAV; Goodwill (new one on Richmond Rd.); Samaritan House pick-ups

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