Recycling on the Job

by Michael M. VanAudenhove, Maintenance Superintendent Custodial & Grounds- Department of General Services

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. The waste we generate in the workplace has a huge impact on our community and the environment.  First, it is best to reduce the amount of waste we generate and then reuse items as much as possible.  The next best step is to recycle materials to extend the life of those resources and reduce the amount of waste we send to our landfills.

We often have the best intentions when it comes to recycling and that is the first step.  Contrary to popular belief, it is not best to “just throw it in there and let them sort it out.” Not only is there a substantial cost to sorting out non-recyclable material, sometimes it cannot be done and everything in the load becomes trash. If you want to do your part regarding recycling, it is important to know what is and is not allowed as well as to properly clean out any food containers prior to recycling them. If this seems daunting, don’t worry, we are here to help! Below you will find information on what you can and cannot recycle, how recycling works in county facilities managed by General Services and how we can help with bulk recycling.

What can I recycle?

Before you recycle anything make sure that it meets the following parameters:  Is completely clean of all food particles? Is it dry?  If you answer “no” to either of these questions then it is trash.


  • Beverage Bottles (Replace plastic cap, after rinsing!)
  • Clear Take-out Containers (NO Styrofoam)
  • Plastic tubs (such as clean yogurt or sour cream tubs)


  • Any office paper (without food contamination), including paper with tape or staples
  • Newspaper
  • Envelopes (including those with clear plastic windows)
  • Junk Mail/Brochures/Magazines
  • Cartons such as milk, juice, or soup cartons, rinsed and with cap replaced


  • Aluminum beverage cans
  • Food Cans

*Metal jar lids not accepted


  • Flattened cardboard boxes
  • File Folders
  • Poster Board
  • Frozen food boxes


  • Bottles and Jars (the lids are NOT accepted)

What cannot be recycled?

These items are not accepted in county recycling containers: plastic bags (these can be recycled at retail or grocery stores); cords, wires, chains, hoses, and other “tanglers”; hazardous material containers; Styrofoam containers; and any item with food on it.

Where can I recycle?

Recycling Paper Products

All acceptable paper products can be placed in the small blue personal cans located at desks and in conference rooms, as well as in the larger blue toters located in office areas.  General Services staff empty the blue toters once a week (Wednesday or Thursday).  If you notice your blue toter is full please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and we can schedule additional pick-ups.

Cardboard Recycling

Please make sure all boxes are broken down as much as possible.  Small cardboard items can be placed in the blue toters or the large mixed cans.  If you have large boxes or a large amount, contact General Services at [email protected] with your location and the amount of cardboard that you have.  Make sure that your recycling is clearly identified and separated from anything that you wish to keep.

Metal/Glass/Plastic  Recycling

Make sure that everything is cleaned of any food and dried.  Metal/glass/plastic can be disposed of in the large mixed recycling cans located around County facilities in corridors and common areas.  Please make sure that items are individually placed in the container and not inside another bag of any sort.  Please do not recycle metal, glass, or plastic in the office area paper bins and toters.

Bulk Recycling

If you have or anticipate having a large amount of recycling please contact General Services at [email protected].  Additional cans or pickups can be arranged with proper notice.

Please note that the collection information is applicable to General Services managed facilities. For facilities not managed by General Services, please contact your facility coordinator for the process in your building.

If you have questions about recycling at home, please call CVWMA at 340-0900 or Keep Henrico Beautiful at 501-7277.