The efficacy of waste recycling is closely associated with the environmental sustainability of a city. However, just like many other environmental protection initiatives, waste recycling requires stakeholder engagement to succeed. Exploring determinants of waste recycling behaviour helps policy-makers to formulate schemes to promote recycling effectively. While most literature has studied the factors affecting waste recycling in low-rise low-density housing, little ink has been spilt on the same in a high-rise high-density residential setting. In this paper, the determinants of the amount of recyclables collected in 122 private high-rise housing estates in Hong Kong are investigated, with the use of a set of aggregate data. Household income, age and institution of regular reward schemes were found to have positive relationships with the amount of recyclables collected. Despite the optimism among some scholars about more conveniently located waste drop-off facilities as a motivator for waste recycling, the analysis results of this empirical study suggest that a floor-based system of waste separation facilities is by itself not likely to be effective in promoting domestic waste recycling in high-rises. To tackle the contemporary waste problem for the city's sustainable development, resort should be made to more intensified environmental education and economic incentives. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.