City of Little Rock Recycling Contract

*Please check back periodically, as we are continually updating the information on this webpage*

The Basics: 

In 2012 the City of Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Sherwood entered into a joint 7-year recycling contract with Waste Management. This contract covers residential recycling only. If you live in a single family household, a duplex, triplex, or quadplex then you are covered by the residential recycling contract. The cost of the recycling program that started in 2012 is $2.99 per household. Every household pays $2.07 a month for bi-weekly recycling pickup. The City of Little Rock pays the difference ($0.92) for every household every month. The per household $2.07 charge is included in the solid waste services fee on the UBS/water bill. 

The Changes: 

The recycling landscape in the United States has been changing very quickly since the beginning of 2018. A cascade of changes have occurred since China enacted the Green Fence and Green Sword. These changes have made it more difficult for companies that collect and sort recyclables to find a home for the recycling products that they collect. The high rates of contamination also make it difficult for recycling collection companies to sell the products they collect. Due to contamination and China's ban on contaminated recyclables, Waste Management has levied higher prices on every city and county in the U.S. for which the company provides recycling services. Some cities have refused to pay the higher fees and are no longer offering recycling to their residents. Some cities in more populated areas had the option to switch to a different service provider. Here in Central Arkansas we do not have the resources to quickly change to an alternative recycling service provider, but the City of Little Rock did not feel like it was environmentally or socially just to stop the residential recycling program. Therefore the City's Board of Directors approved a rate increase for the recycling program on October 1st, 2018; you can watch that board meeting here.     

The recycling program rate increases are as follows: 

- Every household will continue to pay their portion of the $2.99 recycling fee through March 31st, 2019. 

- Starting on April 1st, 2019 the per household recycling fee will increase to $4.14 per month. This will be the per household recycling fee until March 31st, 2020. 

- Starting on April 1st, 2020 the per household recycling fee will increase to $4.29 per month. This will be the per household recycling fee until the end of the recycling contract on March 31st, 2021. 

The new contract also changes the list of accepted recyclables. Starting April 1st, 2019 glass will no longer be accepted in residential recycling carts. You can read about why glass will no longer be accepted by visiting our "Glass Recycling" webpage.    

Recycling Rules:

Under the 2012 contract, Little Rock switched from dual stream recycling to single stream. Dual stream recycling is when you separate your recyclables into different bins. For example, in Little Rock we used to separate our fiber (cardboard and paper), metal, and plastics into three different bins. Single stream recycling is when you put all accepted recyclables into one bin, so there is no need to separate fiber from metal, plastic, and glass. 

The single stream recycling movement started in the 2000's with the goal of increasing participation in recycling. The ease of placing all recyclables into one bin significantly increased recycling participation rates. Little Rock's participation increased from 25% to 85% when we started single stream recycling. Unfortunately, single stream has also significantly increased contamination rates, causing a variety of problems for the recycling industry. Use our Acceptable Materials page to learn how to properly recycle and how to reduce contamination! 

City Rules about Recycling Carts: 

  • Recycling pick-up will be in the same location your garbage is picked up.  For example, if your trash is picked up in the alley, recycling will be picked up in the alley. 
  • Please allow for a minimum of three (3) feet between the trash cart and recycling cart. (Ord. No. 20,562, § 2, 3-27-12)
  • Recycling containers should not be placed out for collection prior to 4:00 p.m. the day preceding the normal collection day. Recycling containers should be removed by midnight the day of completion of recycling collection. (Ord. No. 20,562, § 5, 3-27-12)