Reducing the reliability on landfills and keeping our coastal environment clean and safe for our future generations is the mission of New Hanover County’s recycling division.

As part of the county’s solid waste management system, the recycling division collects a variety of materials from the waste stream for recycling. The recycling team services seven drop-off sites throughout the county on a daily basis. These sites are for the convenience of county residents that want to recycle materials that would otherwise be placed in their garbage containers. The main recycling processing facility (located at 3002 US Highway 421 North) welcomes sorted recyclables from commercial sources.

  • Aluminum Cans and Steel Food Cans - Any metal container used for soup, pet food, vegetables, condensed milk, etc. Rinse out cans before recycling.
  • Batteries - Alkaline and lithium batteries, rechargeable Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH), Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), and Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) batteries can be recycled - just look for the bright yellow “igloo” receptacle. Learn more about how to recycle batteries on the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling page.
  • Books - Softcover books can be recycled “as is”. For Hardcover books, remove and discard the spine and front and back covers.
  • Cardboard - Flatten cardboard boxes and do not place Styrofoam in the cardboard containers.
  • Cartons - Milk, juice, soup, broth, wine, cream, egg substitute cartons, etc.
  • Coffee Pods - Peel back the covering and dump coffee grounds into a compost or trash bin before disposing of the plastic pod in your recycling bin. 
  • Glass Bottles and Jars - Glass bottles & jars do not need to be color-separated. Remove the lid, and rinse clean before recycling.
  • Electronics - If it runs off of a battery or has a plug, it can be recycled! Learn more about recycling electronics on the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Recycling page.
  • Mixed Paper - Office paper, magazines, paper bags, cereal and food boxes, craft paper, wrapping paper, junk mail, brochures, catalogs, and phone books are accepted. Staples and paper clips do not have to be removed.
  • Newspaper - Newspaper inserts can be recycled as well.
  • Paper cups or cartons - To-go cups used at restaurants and coffee shops, along with cartons used to hold liquids like juice, milk or stocks and broths. Should be empty and lightly rinsed to remove leftover residue and reduce contamination.
  • Plastic Containers - Please no plastic bags, films, or Styrofoam. No containers that contained motor oil or pesticides are accepted. Milk jugs, soda, water bottles, plastic cups, and detergent bottles (plastics #1, #2 and #5 only). Rinse out the container and caps/lids should be left on. Spray nozzles should be removed and discarded.
  • Spiral Containers - Tubular, fiberboard containers with metal or plastic end caps.

Note: All materials except for cardboard and glass can go into the “Mixed Recycling” containers. There are separate marked containers for cardboard and glass.

Note: No plastic bags, please! Return them to a grocery store that offers plastic bag recycling.

New Hanover County is pleased to partner with Sonoco Recycling, LLC for the processing and marketing of collected recycled materials at the county’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). This facility serves New Hanover, Pender, and Brunswick counties and processes over 25,000 tons of recyclables per year. It is the only MRF in Southeastern North Carolina and many of the recovered materials are shipped worldwide through the Port of Wilmington.