Residential Recycling and Waste Reduction

The following information is meant to assist Oakdale residents in their recycling and waste reduction efforts. 

Reduce waste

Food scraps drop-off program

Nearly 20 percent of our trash is food waste. When you participate in Washington County’s food scraps drop-off program, your food waste and non-recyclable paper products are turned into finished compost. Compost is a valuable resource that improves soil, reduces erosion, and decreases the need for fertilizers! Here’s how the program works:

  • Find a container to collect food scraps. Use a plastic or steel container that you already have at home, like an ice cream bucket or a coffee tin, for a compost pail. Or, buy a container from a retailer. The City of Oakdale provides residents with a free compost pail while supplies last. Contact Shannon Reidlinger at for your free pail! Limit one pail per household.
  • Start collecting food scraps at home. Line your container with a compostable bag and fill it with food scraps and other accepted items like fruits and vegetables, coffee and eggshells, bread and pasta, paper towels, and dirty paper bags. Pick up free compostable bags at a Washington County food scraps drop-off site. If using a bag not provided by the County, check that it has the “compostable” logo from the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) on the bag or the box. 
  • Bring bagged food scraps to a drop-off site. If you’re worried about your compost smelling in your kitchen, try storing your filled bags in your fridge or freezer in between drop-offs. When you drop off a filled bag, pick up another free bag!

Visit the Food Scraps Program site for more information on locations/hours and accepted items. Washington County residents may also access drop-off locations through Ramsey County including Maplewood, Battle Creek and Franks & Sims. Please note that some drop-off locations are 24/7, while other locations are only accessible during certain (season) hours.

Learn more about the food scraps program with this video from the Oakdale Environmental Management Commission.


Free Product Room at the Environmental Center. 

Check out the Free Product Room at the Environmental Center to take home products such as paints, stains, automotive fluids, and household cleaners. Visit the Environmental Center Product Room page for more information including location and hours.

Repair common household items. 

Watch Washington County Fix-it Clinic volunteers demonstrate simple repairs and maintenance of everyday items in a series of YouTube videos.

Donate, sell, and buy secondhand. 

Find quality, unique home goods and apparel items by shopping local secondhand stores. Donate items you no longer need, or sell them to secondhand stores. Washington County provides a list of local charities, thrift shops, and consignment stores where residents can donate, purchase, or sell secondhand items. 

Rent and share.

Save space and money by renting and sharing items. 


Recycling is available to all households in Oakdale. 

Empty and rinse containers before placing them in your recycling cart. Place items directly in your recycling cart or in a paper bag – do not put recyclables in a plastic bag.

  • In general, recyclable items include glass bottles and jars; metal food and beverage cans; certain plastic bottles and containers (labeled #1, #2, and #5); cartons; and paper and cardboard. Visit the Washington County household recycling page for more information about what is and is not accepted in your curbside recycling bin. Contact your waste hauler directly for items not listed.
  • Residents can also bring recyclables, as well as electronics and hazardous materials (including batteries), household sharps, food scraps, plastic bags and wraps, and other items to the Environmental Center. 
  • Can’t recycle something at home or at the Environmental Center? Check out the Washington County disposal directory for more disposal options at Type the name of a waste item into the directory and you’ll be told how to recycle or dispose of it.

Graphic on recyclable items in Washington County

Graphic with information about Washington County Environmental Center

Medication drop-off

Washington County provides medication drop-off services. Visit the medication drop-off page for a list of drop-off locations, accepted items and items not accepted. There are also periodic medication collection events available through the County.

Event recycling 

Borrow a recycling container from Washington County for your next event! The Department of Public Health and Environment provides recycling containers on loan for collecting bottles and cans at small, single-day gatherings such as graduation parties, family reunions, block parties, and similar events. Learn more here and complete a reservation form online.

Winter 2023 Seasonal Tips and Events

Properly dispose of old holiday lights. 

Holiday lights can get tangled on machinery at recycling processing facilities, so they should never be placed in your curbside recycling cart. Instead, bring them to the Environmental Center for recycling. 

Recycle your natural (real) holiday tree. 

The City of Oakdale is offering recycling for non-plastic, natural holiday trees to residents until January 31, 2023. The cost is $3 per tree. Drop-off hours are Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 3 PM at Oakdale Public Works (located at 1900 Hadley Ave N). No decorations or bags are allowed. Individuals interested in this service should stop inside Public Works before disposing of trees.

Residents may also use the Washington County disposal directory to locate additional holiday tree recycling locations.

Reducing Your Waste Stream series. 

Join Oakdale Wellness 50+ for an informative series to learn what you can do for a healthier you and planet by reducing the amount of garbage you throw out! These events are FREE for Oakdale residents age 50 or older.

  • Tour the Recycling & Energy Center (R&E Center) on March 2, 2023 from 1 to 2:30 PM. Learn how garbage from Washington and Ramsey County is processed at the R&E Center in Newport. Sign up online.