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Recycling in Rockbridge, Lexington & Buena Vista

Where, What and How (as of August 2022)

Waste is a big problem here in Rockbridge and around the country. But it doesn’t have to all go into our landfill. You can help out (and in some cases make some money or support a local business) by diverting your waste from the landfill and giving a second life to the items that you no longer need. And in other cases by recycling the items you don’t want and cannot find a new home for.

A few tips:

Remember the Three Rs: Reduce – Reuse – Recycle

  • Buy less stuff!
  • Think about other uses for the things you already own instead of buying new.
  • Consider having a yard sale or donating any reusable items that you no longer want. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity are happy to take your items and resell them to support local folks in need.
  • You can also check your local schools or nonprofits to see if they need the items you have: many nonprofits have a wish list on their website.
  • Buy used items instead of new
  • Participate in the shared economy
  • Freecycle (there are local apps and Facebook groups (e.g., Buy Nothing Lexington VA or Rockbridge County Free for Needy Families) that will help you find a home for all sorts of things you no longer want)
  • If you can’t find a home for your unwanted items… it’s time to RECYCLE… read on:

City of Buena Vista

  • Glass bottles (all colors, cleaned) (support a locally owned business and drop off at Earth Magic Recycling in Buena Vista)
  • Scrap metal, corrugated cardboard and aluminum cans (take to Auto Recyclers LLC)
  • Plastic films (CLEAN), including grocery bags, bubble wrap, clean food wrappers, furniture wrap, plastic film wrappers from paper products and more (collected at Kroger, Walmart & Food Lion)

City of Lexington

  • Tin & alumninum cans (CLEAN) (drop off at 890 Shop Road)
  • Scrap metal (drop off at 890 Shop Road)
  • “Old Corrugated Cardboard” – flattened (drop off at 890 Shop Road) Read more here.
  • Glass (all colors, clean) (drop off at 890 Shop Road and they will take it to locally-owned Earth Magic Recycling in Buena Vista)
  • Plastic films (CLEAN), including grocery bags, bubble wrap, clean food wrappers, furniture wrap, plastic film wrappers from paper products and more (collected at Kroger, Walmart & Food Lion)
  • Compost (sign up here to participate in Rockbridge Conservation’s Compost Program)
  • Yard Waste (weekly street-side pickup)
  • Leaves (specific pickup days in fall)
  • Christmas trees (specific pickup day in January)
  • Hazardous Waste Collection Day (Rockbridge County’s annual Hazardous Waste Event at Maury River Middle School – Fall date: October 1)

County of Rockbridge

  • Paper & paperboard (cereal boxes)
  • ALL Plastic containers #1 & #2 (this is a recent expansion of what they can take!)
  • Tin & aluminum cans
  • Corrugated cardboard – flattened
  • Plastic films (CLEAN), including grocery bags, bubble wrap, clean food wrappers, furniture wrap, plastic film wrappers from paper products and more (collected at Kroger, Walmart & Food Lion)
  • Glass (all colors, clean) (drop off at locally-owned Earth Magic Recycling in Buena Vista)
  • Lithium and NiCad batteries are accepted for recycling at all of the County Staffed Collection Centers.
  • Scrap metal (drop off at one of the County’s recycling centers or sell to Auto Recyclers LLC in Buena Vista)
  • Hazardous Waste Event (once a year in Fall) co-hosted with Lexington: Pesticides, Herbicides, Fuels, Used Oil, Cleaners/Bleaches, Lithium and NiCad Batteries (will not be accepted if connectors are not taped), Antifreeze, Mercury (Household Products Only), Solvents, Sealants, Oil-Based Paints Only.


  • Scrap metal of all sorts: Sell it! (wire coat hangers, wire, car and other batteries (not household), empty metal paint cans, building supplies, smoke detectors, lamps, fire extinguishers, and more) to the folks at Auto Recyclers. LLC. Check their website for a list of what they accept. Call them at: 540-261-9991.
  • CFL bulbs (take to Lowes in plastic bag (1 bulb per bag) for drop off)
  • Prescription Medicine: Bring your unused, unneeded, or out of date prescription medicines to the County Sheriff’s office on Greenhouse Road near RCHS. They have a drop box there. This protects people, pets and the environment!  Please NEVER flush medicine down the toilet or dump in down a drain. It can contaminate the water!
  • Sneakers/running shoes: Bring your old sneakers to the Lex Running Shop in Lexington: they will recycle them through the Dunk Your Kicks program!
  • Boxes (small & medium sized) and paper grocery bags & egg cartons: bring them to the Rockbridge Area Relief Association and leave them in the donation box on the right side of the building. They will be put to good use!
  • Moving boxes & packing materials: if your materials are still usable after your move, offer them up on a local freecycle site like Buy Nothing. Folks who are moving can reuse your boxes and pass them along (or recycle them once they are finished with them).
  • Egg cartons & paper produce boxes: can be returned to most of the farmers at the Lexington Farmers Market AND also to Herman’s Produce
  • Honey jars: Cattleman’s will take these back (wash them first)
  • Extra cloth/reusable bags: Herman’s produce has a box outside the store where you can leave your extra reusable bags

Use Less/Buy Less:
As always, it’s better to reduce the waste you create as a first stab at recycling, and there are things we can do to avoid having to figure out how we can recycle waste:

  • Say “no, thank you” to straws, plastic bags, and other single use plastics
  • Buy less stuff
  • Buy items that are packaged in paper instead of plastic when you have a choice
  • BYO cup/mug to your favorite coffee shop
  • Buy paper serving products instead of plastic (if you cannot wash dishes)
  • BYO take out containers to your favorite restaurant and skip the styrofoam or additional plastic
  • Ask your favorite restaurants to purchase/use recyclable take out containers (not styrofoam or compostable paper)

Things you just can’t recycle here:

  • Plastics #3-7
  • Straws (just say no to straws!!)
  • Pizza boxes (the grease makes them impossible to recycle, but you may be able to compost these in your backyard compost)
  • Household batteries
  • Styrofoam, period: regardless of the recycling symbol on it! (this includes take-away containers, packing materials, etc)
  • Plastic utensils, including those made from “compostable” plastic
  • Compostable plastics (you cannot compost these at home either for the most part – they don’t break down, plus they’re probably not what you want to eat) Read more about this here.
  • Shredded paper
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