Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. We do not have curbside collection for food scraps but we do partner with farmers markets throughout the City to collect food scraps from June through September. We have a permanent drop off location at the corner of Bidwell and Elmwood Ave. Acceptable items to drop off are as follows: Vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds (filter ok), tea bags, nuts & egg shells.

City of Buffalo currently has a diversion rate of 30.07.%.  The Diversion Rate, based on weight,  includes all materials that are pulled out of the waste stream and recycled for which there is data available.  The curbside recycling rate is 16%.  Mayor Byron Brown’s 2019 Annual Recycling Report is available here: 2019 Annual Recycling Report

Yes. The City of Buffalo has a mandatory recycling ordinance.

Multiple-dwelling buildings are required to provide recycling to their tenants.

Recycling helps the environment by conserving natural resources. Recycling helps stabilize the User Fee because recycling is less costly than garbage disposal. The more we recycle, the more we save.

No. Recyclables are not thrown out. They are valuable resources that are sold to make new products.

If you miss your weekly recycling pickup, or if the truck misses your stop, please leave your green tote out and call 311. A truck will return.

Recycling and garbage are picked up on the same day every week by different trucks—Republic Services, the City’s recycling contractor, picks up recycling; the City Sanitation Department picks up garbage. Please call 311 to determine your collection day, or visit the Collection Schedules tab at the top of this website.

Single-stream recycling is when all recyclables are collected in the same container. There was a time when paper had to be kept separate from the rest of the recyclables; that is no longer necessary.

Western New York Coalition for Donated Goods was formed to make it easier for residents to locate donation opportunities for used clothing and furniture. For a list of locations, please visit  https://www.buffalony.gov/382/Streets-Sanitation

Yard waste—trees, shrubs, grass clippings—that is left at the curb during the leaf pickup period in the fall are composted. If residents want to ensure that yard waste is composted other times of the year, they can drop off yard waste at Geiter Done of WNY, 383 Babcock St., Buffalo, NY 14206.

All yard waste collected during leaf collection in the fall, as well as Christmas tree pickup after the holidays, is composted.

Compost and wood chips are available to residents at Geiter Done of WNY, 14206.

Both Styrofoam and plastic bags present operational problems for the Material Recycling Facility, where recyclables are processed. Clean, white Styrofoam can be brought to Thermal Foams for recycling (call first for an appointment). New York State law requires that stores provide drop-off bins for plastic bags. Bring your plastic bags to the grocery store for easy disposal.

The City has many commodities that handle recycling and garbage:
Garbage—East Side Transfer Station
Recycling (collected curbside)—Modern Recycling – Material Recycling Facility
Electronic waste—Electronic Recyclers International
Yard waste—Buffalo River Compost Facility
Tires—Geiter Done of WNY
Scrap metal—various metal recyclers in Buffalo

The City of Buffalo sponsors occasional special collection events throughout the year. Residents should call 311 for more information.

An “Oops Tag” will be placed on your green tote if it contained material that is not recyclable. Residents should remove the contaminant and put it in the blue tote.

Yes. All recyclable plastic or glass that touched food should be rinsed with water.

The City of Buffalo curbside collection program accepts all plastic bottles and food containers labeled with recycling codes 1 through 7. The exception is styrofoam and plastic bags: they DO NOT go in the green tote.

We recommend you first try to donate or resell unwanted furniture or household items, whenever possible. However, the City hosts bulk trash pickup days in each of the council districts. Residents should check our website’s calendar OR call 311 for dates.