In Larimer County, curbside recycling is available for most households either through their municipality or a local hauler. With some haulers, it is advantageous to recycle more items and reduce the size of your trash cart, as pricing is based on cart size. If you live in an area where curbside recycling is not available, you may use the recycling drop-off bins at the landfill and residential convenience centers.

Single stream recycling is the method used for recycling collection in Larimer County. This means that all recyclables can be collected in the same container to be transported to the recycling center. Recycling pickup typically occurs once every two weeks.

What can be recycled curbside
Recycle guide

View or download the recycle guide to see what can and cannot be recycled curbside. You can recycle cardboard, glass bottles and jars, metal cans, plastic bottles/jars/jugs and tubs, and paper/paperboard, including cartons. **Note: Please contact your trash and recycling hauler for specific requirements.**

We provide free recycling presentations to groups. If interested, please call 970-498-5772 or email to set it up.

It isn't rocket science, but it can be confusing ... 

  • Just because it's plastic or paper doesn't mean it's recyclable!
  • Ignore the chasing arrows symbol; that doesn't necessarily mean it's recyclable.
  • Recycle only plastic containers, and only if they're one of four shapes: bottles, jars, jugs and tubs.
  • Most paper can be recycled but the main exceptions are as follows: do not recycle paper towels, paper plates and paper cups.
  • All paperboard boxes can be recycled except for boxes from the freezer.
  • Containers made of mixed materials should not be recycled (such as: Pringles containers).

How to recycle properly

  • Flatten cardboard boxes.
  • It’s okay to leave labels and lids on clean and empty, recyclable containers. (Caps on glass bottles and jars should be reused or discarded.)
  • It’s okay to recycle paper products with tape, rubber bands and staples, and envelopes with windows.
  • Use a spatula or spoon to remove excess product from containers such as peanut butter and dressing.
  • Do not recycle plastic bags in your recycle cart!

How to recycle items not accepted curbside

The City of Fort Collins has a comprehensive A-Z Recycling Guide that provides alternatives to throwing items away. View our A-Z list for disposal options for various waste items, on-site at the landfill.

What happens to my recyclables?

Recyclables are collected and transported to the Recycle Center at the landfill. After they are unloaded inside the center, fiber (cardboard and paper) is separated with an OCC Screen, baled and shipped directly to market. Remaining recyclables are transported to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where they are separated and prepared for marketing to a manufacturer that uses recycled content for new products.

At the MRF, various methods separate the mixed recycling based on material type. Screens isolate fiber from containers, air jets sort heavier and lighter plastics, optical sensors separate plastics by polymer type or color, and magnets and eddy currents (powerful magnetic fields) separate steel from aluminum.

Visit the Garbage Garage Education Center to learn more about recycling and other sustainable waste solutions. It's fun, free, and educational!