Curbside Recycling

The City of Huntsville provides the public with the opportunity to participate in the Curbside Recycling program at no charge to the customer.  

Residential Recycling Collection is provided either on Thursday or Friday.  The City of Huntsville will provide each active utility account with a BLUE recycling cart.  These carts are available in two sizes, a 48 gallon cart and a 96 gallon cart.  Customers inquiring about collection days at a particular address may contact the Solid Waste and Recycling Services Division at 936-294-5712.

On the day of collection, the city issued BLUE recycling cart must be placed within two feet of the curb or the streets edge no later than 6:00 am.  Recycling must not be bagged, it must be placed loose inside the cart.  No items outside of the cart or on the ground will be collected.  No recycling will be collected from personal garbage cans.  Please do not place recycling on top of the cart lid.  The cart needs to be five feet from all vehicles, trailers, boats, mail boxes, fire hydrants, utility poles, fences, other carts, etc.

If you have recently moved to a new location, once you have opened and activated your city utility account, the Utility Billing Department will send the Solid Waste and Recycling Department a report that lets us know that a new account has been opened.  If there are no carts showing in our system, we will create a work order and will usually make delivery of your garbage cart within five to seven days.  If you would like a BLUE recycling cart in order to participate in our recycling program, you will need to contact the Solid Waste and Recycling Department.  

Low hanging utility lines flyer

What is allowed to go into my recycling cart?

There are very specific rules to using the recycling cart and participating in the program.  If these rules are not followed, the Solid Waste and Recycling Department will have to remove your recycling cart from your location and you will not be able to participate in the program any more.  Follow this link to see an article written by the Washington Post about this very topic.improper recycling

This is an example of improper recycling.

Items must be clean and placed loose in your recycling cart, do not bag anything. If the items are not clean then it is garbage. There are three categories of items that are allowed to be placed in your recycling cart.  Here are a few examples of some of the items for these three categories.
Paper Products
  • Office Paper
  • News Paper
  • Junk Mail
  • Small Cardboard Boxes
  • Toilet Paper tubes
Plastic Bottles-
There needs to be a recycling logo with the # 1-5, and # 7
  • Water Bottles
  • Soda Bottles
  • Shampoo Bottles
  • Milk Bottles
  • Juice Bottles
  • Soda Cans
  • Beer Cans
  • Soup Cans
  • Vegetable Can

There are several items that, although they are recyclable, they are not able to be recycled through this program.  If the item that you are thinking of placing in your BLUE cart does not fit into one of the three above categories, it belongs in the GREEN garbage cart. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!

Some common things that we find in the recycling carts that do not belong in there include the following:

  • Garbage
  • Plastic bags of any kind
  • Foil
  • Zip Lock bags
  • Yard Waste
  • Shoes
  • Mops/Brooms
  • Clothes/Blankets
  • Film Plastics (any plastic that is not rigid)
  • Lumber
  • Shredded Paper
  • Toys
  • Dirty paper plates and pizza boxes
  • Glass
  • Batteries
  • Water Hose
  • Bathroom Scales
  • Toasters
  • Styrofoam of any kind, including cups, egg cartons, packing peanuts, or wrap
  • Hangers
  • Sheet Rock

What do I do if my recycling won't fit in my cart?

If you have recycling that will not fit in your BLUE recycling cart, you can bring the recycling to the Transfer Station Facility for disposal.  Please see more information about our Transfer Station Facility on our Solid Waste/Recycling page.

If you continually have recycling that does not fit into your BLUE recycling cart, you can request a second BLUE recycling cart to be assigned to your address.  There is no charge for a second cart.  Please call 936-294-5712 to request a second cart.  

​What do I do if I want to change the size of my recycling cart?

Just give us a call and let us know at 936-294-5712.  We have two sizes of recycling carts, a 48-gallon, and a 96-gallon.

What do I do if my recycling cart is damaged?

If your lid breaks, a wheel falls off, or the can cracks, there is no reason to worry.  Please call 936-294-5712 and request a replacement cart.  Leave the damaged cart outside where it can easily be located.  We will send out someone within 5 to 7 days to deliver a new cart, and pick up the damaged cart.

If your lid keeps breaking, check to see which way it is left on the street's edge.  Our trucks have mechanical arms that reach out and grab these recycling carts.  If the handle of the cart is facing the road, not the house, the lid can get stuck on this arm and can get pulled off. Turn the cart so that the handle is facing away from the road and there should be no more broken lids.

What do I do if my recycling cart is missing?

This does happen, and there could be multiple reasons.  The most common reason is that there was a storm and the cart simply floated away.  If this happens, please look for the cart in the direction that the water would flow on your street.  If you are unable to locate the cart, call 936-294-5712 and request a replacement cart.
There will be a $50 replacement cart fee applied to your utility bill.

Another common reason that the cart is missing is that it was pulled for miss use by the Solid Waste and Recycling Department.  A door hanger should have been placed on your front door notifying you that there were items placed in your cart that did not belong in there.

If your cart has gone missing for any other reason, please contact us at 936-294-5712 and request a replacement cart.  This most often happens when a recycling cart is left on the street's edge continuously.  To avoid this, please do not put out your cart any sooner than 8:00 pm the night before it is serviced, and pull your cart from the street's edge after the cart has been serviced.

​What if my cart got pulled for misuse and I wasn't the person that put those items in the cart?

When you decide to participate in the curbside recycling program, it becomes your responsibility to monitor all items that go into the recycling cart.  If you are not able to do this, you will not be able to continue participating in the curbside recycling program.

My recycling keeps getting missed, why?

There are several reasons why this might be happening.

Answer 1 - The cart was placed at the streets edge after the truck had already gone down your side of the street.  
The recycling routes can change on a daily bases due to changes in drivers, traffic patterns, truck breakdowns, more or fewer carts than usual being set out on a particular day, or the driver had to change his route due to a customer's request to return to a particular location.  The driver will start his route at 6:00 am, and due to the different reasons as to why a route might  change, even though you usually notice your driver coming through your street around 10:00 am, that could change and the  driver could be down your street at any time.  This is why it is important to have your cart at the street's edge by 6:00 a.m.

Answer 2 - The driver has not been on your side of the street yet.
The trucks are designed to pick up one side of the street at a time.  In order to be efficient with time, the routes are written so  that the driver can drive as far as possible with making as few turns as possible, so your driver might not be back down the other side of your street for several hours.  If there has been a breakdown in the middle of the route, this could further delay the driver's return.  

Answer 3 - The cart was blocked in some way.
If your cart was placed too close to an obstacle, or a vehicle was parked in front of the cart at the time that the driver came to  your location for servicing, the driver was not able to provide service.  Often the vehicle blocking the cart does not belong to  the customer that has been blocked.  It could be a neighbor, a visitor, a yard service crew, tv/cable truck, construction  workers, etc.

Answer 4 - The cart was set too far back off of the street's edge.
The arms of the trucks that reach out and grab your recycling cart are only so long.  If the cart is set too far back off the  road, the driver will not be able to grab the cart.  The cart must be set as close to the street's edge as possible.  Find or create  a location on your property that meets this requirement.  If you would like suggestions or help with finding a solution to this  problem, please contact us at 936-294-5712.