You can see updates to Water & DPW specific operations & our Shared Streets intiative during the city's response to Covid-19 here

Department of Public Works

Recycling and Solid Waste FAQs


What day is my recycling picked up?

The city has three recycling trucks that collect recycling each weekday starting at 7:00 a.m. Follow the links for each weekday to view each route collection map:


Where do the collected recyclables go?

Collected materials are transported to the Chittenden County Solid Waste District's Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Williston, where they are sorted, baled, and shipped to appropriate markets.


How can I compost in Burlington?

SoilSaver compost bins can be purchased at from Green Mountain Compost at a subsidized rate. The SoilSaver bins measure 28" square by 30" tall and weigh 30 lbs. They are made of 50% recycled HDPE plastic and serve a household up to 5 people. SoilSaver bins are passive composters - you don't need to turn them, though occasional stirring is helpful. SoilSaver bins have large, locking lids and two sliding doors at the bottom that make loading and unloading fast and easy and make it difficult for critters to open. By composting, you can reduce the amount of trash you send to the landfill by about a third - that is an average of about 650 pounds per household! In addition to food scraps, you can also compost soiled paper such as paper towels and napkins. Click here for information to help you get started composting at home or to troubleshoot problems with your existing compost. For folks who are new to composting, or re-starting their compost piles, please know that help is always available for questions that arise by calling CSWD's hotline at 872-8111.


What is the history of recycling in Burlington?

In 1989, the City began a residential curbside recycling pilot project that served 3,000 residential units. During this time, a recycling drop-off facility was opened for residents who were not served by the pilot project. In 1990, Public Works staff completed a comprehensive report on residential recycling and toxic materials collection. The City joined the Chittenden Solid Waste District in March of 1990. In 1991, the City expanded the recycling program to include all buildings with up to four dwelling units. In 1992, the City passed a mandatory recycling ordinance for residents and businesses and expanded curbside recyclables collection to include all residential dwelling units. In 1993, the City began municipal collection of residential recyclables. In 2003, the City purchased three new recycling trucks, completed a route balancing study, and joined the Chittenden Solid Waste District in converting from a co-mingle system to single stream, or "all in one recycling" system. 


What items can I recycle?

Throughout Chittenden County all residental recycling programs follow the Chittenden Solid Waste Districts recyclables list. To review this list, visit the Chittenden Solid Waste District's Recycling List.


Where can I compost wood and yard debris in Burlington?

Businesses and residences can bring limited amounts of yard debris to the McNeil Wood and Yard Waste Depot at 111 Intervale Road. McNeil Depot hours change with the seasons. Yard debris collected at the McNeil Depot will be transported to the new location of Green Mountain Compost (formerly Intervale Compost Products) on Redmond Road in Williston, where it will be used to make compost. Yard debris may also be taken to any CSWD Drop Off Center, which are located in Burlington, South Burlington, Essex, Williston, and more.


Who pays for the recycling program in Burlington?

Funding for the recycling program comes from a Solid Waste Generation Tax assessed to each residential unit within the City. This tax is currently $3.70 per month per residential unit and is being collected for the City by the private trash haulers who pick up your solid waste.


Why wasn't my recycling picked up?

Improper preparation of materials (e.g. left in plastic bags or left with non-recyclables) or placing bins curbside after 7:00 am are the biggest reasons that recycling was not be picked up. Recyclables in plastic bags cannot be accepted, except shredded paper in clear plastic bags. In addition, any evidence of non-recyclables or food in your recycle bin may lead to your recycling not being picked up. The recyclable materials we collect are taken to be sorted and sold, and eventually manufactured into new products. With too many non-recyclables in the mix, the material cannot be used. Look for a bright green sticker indicating improper preparation. For missed pick ups call (802) 863-9094 during normal business hours. For the holiday schedule, see below.


Will recycling be collected on holidays?

Recycling will not be collected on the observed holidays of July 4th, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas. If your recycling day falls on one of these observed holidays, your recyclables will be collected the following week on your recycling day. We suggest calling 863.9094 to confirm our collection schedule.