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Recycling in Plano: How to do it the right way!

Live Green in Plano (LGIP) gets calls daily – “Are our recyclables in Plano really getting recycled?”  The answer is Yes!! 

Whether you are a new citizen or have lived here for a while you might not know that the city of Plano has an excellent recycling plan. The city is here to help with all of your needs as it is doing its part in taking care of the Earth and the environment.

Here’s all the information on how to Recycle in Plano

Environmental Waste is a huge part of the city. We reached out to the outreach and community coordinator to get some information to share with you. They sent us this great info all about environmental waste services offered in the city.

how to recycle in Plano

How To Recycle in Plano

Plano offers single-stream curbside recycling every other week.  Residents in single-family homes should have GREEN carts to collect their recyclables.  Single stream means that all accepted items can go into the same cart.  These items include – paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, glass and metal cans. 

These items should be placed in the carts – unbagged.  If recyclables are placed in black trash bags, they will go straight to the landfill, as the workers will assume it’s trash. 

Carts should be placed at your curb by 7 am the morning of your scheduled collection and placed at least 2 feet from other carts or obstacles. Get a complete list of acceptable items.

If residents live in apartments and their complex doesn’t offer recycling, they can take their recyclables you can take your recycling to the 14th Street Library.  Check out all of these drop off locations.

There are several items that Plano also collects OUTSIDE the green cart.  These items shouldn’t go in the recycle or trash carts.

Yard trimmings are collected weekly in large brown paper yard waste bags.  Check out more information.


Drop-off Recycle Centers in Plano

You can take your items to:

Plano Recycling Center (Republic Services)  

Address: 4200 E 14th St, Plano, TX 75074

Community Recycling Events

On the 3rd Saturday of every month, there is a textile collection at the City of Plano’s Saturday community recycling events.

You can recycle Shredded Paper on every 2nd and 3rd Saturday of every month at the City of Plano Saturday community recycling events.

If you are unsure of your collection days – you can refer to the maps and interactive maps.

Have a ton of plastic bags? Take them here!

Get Educated on How to Recycle in Plano

Plano’s SEED division also offers FREE education sessions to Plano residents and businesses on recycling and other sustainability topics. They would be happy to come speak to your groups.  More information on the classes offered

A special thanks to the city’s Environmental and Outreach Education Recycling Program. For more information please visit the city’s website residential services. 

In recent months the current state of recycling has been all over the news.  Almost a year ago, China put a ban on accepting United States recycling due to high levels of contamination.  This ban has impacted cities all over the US, leaving recycling centers struggling to find downstream markets for their recyclables.  

Plano does have a recycling program.

Based in East Plano, Republic Services, Plano’s recycling processor, is no different.  Recyclables are commodities – meaning there needs to be a buyer for them to have a second life and stay out of the landfill. 

Environmental Waste Services (EWS) and LGIP are working closely with Republic Services to encourage Plano residents to recycle clean, contamination-free items and only those items that are the most profitable.  

How to Recycle in Plano

The Big 3 items for Recycling 

Recyclable materials include Plastics, #1, #2 and #5, Paper & Cardboard, Tin & Aluminum cans – otherwise known as the “Big 3”.  

These items must be clean and free of residue in order to make it through the sorting process at the recycling center, get bundled and be sold to downstream manufacturers for reuse or recycling.

It’s nearly impossible to get through a day without using plastic in one form or another – juice bottle, toothbrush, hairbrush, car parts, eye glasses, etc. Plastic is everywhere.  It’s lightweight, sturdy, durable and very desirable for manufacturers. However, making first-generation plastic uses many precious natural resources, including water and crude oil.  It’s better for the environment and more cost-effective to break down old plastic to create new plastic.

The plastics that currently have the most value and bring Plano revenue are 

#1 (beverage plastic bottles)

#2 (laundry detergent and shampoo bottles)

#5 (dairy and yogurt tubs). 


What can you do?

Rinsing them and shaking out excess water before throwing them into your cart will ensure they are Empty, Clean and Dry and ready for processing.  

Do the caps need to come off?  If the caps are plastic, go ahead and leave them on.  Just give the lid a slight turn to remove excess air from the bottles before tightening again.

What about Plastic Bags?

No – at one point Plano was accepting plastic bags and film in the recycling cart.  These are no longer acceptable. The bags get tangled up in the sorting equipment causing frequent shutdowns and loss of efficiency.  Plastic bags and film can be bundled together and taken to the bins in the entries of your grocery and home goods stores.

What about Office Paper and junk mail?

If you have office paper and junk mail laying around, go ahead and recycle it. How about envelopes with clear windows?  No problem – go ahead and recycle them. Magazines? Yes.  

Laminated paper?  No.  

What about Shredded Paper? No.

Plano no longer accepts shredded paper in the recycle cart. Even if the bag of shredded paper makes it to the recycling center intact, it becomes a problem.

Once the bag is broken open, the small shreds of paper end up flying around or falling through the small spaces in the sorting machinery.  Very little, if any, actually gets captured and recycled. The best way to ensure your personal papers are properly destroyed and recycled is to take them to a shredding vendor.  

Residents can shred two office boxes per household at Texas Recycles Day each year.

Recycling in Plano

What about Cardboard?

Small cardboard boxes are also valuable and should be broken down before placing in your recycling cart.  Be sure to remove any contents including packing pillows and peanuts before recycling.  

Larger boxes are hard to stuff in your cart.  Instead – flatten and set them out next to your yard waste bags where they will be collected and processed into healthy Texas Pure organic compost.  

What about Aluminum cans?

Aluminum cans such as soda cans, and tin cans such as soup cans are very valuable commodities.  The great thing about cans is that they are recyclable indefinitely, meaning over and over again with no end to life. 

Cans should be rinsed free of food and residue, shaken lightly, and tossed in your recycle cart. There is no need to remove the labels first.

Plano still accepts other items in the cart.  A complete list of accepted items can be found at

Everyone likes to keep their indoor trash and recycling receptacles neat and tidy by lining them with plastic bags.  This is fine, but when transferring your recyclables to your curbside cart, empty those plastic bags so the recyclables are placed loosely in the cart, leaving the plastic bag behind.  


Once they reach the recycling center, those recyclables that are not identifiable will be sent directly to the landfill.  

Top Tip: When you empty your indoor trash and recycling receptacles, toss your trash bag in the trash first, then empty your recycling bag loosely into the recycling cart.  Now you can reuse the “dirty” recycling liner as your new trash bag and line your indoor recycling receptacle with a clean liner.

What items are not suitable for Recycling?

Items NOT accepted in your recycling cart:

  • Landscape waste (grass clippings and tree limbs)
  • Aerosol cans
  • Adult and baby diapers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Batteries
  • CDs / CVDs
  • Ceramics (dishes, drinking glasses and vases)
  • Facial or toilet tissue
  • Light bulbs/fluorescent tubes
  • Metallic and cellophane gift wrap
  • Mirrors
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic bags (return to the grocery store)
  • Plastic containers used for motor oil, antifreeze or other hazardous materials
  • Plastic wrap and plastic toys
  • Self-sticking notes (due to the glue)
  • Shredded paper (bagged only)
  • Styrofoam (packaging, peanuts and cups)
  • Trash bags
  • Wax-coated cartons (milk and juice cartons)
  • Wire hangers
  • Clothing or shoes

The accepted items list on the website is updated regularly.  Any items that are not on the accepted list should go in the trash.  Good rule of thumb is – when in doubt, throw it out.

How can I recycle if I live in an Apartment?

If you live in a multi-family home and your complex does not offer recycling, you can take your recyclables to Republic Services, 4200 E. 14th Street, Plano.  You can drop off between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. 

They encourage all multi-family residents to reach out to their property managers about starting an on-site collection program.