National Waste & Recycling Association

The National Waste & Recycling Association is the trade association that represents the private sector solid waste and recycling industry. Visit and learn more the Association at

Begin with the Bin is a public education resource developed by the National Waste & Recycling Association.

The National Waste & Recycling Association is located at:
4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20008
T: 800-424-2869, 202-244-4700
F: 202-966-4824
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To use our contact form and to subscribe to our free publications, click here.
Media: Chris Doherty at 202-364-3751 or

Begin with the Bin

Begin with the Bin is a public education resource developed by the National Waste & Recycling Association. The site offers information and resources related to the waste and recycling industries. Visit and learn more at

Resources for Communities

Americans are becoming increasingly conscious about how their waste and recycling is collected and managed. Today, the waste and recycling industry is providing solutions for communities, including convenient curbside trash and recycling pick-up services, expanding composting programs, and waste-to-energy generation that is helping to meet our nation’s growing needs. Individuals, families, communities and businesses are helping to move our country in the right direction when it comes to waste management.

Explore this website to learn more about the industry and its solutions (and your part in the process). Below are further resources to help you realize your own waste and recycling management goals.

Recycling Resources

2014 National Recycling Survey

Curbside recycling is available to more than half of American adults, but the public could benefit from additional education on what can be recycled, according to a recent national survey.

The survey, commissioned ahead of Earth Day by the National Waste & Recycling Association (Waste & Recycling) and conducted online by the Harris Poll among more than 2,000 U.S. adults in April, found that two-thirds of Americans are clear on what belongs in recycling bins, indicating an opportunity to expand the other third’s knowledge of what can be recycled. Waste & Recycling is the trade group representing America’s private waste and recycling industry.

Full survey results and guidance for recycling smarter can be downloaded here.

“It is encouraging to learn that many Americans have access to recycling at home and are smart about what materials are recyclable. Our industry works every day to expand recycling, to increase the variety of materials we can recycle and to better educate the public to recycle even smarter,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of Waste & Recycling.

The survey found that more than half of Americans (55 percent) confirm their town or city offers “curbside collection” of recyclables, which they place into a bin or cart separate from their household trash bin. Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) say they’re clear on what materials go in recycling bins, and 64 percent know it is necessary to rinse used food containers before placing them into recycling receptacles.

Yet, there is some room for improvement on our recycling behaviors. For example, the survey found that one item causes particular confusion, as 39 percent of Americans incorrectly believe it is acceptable to recycle plastic bags by tossing them into household bins. Plastic bags can damage and even shut down recycling facilities and should instead be recycled at participating grocery stores.

The survey also uncovered that one in every 10 Americans (9 percent) admit to having put their trash into recycling bins or carts when their own trash container was full, and one in five (20 percent) admit they will place an item into a recycling container even if they are not completely sure it is recyclable.

“Americans should ‘know before they throw’ when recycling—it’s important to put the right materials in the bin and to keep the wrong ones out. This preserves the quality of the recycling stream and prevents contamination and damage to recycling equipment and facilities,” Kneiss said.  But she reiterated the industry is focused on expanding access and options.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Waste & Recycling Association from April 7-9, 2014 among 2,025adults ages 18 and older.This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Helpful Holiday Green Home and Recycling Tips

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and with the holiday season comes the company of loved ones, the glee of seasonal festivities and the joy of giving. And with the thousands of gifts, cards, trees and ornaments we share comes an influx of household holiday waste.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we increase our typical volume household waste by nearly a quarter during the winter holidays, producing almost 1 million additional tons nationwide.

But don’t look at garbage as the Grinch of your household’s holidays! Here’s a few tips from the National Waste & Recycling Association on how to keep your home sustainable through the New Year and beyond.

Recycle Right to stay on the Nice List

  •  A classic snapshot of a successful holiday haul is the pile of gift wrap, plastic packaging and empty cardboard by the fireplace. Wrapping paper is not recyclable and should not go in your curbside recycling bin. What to do? Try reusing it, along with your ribbons and bows.
  • Cardboard, newspaper and many other types of paper are almost always recyclable, and your local recycling company also likely accepts a number of types of plastics, along with the bottles and cans from your festive merriment. Check with your local hauler to see what you can and can’t recycle.
  • Holiday lights are a staple of the season, but inevitably they go out and must be disposed of. You should not recycle these in your curbside collection bin. However, your community waste and recycling program may accept them, as will certain retailers, including The Home Depot.
  • While we’re dreaming of a white Christmas with every Christmas card we write, we’re also accumulating quite a bit of recyclable paper. Nearly 3 billion holiday cards are sold annually in the U.S. Did you know that mail is generally recyclable in most communities? Enjoy holiday cards however long you like, but don’t feel bad about recycling them when you’re ready. It’s the right thing to do!

 Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly—Then Compost Them

  • Many natural holiday decorations—Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands made from organic materials—can be repurposed themselves in a natural way. Some communities will host post-holiday composting and mulching events for larger items like trees, and you may be able to manage smaller items in your own home composting bin.
  • If you can’t reuse every leftover item from your holiday feast—like those many fruit salads—you may be able to compost them. While meat products typically should not be composted, other natural items—fruits, vegetables, potatoes, coffee grounds and others—are welcome in the pile. You can even compost used cardboard. Try to donate other unused food to local charities before tossing.

It’s the Holiday Season, and Garbage Trucks are Comin’ Round

  • After Santa’s sleigh hauls out countless gifts this holiday season, America’s dedicated waste and recycling collectors will hit the roads in full force to haul back the packaging, paper and other waste we dispose of. Spread the holiday cheer to the curbside by stowing your waste and recycling bins and carts properly and securely dispose of any sharp objects, such as broken ornaments or plates. These should not be recycled.
  • Also be sure to be on the lookout for garbage trucks as closely as you’d look out for Santa’s reindeer. Remember to slow down to get around garbage trucks to protect yourself and waste workers from injury.

Find a Recycling Center/Service

  • 1800Recycling offers a search mechanism for recycling options.
  • Call2Recycle has a search tool for finding battery recycling options.
  • Earth911 offers a useful recycling center search tool based on recyclable. 

EPA Resources

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers a wealth of resources on their Reduce, Reuse, Recycle page. 

Electronics Recycling

Visit our page with resources on vendor take-back programs.

The EPA offers an interactive map to explore other electronics recycling resources around the country. 

2013 National Recycling Survey

But how do we feel about recycling? And can we be doing more of it?

For America Recycles Day 2013, the National Waste & Recycling Association commissioned a survey of Americans on their attitudes and behaviors when it comes to recycling. The survey data showed that Americans are overwhelmingly positive about recycling—but that there was also an expressed need to expand recycling in public places.

There is clear, positive energy when it comes to recycling and for majority of Americans:

  • 82% feel proud when they recycle.
  • 62% feel guilty when trashing something they could have recycled.
  • 74% will make an extra effort to recycle outside their homes. 

Americans are recycling at work, but less successfully “on the go”

  • Americans have mixed results recycling outside their homes, showing they may lack access to recycling options.
  • More than half are “often successful” recycling at work, but much fewer are successful in other public places.

Recycling isn’t yet a “no-brainer” for most Americans

  • Americans are split on whether they will toss recyclable items in the trash if they can’t find a recycling bin nearby, or whether they will keep the items until they can recycle them later.

What can we do about it?

Americans are recycling, want to recycle, feel good when recycling and will make an effort to recycle outside their homes. We need to make recycling options accessible to the point that recycling that can or bottle in your hand becomes a no-brainer.

We need more recycling options on our main streets and in our shopping malls, restaurants, theaters, airports, gas stations and other public spaces.

Contact your local waste company, businesses, fellow residents and community leaders and let them know you are proud to recycle. Together, we can all partner to make more public recycling options a reality.

Read the full survey report.

Download a graphic presentation of the survey results in either JPEG or PDF formats.

America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Every year on or around November 15 (America Recycles Day) event organizers like you, educate neighbors, friends and colleagues through thousands of events.

Learn more about America Recycles Day and use the program’s toolkits and go-to-guides to promote recycling in your community.

Composting Resources

Grilling Green: Composting at Your Cookout

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Americans love cooking out, sunshine, good food and camaraderie. Nearly 80 million Americans—almost 35 percent—indicated that they barbecued at least once a year according to the last U.S. Census, with nearly 55 million claiming to grill at least once a month. And while veggies are on the rise, most grillers are cooking meat.

Summertime means more grilling, as a recent Weber-Stephen Products’ survey found that 25 percent of grillers will host five or more barbecues throughout the season. And with fall comes football season, when countless tailgates and cookouts will crop up weekly across the country.

This means a lot of material going in the garbage. The amount of food waste produced globally each year has drawn the attention of the United Nations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.N. estimates that the world wastes a third of the food it produces annually—that’s 1.3 billion tons, costing $750 billion and impacting the environment— while the EPA estimates that the U.S. generated more than 36 million tons of wasted food in 2012 alone.

You can help by recycling and composting as much as you can.

  • Plastics

    Your plastic packaging, plates, cups and utensils may be recyclable. Check with your municipality to be sure, and clean food residue off any items before recycling them.
  • Paper

    Do you have damp paper towels or used paper plates? Did you use newspaper as a tablecloth or placemat? Shred and toss them into your composting bin, and they’ll break down—just make sure to keep plastic out.
  • Plastic Bags

    Don’t put plastic bags in your recycling bin! Collect and take them back to your grocery store, where you’ll be able to deposit them for recycling.
  • Bread

    Burger and hot dog buns make great snacks for birds and squirrels, but they also attract unwanted pests quickly. When composting, make sure to bury them. Otherwise, trash them and save what you can for leftover sandwiches.
  • Fruits

    Leftover watermelon, pineapples from grilling, orange and cherry garnishes and fruit salads are a composting feast—toss them in your pile.
  • Vegetables

    Veggies like corn, peppers, artichokes and others—can be especially delicious on a kebob, or even alone. Vegetables—including seeds, peelings, corn husks and toppings—are also compostable, so if you can’t use or finish them in one sitting, toss them in the pile.
  • Meat

    Burgers, sausages, ribs, chicken and more are welcome at the table but not in the compost pile. These decompose slowly, and bones and leftover scraps smell and attract unwelcome pests. Save leftovers and place everything else in a secure garbage bag before tossing in the trash.
  • Condiment containers

    Your ketchup, mustard, mayo and relish bottles and jars are generally recyclable. Give them a quick rinse when they’re empty and put them in your bin.
  • Bottles and cans

    Water, beer and sodas are guaranteed to show up at your cookout. Set up a separate bin for recycling your beverage containers. Caps can remain on the plastic bottles.

When cooking out don’t just throw it out—recycle and compost what you can. Let’s Begin with the Bin to keep grilling green!

EPA Resources

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers information on composting at home, including a useful how-to-guide.