October 13, 2023

The State of Recycling: Debunking Recycling Myths

Just as you separate recycling from trash, we want to separate the recycling myths from the facts.

State of Recycling Recycling Realities

You’ve been hearing a lot about recycling in the City of Virginia Beach. Some of it might be misinformation. Just as you separate your recycling from your trash, we want to separate the myths from the facts, so that you can provide us with your most valuable input when you complete the survey on the future of the recycling program in Virginia Beach. Learn more and complete the survey at SpeakUpVB.com/Recycling.

MYTH: Virginia Beach is getting rid of the recycling program.

FACT: Recycling is a way of life in Virginia Beach, and it is here to stay.

Recycling is important to our residents, visitors, businesses and City leaders. Also, encouraging environmentally responsible waste management services for the community that are reliable, cost-effective, and promote reuse and recycling is an objective in the City's sustainability plan: Community for a Lifetime: Working toward economic, environmental, and social sustainability.

But, change is coming to the recycling program. The City of Virginia Beach's curbside recycling contract with Tidewater Fibre Corp. (TFC Recycling) expires in June 2024. Changes in the global commodities market have led to increased costs in recycling operations. With input from residents, City leaders will make decisions and develop policies for the future recycling program and how it will be funded in the FY24-25 budget.

MYTH: The survey is only for those who already have curbside recycling services.

FACT: The recycling survey is open to anyone who lives in the City of Virginia Beach.

We want a broad range of input from all areas of Virginia Beach, demographic groups and opinions on recycling.

All residents are encouraged to visit SpeakUpVB.com/Recycling for a brief overview of the current state of recycling, the current recycling contract, what can be recycled in Virginia Beach, options for the future of the recycling program, and additional questions and answers.

Make sure to provide your input by completing the survey before it closes on Friday, Nov. 17. Those who would prefer a paper copy of the survey may call 757-385-4679. Content on the project page and the survey can be translated into several languages via the Google Translate tool available at the top right of the webpage.

MYTH: It doesn’t matter what you put in the recycling bin.

FACT: Careful selection of what goes in blue recycling bins saves time, money and resources for you, the City of Virginia Beach and the environment.

At TFC’s sorting facility, staff members manually sort through items to remove those that would damage the machinery and that cannot be reprocessed. In our area, nearly half of the items put into recycling must be removed. Our 43.84% rate of trash in recycling is much higher than the national average of 13.7%. The higher rate of contaminated recycling materials means more time and higher costs to process.

MYTH: Anything with a recycling symbol can be put in the recycling bin.

FACT: TFC Recycling can process only certain kinds of materials.

For an item to be accepted in a recycling program, that item must have a buyer who can turn that recyclable into a new product. It is important to follow the guidelines provided by the recycling contractor and the City of Virginia Beach on what can be recycled.

Find more information and hours for the drop-off center and other resources at pw.virginiabeach.gov/trash-recycling/recycling-information.

Learn more about what can be recycled or dropped off and the process that recycled materials go through on the project tabs and take the survey today at SpeakUpVB.com/Recycling.

Contact Information

Waste Management Customer Service

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