-by Jennifer Fitz

As of last July, German Village has joined the city’s new free recycling program, RecyColumbus. Since last summer, lots of questions in the neighborhood regarding best-practices in recycling have come up. With this series of recycling tips, we hope to educate you on this new program and answer any questions that you may have!

When Does The Cart Go To The Curb?

  • Recycling must go out by 6 a.m.  the morning of your collection day. Find your collection day here or print out a schedule to help keep track of collection days here.
  • After collection, your cart must be moved and stored within 24 hours.
  • Your cart must be within one foot of the curb or alley and three feet from trash or other recycling carts.

What Belongs In The Bin?

Here’s what goes in the blue cart:

  • Aluminum and steel cans – and lids.
  • Flattened cardboard and pizza boxes (free of food and grease).
  • Plastic bottles/jugs.
  • Newspaper, magazines, catalogs, junk mail, computer paper, cereal and other dry food boxes and phone books.
  • Glass bottles and jars.
  • Cartons and juice boxes.

Here’s what doesn’t:

  • No trash or yard waste.  The blue cart is for recyclables only.
  • No plastic bags.
  • No hazardous materials, such as oil, pesticides, paints, cleaners or batteries.
  • No syringes/needles.
  • No Styrofoam.
  • No electronics or light bulbs.
  • No window glass, mirrors, dinnerware, ceramics or pots and pans.
  • No food.
  • No buckets, yogurt or butter tubs.
  • No foil juice pouches.


  • No sorting required. Put all recyclables in the blue cart.
  • Lids, caps and labels can be kept on recyclable containers.
  • Do not place dirty recyclables, like un-rinsed jars, in the cart.
  • Reference the  graphic on the lid of your blue cart if you are unsure whether or not an item is accepted.

What should I do with my yard waste?

  • Do not put yard waste in the blue recycling carts.
  • Yard waste is collected on alternating weeks, opposite that of recycling, in either biodegradable bags or separate containers.
  • The City of Columbus Compost Facility, or the Com-Til Compost Facility, is located at 7000 Jackson Pike. Call 614-645-3153 with any questions.
  • You can also dispose of yard waste at various drop-off locations. Find your nearest location here.

Yard waste includes:

  • Grass clippings.
  • Leaves.
  • Twigs and branches.
  • Shrubbery.

Yard waste does NOT include:

  • Rocks.
  • Dirt.
  • Food waste and fruits and vegetables.

Recycling – Why Is There A Single Cart Size?

  • The new recycling carts hold up to 64-gallons, which is enough space for two weeks’  worth of recycling.
  • Households generally recycle more with the 64-gallon cart than the smaller 32-gallon cart due to the extra available space.
  • The city uses this uniform size to for their efficient automated collection process.
  • Smaller or larger carts are not available.
  • However, additional carts are available for purchase. Call 645-3111 or complete an online order form here.

How Can I Help Educate My Neighbor?

  • Recycling is collected every other week (opposite of your yard waste collection); carts must be on the curb by 6 a.m. and removed within 24 hours of collection.
  • One can find the list of acceptable items to recycle here.
  • Recycling carts are not be overfilled.
  • If your neighbor does not comply with the city recycling regulations, you can contact 645-3111 to report the violation.
  • There is an exemption service available for elderly and disabled persons. Call 645-311 to request for recycling pick-up from your house if you are unable to do so.

Why Is The Cart Blue?

  • The blue cart indicates that it is a RecyColumbus cart, which helps the city on collection day.
  • Blue is the color used most often in the nation to depict recycling.
  • The second-most popular color used in recycling is green. Since the trash bins are green, blue is used to decipher between the two carts.

Why is it important to rinse recyclables that contained food or liquid?

  • Remainders of food and liquid contaminate the single stream recycling process by making items tough to process or unusable.
  • Please rinse any recyclables that are easily washable.
  • If items are too soiled with food or liquid residue, like pizza boxes or paper plates, please do not recycle them.

How can I help spread the word about recycling?


Where can I recycle items not listed on my blue cart?

  • Plastic bags can be recycled at your local grocery store.
  • Items such as chemicals, batteries and other hazardous materials should be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste collection facility at 1249 Essex Avenue.
  • The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) provides a list of locations where you can recycle your other items here.


The items not accepted by RecyColumbus include:

  • Trash or yard waste. The blue cart is for recyclables only.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Hazardous materials, such as oil, pesticides, paints, cleaners or batteries.
  • Syringes/needles.
  • Styrofoam.
  • Electronics or light bulbs.
  • Window glass, mirrors, dinnerware, ceramics or pots and pans.
  • Food.
  • Buckets, yogurt or butter tubs.
  • Foil juice pouches.


How do I avoid collecting water in my recycling cart?

  • Bins should be moved from the curb to the alley as soon as the recycling has been collected.
  • Closing the lids on the bins keeps rainwater or melting snow from collecting in the bottom of the cart.
  • If excess water has already accumulated in your bin, please dump this on the ground where there is good drainage.

Recycling contractors Rumpke said its workers leave the bins open, as that is their way of determining if the bins have been emptied.  It is the resident’s responsibility to pull them back to the garage/house, etc., if possible or to close the bin.


And don’t forget our series of Long-Range Planning Committee-created how-guides to live your best life in the Village. See the whole series here.