How to recycle in Lexington-Fayette

It’s not easy being green. Here’s what to keep in mind when recycling around the county.

A conveyor belt carries plastic and paper trash through a facility. It crosses other blue and yellow belts.

What we want to convey is, it’s not that complicated.

Photo via the City of Lexington

Table of Contents

Recycling can be confusing. We’re breaking down the details so you can make sure you’re recycling in the most effective way possible.

The following information is for Lexington-Fayette’s Recycle Center, which also serves surrounding counties.

♻️ Do I need to sort my recyclables?

Most recycling systems in the US have gone single-stream, including Lexington. That means your recyclables can go in one bin.

You should still make sure that your recyclables are visibly clean and dry by rinsing milk cartons and soda cans and running peanut butter jars through the wash (or giving them to your dog first). Recycle cartons and plastic containers with their lids attached, but glass, steel, or aluminum containers should be tossed separate from their lids.

Never bag recyclables.

♻️ Do and don’t recycle...

The Recycle Center gives you the full list of what you can and can’t recycle. Our highlights:


  • Plastic screwtop bottles, jugs, and jars marked #1 or #2 are recyclable. Think soda and water bottles, milk jugs, and liquid laundry detergent jugs. Hard plastics, cling film, bubble wrap, and takeout trays can skip the bin.
  • Uncrushed aluminum and tin cans are good to go. Crushing cans confuses automatic sorting, meaning they’ll likely end up in the landfill.
  • Glass is recyclable in Lexington-Fayette, but some affiliates of the Recycling Center don’t accept it. Double check your county’s guidelines.


  • Plastic bags are the no. 1 thing people try to recycle — but they fly off trucks, become litter + jam sorting rollers. Instead, see if your local grocery store has a bag recycling program.
  • Shredded paper should wait for a city Paper Shred event.

♻️ Thinking outside the blue bins

Recycling doesn’t stop at the blue bins — Lexington offers safe disposal services for paint, oil + hazardous waste, electronics, and bulky items.