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Initial discussion

  • My rationale is to add a new item if I find a recycling point that has a specific facility for it. For example, you'll often be able to recycle glass bottles but it's rare to find a place where you can recycle sheets of glass, so it's worth having that information properly defined. TomChance 18:10, 19 September 2006 (BST)
    • I think that depends on how big the recycling centre is. I'm pretty sure the Redbridge recycling centre in Oxford takes sheets of glass! It's a fair bet though that if it isn't on the recyclenow list, recycling centres won't take it. Gagravarr 20:37, 19 September 2006 (BST)
      • Well precisely, my point is that we need enough granularity to accurately describe each recycling centre. It wouldn't be much use if you thought "recycling:glass=yes" implied the centre takes glass sheets, if it actually just did bottles :) Knowing where to take recyclable stuff in your local area is a very handy feature we can offer over and above that which many local councils, businesses, universities etc. offer. We can then use the recyclenow list as a guide, and people can amend the list of recycle:keys when they find new/different facilities.

I agree that having a recycling centre marked on the maps is good, but disagree that this level of information is appropriate in OSM. -- Dom 11:59, 24 September 2006 (BST)

  • Can you explain why? I'm already finding it useful for some maps I've wanted to produce for a while now. TomChance 12:58, 24 September 2006 (BST)

So, what exactly does this node mean? Only recycling centres or also containers? In Germany there are many containers, perhaps more than post boxes. I don't think it is a good idea to draw each of those on the map. At least not with such a big symbol. Beebop 11:16 03 August 2007

I agree with Beebop, I propose a tag between a container and recycling stations, that would be seen on zoom levels 18-19.
We have those sheltered smaal recycling houses a a standard all over north Europe (image: Somebody could take this idea and give it a name and develop it forward, i dont know how the bureaucratics works here. Petsamo 14.3.2016
I've been mapping every recycling point, whether it's a couple of bins on a street or a major recycling centre. We could introduce a second tag - amenity=recycling_centre - to distinguish them. The way they're rendered on the maps at the moment is entirely appropriate IMO, but that tag could show up on lower zoom levels as well? TomChance 10:36, 3 August 2007 (BST)

I am using amenity=recycling as area for recycling parks = location where you can bring your waste (like old furniture, garden waste) --Rubke 11:36, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I would like to have area for reciclyng facilites rendered as well. --EdoM (lets talk about it) 09:41, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

In the places that I lived there always was a public place where inhabitants could take the waste they want to get rid of immediatelly or that can not be left on the street to be taken by the garbage car. This waste is not only 'recycling' waste. This should be analysed in relationship to Tag:amenity=waste disposal

There's a good list of what can be recycled at [], but I don't know quite how many of them we'll want to record


I'll vote against this, see why : [1] --Bartv 08:07, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

  • I approve this proposal. MikeCollinson 04:07, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. User:David.earl 12.40, 19 December 2006 (UTC). It is already rendered in osmarender!
  • I approve this proposal. Gagravarr 13:19, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. --KristianThy 13:33, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. --Batchoy 14:03, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. --SlowRider 16:04, 06 January 2007
  • I approve this proposal. --Jammeh 14:57, 14 January 2007
  • I approve this proposal.--Alban 08:45, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
  • I approve this proposal. TomChance 20:31, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Post-vote discussion

  • From the above discussion, in the U.K. 'recycling banks' can be found on the odd treet corner where a large bin has been placed, about the height of a man. These would be good to map, just like postboxes, it can be hard to know where your nearest one is and important if you don't have a car. In Germany I remember seeing the public bins were split in 4 and I had to drop my crisp wrapper in the right hole. Very good to be that environmental but not worth mapping. Something needs to distingush the small drop of points to the much larger ones (often with tips/refuse-transfer places) that you'd probably go to in the car because you've stored up several weeks of recycling. I would propose some sort of size tag? - LastGrape 14:32, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Often the recycling bins are for different coloured glass bottles. I don't know if they generally have the same selection of colours, is it worth tagging which ones? - LastGrape 14:32, 31 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Could we have areas rendered as well? Here in Italy we have many dropping point for furniture, ectronics and so on.. --EdoM (lets talk about it) 09:43, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
    • I agree, do we need a vote to extend this to areas? I've been using this fairly extensively already. --Thomas Wood 17:40, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
      • I've done these as highway=service;area=yes with a node amenity=recycling in the middle. Osma renders the area, mapnik doesn't. A dedicated area makes sense, though. I was looking for one, before I decided to use what I wrote earlier. --Ldp 21:13, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
  • Maybe "recycling:full_service=yes", like we do with laundry? --Slashme 15:38, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Paper Based Beverage Cartons

Found a recycling bin for "Paper Based Beverage Cartons" in Ingleton. I'll mark it down using recycling:beverage_cartons unless anyone can come up with anything better --Pobice 22:08, 31 May 2009 (UTC)

What about recycling:cartons=yes/no or maybe recycling:paper_packaging=yes/no --Gorn (talk) 00:24, 1 January 2019 (UTC)

Garden refuse?

I'd like to have "recycling:garden_refuse" as a tag: many of the local dump sites only accept light garden refuse, not big chunks of wood. --Slashme 15:36, 17 January 2010 (UTC) I see there is "green_waste", so I'll use that. --Slashme 15:51, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Usage times

Is there a good way of indicating the periods of time during which the containers can be used? Here in Germany, some glass containers can only be used during week days between 7am and 7pm. opening_hours=* doesn't seem appropriate, as technically the container is accessible at any time (even though you shouldn't use it outside those hours). Tryphon 14:47, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

opening_hours=* seems fine to me, in the same way as we map maxspeed=* both in places where it is heavily enforced and where it is ignored Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:21, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I see that opening_hours=* is already documented at the page Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:28, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

As hours are not the same for all containers, put opening_hours when relevant seems better. e.g. opening_hours:glass=07:00-19:00 .



What if one bin takes multiple items? Tags can't be arrays, right? Brycenesbitt

Personally I think this type of information is too fragile to map... it is subject to change, and unlikely to be tightly maintained over a long period of time. Brycenesbitt

In some countries, glas and metal is collected in the same bin, while in others it's collected in separate bins. This is often a national directive, which doesn't change from year to year. (Actually, over here it hasn't changed in the last decade.) However, I do think it's too much detail to state exactly which bin excepts what. Simply indicating that a recycling point for example collects paper, plastic, glas and metal is enough in my opinion. --Pbb (talk) 10:57, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
What is wrong with tagging such as recycling:batteries=yes + recycling:electrical_items=yes on one object? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 08:34, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

recycling centres

it bugs the hell out of me, that there isn't any differentiation between recycling containers and bigger recycling centres, which results in the recycling icon being rendered to prominently in mapnik. that's why i wrote a proposal for for recycling centres, which is ready for comments now. --Flaimo 21:35, 16 April 2011 (BST)

This tagging issue seems solved now Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:27, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

recycling:compost ?

I think the tag recycling:compost does'nt exist. It's different than recycling:green_waste, is'nt it ? --Christouf 22:44, 28 June 2011 (BST)

  • Probably is different as 'compost' implies that the waste has been digested and is not necessarily limited to garden/lawn waste, including for instance peelings from food preparation. --Ceyockey 18:29, 14 August 2011 (BST)
  • ok thanks. So can i propose this tag (recycling:compost) ? --Christouf 09:22, 17 August 2011 (BST)
    • It is my impression that the tag-proposal/approval process is pretty much broken and that the default path is to start using a tag as needed and seek reconciliation among similar tags at some future time. I'm happy to be wrong about this, though. --Ceyockey 05:07, 18 August 2011 (BST)

recycling:glass_bottles ?

Does is make sense to add a tag recycling:glass_bottles:colors=white;green;brown ? --Bibodo 02:53, 13 August 2011 (BST)

Yes, it does make sense. There are some recycling streams which require separation and others which do not. --Ceyockey 18:30, 14 August 2011 (BST)
This tag is not in the wiki and does not look very official. Can we maybe make it official/propose it or is there a better way to tag the colors of bottles for recycling containers? --rugk (talk) 18:53, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

Bottle deposits

In many US states, beverages are required to have an extra charge tacked on ("CRV" in California, "bottle deposit" in other states) as incentive to return the beverage container for recycling. In California (and maybe some other states), not all retailers that sell beverages will accept empties for deposit return, so it is useful to know where to find recycling centers that will do so. Maybe something like recycling:deposit_return=* could be used? (The other tags like recycling:cans=*, recycling:plastic_bottles=*, etc. would still be relevant.) —Larry Gilbert 23:47, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

What about using recycling:system=* to name the kind of deposit system/network? I guess that deposit systems vary a lot worldwide, so this could help cope with it. I've seen such a suggestion in a discussion about Pfand systems on the German OSM forum --Tbarthelet (talk) 20:02, 4 January 2018 (UTC)

recycling_type for indoor cd and battery recycling pois

At Germany there are very often indoor paperboard containers for the collection of cds and batteries. How should this be tagged? May be as one oft the two following approaches?

1) recycling_type=container, indoor=yes, access=*

2) recycling_type=paperboard_container, access=* (indoor is implied by the recycling_type) --U715371 (talk) 11:47, 6 September 2014 (UTC)

Multiple containers

I am not sure about whether I should use one or several nodes if there are several containers at the same place. If a cluster gathers several separated containers for glass, paper ... wouldn't it be more logicial to describe them as separates nodes ? I have a plan for a map to locate all kind of recycling points, and this could be useful for a better filtering.


Styrofoam is a brand name for a type of extruded polystyrene foam. It is also used colloquially to refer to expanded polystyrene foam. As these two materials are very similar I suspect the recycling amenity will accept them both. Using recycling:polystyrene_foam would be better. Peter Mead (talk) 13:23, 22 April 2015 (UTC)

difference between hardcore and rubble?

Can anyone suggest why both of these exist and reference each other? When would one be used and not the other? Would it be better if just one of those was used to mean that kind of material? Pmackay (talk) 15:29, 12 June 2015 (UTC)

I think that it's a bit strange to tag a "donate clothes box" as recycling... is not like rubbish! So how you suggest to tag it? Thanks! --Valeriobozz (talk) 11:24, 11 January 2016 (UTC)

They would be tagged recycling:clothes=yes. While some of the collected clothes can be re-used the rest will be broken down to create things such as padding and insulation. --Peter Mead (talk) 12:23, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, recycling:clothes=yes. Wikipedia says on Recycling is a process to convert waste materials into reusable material to prevent waste of potentially useful materials..." and on waste "Waste and wastes are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or it is worthless, defective and of no use." so I think that fits your "donate clothes box" -- Emvee (talk) 17:25, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Those definitions from Wikipedia exclude re-use in my interpretation: "Recycling is a process to convert waste materials into reusable material" means that the product is not re-used as it is, and "Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or it is worthless, defective and of no use" means the product can not fulfil it's primary use anymore. However, I do agree that this tag could be used for donation boxes/containers, but then the description needs to be adjusted. --Pbb (talk) 10:47, 3 July 2017 (UTC)
I've updated the documentation now to specifically state that this tag can also be used for donation containers --Pbb (talk) 15:35, 4 July 2017 (UTC)

recycling_type=container with recycling:paper=yes and :books/:magazines/...

In Germany containers with recycling:paper=yes include stuff like recycling:books=yes, recycling:magazines=yes and some some others. Are there containers only for books or magazines that these tags are really needed? I saw a lot of containers with a whole bunch of unnecessary tags like these here in Germany. But I'm not sure if there are really containers only for books or magazines? Ogmios (talk) 15:52, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

It could be if recycling is expanded into collection of donated goods for re-use. There are containers that collect used clothes and used books that are later given away or sold in second-hand stores. --Pbb (talk) 10:50, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

opening_hours or service_times

In Germany many containers have a defined time period for usage to prevent noise disturbance. Mostly this is represented with opening_hours=* but not documented in the wiki. In my personal opinion service_times=* would be better because opening_hours=* suggests that they are closed or opened while service_times=* suggests the supposed time for usage. Nonetheless I think one of them should be documented in the wiki. Which one is better in your opinion? Ogmios (talk) 15:52, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

Useful combination: Add colour ?

It seems the containers are colored in many countries:

Note that it is useful to tag group of containers as one object, each is likely to have a different color. Also, tagging container colour seems to be of extremely low value, at least to me Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 08:31, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Implied exclusion

The document states "If there is at least one of the following materials tagged, the default value for the rest is "no"." I don't think this should be done like this, because there are some "main" and some "detail" tags here. For example recycling:paper=yes in many locations implies recycling:cartons=yes. You can't just conclude on "no" for an omitted detail tag if the main tag is specified "yes". --Pbb (talk) 11:04, 3 July 2017 (UTC)

I attempted to fix it, in general feel free to make such obvious fixes - especially in case of noone protesting at talk page for months or years Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:26, 18 September 2019 (UTC)


There are more and more containers for recycling cigarette butts ( Because there is waste=cigarettes I propose to use the key recycling:cigarettes=yes

recycling:cartons=* vs recycling:paper_packaging=*

What is the difference? In Czechia the paper based beverage cartoons are often collected. What tag should be used for these?

I propose we deprecate recycling:waste=yes/no

  • introduce recycling:mixed=yes/no for a manually post-selected container
  • add bin=yes/no to indicate whether a waste_basket is attached

See my rationale in the linked mailing list discussion and feel free to join the conversation. Bkil (talk) 06:26, 3 April 2019 (UTC)

Reordering items

I propose to reorder items and put them into groups. For example white_goods, small_electrical_appliances, mobile_phones, electrical_items etc are now scattered in the list and it would be preferable to have them together.

It may be also beneficial to list values with significant use (for example 1000+ appearances that are not repeating broader category)? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 20:57, 19 September 2019 (UTC)