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Recycling and Organics Disposal/Food Waste

Organics Disposal/Food Waste
An organics drop-off program is available to resident at the Washington County Environmental Center. When you participate in the organics drop-off program, your food scraps and non-recyclable paper products will be recycled into compost at a commercial compost facility. Compost is a valuable resource that improves soil, reduces erosion, and decreases the need for fertilizers. 

Learn more about organics disposal

Mixed or Single Sort Recycling
recyclingResidents can put all recyclable materials into one bin for curbside pick-up (separating is not required). Recycling helps preserve resources and reduce the amount of waste going into incinerators and landfills. Below is a list of acceptable recyclables in Woodbury:

  • Cardboard boxes (Flatten and bundle boxes.)
  • Newspaper (inserts acceptable)
  • Magazines, phone books and office paper (Place shredded paper in a paper bag stapled shut)
  • Paperboard (cracker, chip, cereal and cake boxes; remove all liners and flatten.)
  • Mixed mail (envelopes with windows are okay)
  • Metal cans (rinse clean; labels okay)
  • Glass containers (rinse clean; remove caps and lids)
  • Plastic bottles (narrow neck bottles No. 1-7; rinse, close, flatten and reattach plastic caps or lids)
  • Cartons (shelf-stable juice and broth; refrigerated milk and juice cartons; empty and reattached cap)

Check with your licensed hauler for additional acceptable recyclables.

Do not place the following materials in curbside recycling:

  • Styrofoam
  • Household glass (e.g. light bulbs, broken or intact dishes/glasses, or mirrors)
  • Aerosol cans
  • Ceramic dishes
  • Toys

Hazardous Household Waste

hazardsIt is illegal to throw away certain items in the garbage per Minnesota and Washington County Ordinance. These items must be recycled or disposed of properly.

Examples of household hazardous waste materials:

  • Automotive parts (including automotive fluids, lead-acid batteries and oil filters)
  • Household, lawn or garden products such as aerosols, cleaners, florescent bulbs, mercury-containing items and products labeled: "poison," "danger," "warning" or "caution"
  • Electronics (including audio equipment, computers and peripherals, televisions and video equipment)

Specialty Recycling and Disposal

Unused Prescription Medication
Washington County residents can now dispose of their unused and expired medications at a year-round collection drop box. Old and unused medicines in a home can pose a risk for accidental poisoning, theft and drug abuse. Instead of flushing or throwing them in the trash, drop the drugs off for safe and free disposal. 

The Unused Medication Drop Box is located at the Washington County Service Center in Woodbury, 2150 Radio Drive. The drop box will be available 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.., Monday through Friday. Medications accepted include prescription, over-the-counter and pet medication. 

All drugs collected are secured at the the Washington County Sheriff's Office and then taken to a waste-to-energy facility that is licensed to burn this type of waste. The drug drop boxes are a joint project of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington County Department of Public Health and Environment.

For more information on what is accepted and how to prepare medications for drop-off, visit the Environmental Center's medication disposal page

Cell Phones
Cell phones contain harmful materials such as lead and cadmium that are released as phones break down. These materials, which can leach into soil and drinking water from phones buried in landfills, may cause cancer and a range of reproductive and developmental disorders, even when the substances are released in small quantities.

Woodbury Parks and Recreation is partnering with Cellular Recycler and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to keep cell phones out of the trash. Phones collected through this program are either recycled for their precious metals according to EPA standards or are refurbished for use in developing countries with less advanced cellular technology than the U.S. During the refurbishing process, the memory of each cell phone is "flashed" to wipe out any previous information stored on the phone and allow for reprogramming.

Ninety percent of the proceeds will go toward providing programs and life-long learning for older adults in the community and 10 percent goes back to the NCOA to help continue new and innovative ways to provide fundraising and support senior center initiatives across the country.

Used cell phones can be dropped off in the collection boxes at Woodbury City Hall, 8301 Valley Creek Road, and at the information desk inside Central Park, 8595 Central Park Place (adjacent to the YMCA). For more information, call Woodbury Parks and Recreation at 651-714-3583.

Holiday Lights
There is a convenient, cost-effective and environmentally-sound way to get rid of your unwanted holiday lights. Recycle Your Holidays™ is a statewide light recycling program beginning Nov. 15 and lasting throughout the holiday season. The program is sponsored by the Recycling Association of Minnesota (RAM) in partnership with WCCO and Xcel Energy.

Unlike any other holiday lights recycling program in the country, this program recycles every part of the light strand. This season, Recycle Your Holidays™ aims to recycle 200,000 light strands.

In Woodbury, there is a year-round drop-off for holiday lights at the Washington County Environmental Center, 4039 Cottage Grove Drive. Additional drop-off locations can be found at

Holiday Trees and Wreaths
The Woodbury compost site is opened on two Saturdays in January each year for the disposal of holiday trees and wreaths. In addition, all other yard waste will be accepted on these dates. 

Before you deliver your tree or wreath, remove all foreign matter from the tree, including lights, wire tinsel, ornaments, plastic bags, nails, tree stands, etc. Flocked trees and wreaths are also not recyclable. Any trees or wreaths not meeting these conditions will be rejected, as they represent a safety hazard to both the operator and the chipping machinery.

The compost site is located at 4600 Cottage Grove Drive, south of Bailey Road. The site is owned and operated by Composting Concepts, Inc. Questions about the compost site should be directed to Composting Concepts at (651) 769-0531.

Mattresses and Box Springs
Mattresses and box springs can be recycled. Second Chance Recycling, a nonprofit organization located in Southeast Minneapolis, accepts all quantities of mattresses for a small per piece fee.

Waste Reduction