Where to recycle everything

Well, almost everything

You’re probably already recycling most of your aluminum, glass, paper and tin cans at your curbside recycling. You apartment-dwellers can drop them off for recycling at Waste Management’s recycling center at 1100 E. Commercial Row.

But what about those less obvious, harder to recycle things? The batteries, lightbulbs and old cell phones you’ve been collecting until you figure out where to put them?

Unfortunately, there are still quite a few items Washoe County hasn’t figured out how—or doesn’t have the funding—to recycle yet, like yard waste and paint, and it ends up in a landfill.

The good news is Washoe County is meeting the state mandate to recycle 25 percent of its waste. But that’s also the bad news—we’re only recycling about 25 percent of our waste.

You can recycle more than you may think. Here’s a list to get you started on where to give new life to your old junk.

And while recycling is great, remember that, in many cases, it’s even better to reduce or reuse what you have.


You can pay to recycle antifreeze and oil at Thermo Fluids Inc. at 655 S. Stanford Way in Sparks, 219-7396, and Reno Drain Oil Service, at 11970 Interstate 80 East off Exit 23. Clean Harbor Environmental also recycles antifreeze for a fee at 1200 Marietta Way in Sparks, 331-9400.


Batteries Plus accepts all sorts of batteries, including cell phone and car batteries for recycling. 4898 S. Virginia St. in Reno and 400 S. Carson St. in Carson City; (775) 884-0566 for both locations. Kragen Auto Parts stores also recycle car batteries.


The Reno Bike Project will take your run-down bike, fix it up, and sell it at low-cost to promote urban cycling through its community bike shop. 250 Bell St., 323-4488, renobikeproject@gmail.com.

The Reno Sparks Kiwanis Bike Program also accepts bikes for fixing up and resale at 2605 Comstock Drive or at any fire station in Washoe County (except for Incline Village). Call 746-9310.

Or a few weeks before Burning Man, post your bike on Craigslist, and watch it disappear.


As long as it’s still in decent shape— minimal cat pee, please—some local thrift stores will accept used carpeting. Try Habitat for Humanity, 992 Spice Island Drive in Sparks, 323-5511; or Salvation Army on 2300 Valley Road in Reno, 688-4559.

Christmas Trees

Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful hosts Christmas Tree Recycling Dec. 26 through mid-January each year at Bartley Ranch and Rancho San Rafael regional parks and at Shadow Mountain Sports Complex. The mulch is used for erosion and weed control, animal beds and walkways—but not for gardening, as it’s too acidic. For more information, call 851-5185, or visit www.ktmb.org.

CFL bulbs

They’ve been handed out like the Second Coming of energy efficiency for the past few years, but until now, we’ve had nowhere to recycle the pig-tailed compact fluorescent light bulbs when they break or burn out. The mercury inside them makes it particularly important that they are recycled properly. Through a partnership with Sierra Pacific Power Company, Waste Management is now accepting CFLs for recycling at nearly all of its locations, including 100 Vassar St., 1390 E. Commercial Row, the Stead Transfer Station and Lockwood Regional Landfill. Visit www.sierrapacific.com for a full list of sites and collection times.

Coat hangers

Most local cleaners will take them.


Wal-Mart at 4855 Kietzke Lane has a drop box for old eyeglasses, which the Reno Host Lion Club collects to send to people in developing countries.

E-Waste: cell phones, computers and electronics

New2U Computers is a program through Disability Resources that accepts donated computers and computer-related e-waste, including cell phones, printers and ink and toner cartridges. The group repairs and sells them at low cost to people in the community and at no cost to people with disabilities. For a list of what can be recycled, visit www.new2ucomputers.com/donations.htm. 155 Glendale Ave., Suite 11, Sparks; 329-1126.

Waste Not in Incline Village collects e-waste (almost everything, but no non-flat screen TVs) every Tuesday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 1220 Sweetwater Road.

You can also drop old cell phones in the bin at Best Buy, 5575 S. Virginia St.

Ink and Toner Cartridges

Recycle or refill cartridges at Cartridge World, 1300 B2 E. Plumb Lane and 3150 Vista Blvd.; or Rapid Refill at 7675 S. Virginia St., and 5110 Mae Anne Ave. Pinky Pink’s Ink no longer has a storefront but will pick up cartridges if you call 356-1904. Best Buy at 5575 S. Virginia also accepts ink cartridges.

Motor oil and oil filters

Nearly anywhere in town that changes motor oil will recycle it; just call first to make sure. Filters are recycled by Jiffy Lube (many locations), Pep Boys (5000 Smithridge Drive, No. 1), Reno Drain Oil Service (11970 I-80 East), Clean Harbor Environmental (1200 Marietta Way, Sparks) and Howard’s Chevron (2799 E. Fourth St.).

Plastic Bags

Raley’s, Safeway, Save Mart, Scolari’s, Smith’s, Walmart and WinCo locations typically have bins for recycling plastic bags.

Area dog parks (Rancho San Rafael, Virginia Lake, Sparks Marina) also have small bins marked for plastic bags, where they’re not exactly recycled, but they are reused.


Residents and small businesses can have up to two refrigerators or freezers picked up for free and then be paid $20 each for them through Sierra Pacific’s Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling Program. They must be between 10 and 27 cubic feet, empty and operational. The program runs through December or until program funds run out. www.sierrapacific.com

Packing peanuts

Packing peanuts are the bane of any care package. Drop them off at any of these Mailboxes Etc. locations: 59 Damonte Ranch Parkway, Suite B, 852-3777; 10580 N. McCarran Blvd., Suite 115, 746-3988; or 4790 Caughlin Parkway, 826-2800. Some stores also accept boxes, bubble wrap and Styrofoam packing insulation.


Ray’s Tire Exchange recycles tires for a small fee. 730 E. Fourth St., 329-1106.

Yard waste

Washoe County has no “Green waste” program for all your branches, lawn cuttings and yard clippings. However, Full Circle Compost in Minden does. The business accepts green waste—branches, leaves, grass clippings, prunings and noncontaminated soil and sod—that’s free of rocks or plastic for $8 a cubic foot. You’ll then get a $3 credit toward compost at its store at 3190 Hwy. 395. Call 267-5305 or visit www.fullcirclecompost.com for more information.

Waste Not in Incline Village has Pine Needle Recycling drop off beginning May 15- Sept. 1 at the Diamond Peak Ski Resort (1210 Ski Way) upper parking lot from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends. It’s used mostly for erosion control on the slopes.

Odds and ends

For all of those perfectly good things you either no longer like or have too many of, there are many thrift stores in Reno that could use them. Or post them on Freecycle.com or Craigslist.org.