CORRECTING THE RECORD: It’s Not OK to Put Plastic Grocery Bags in my Recycling Bin

​FACT: Plastic bags are not accepted by the City’s recycling contractor. Only bottles and jugs, labeled one through seven, can be processed.
Virginia Beach, with the help of an outside contractor, operates a robust recycling program​ to help reduce waste and pollution. Each year, they collect about 30,000 tons of recyclable material – about the weight of 15,000 cars. But not all recyclables are created equal.

The recyclability of an item is determined by whether it has a buyer aka, someone willing to turn that waste into a resource. Currently- the only plastics accepted in the City’s curbside recycling program are #1-7 plastic bottles and jugs. The easiest way to remember this is that if you call it anything other than a “bottle” or a “jug” throw it in the trash. Also remember- never bag your recyclables. All recycling must be placed into your blue cart loose. 

Clean and dry plastic grocery bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, ice bags, plastic shopping envelopes, food storage bags, cereal bags, and produce bags can be taken to most grocery stores. Stores that participate in the plastic film recycling collect these items for a company that will turn those plastics into composite lumber.

Here are some other items that shouldn’t be placed in your recycling bin:
  • Household garbage
  • Waxed cardboard
  • Yard waste
  • Plastic toys and pools
  • Plastic motor oil containers
  • Styrofoam
  • Packing peanuts
  • Electronics
  • Household appliances
For a complete list of acceptable items and materials, please visit the curbside services page at​. Or, give Waste Management a call at (757) 385-4650 and one of the customer service representatives can assist you.

​View the Waste Management Services brochure.

Contact Information