Don’t Put These Items in the Recycling Bin

There are many items that we often throw into curbside recycling bins that do not belong. It is important to only put items you know are accepted into the recycling bin, otherwise, whole loads can be sent to the landfill due to contamination. Some recycling rules are in place to make sure the sorting machines can function properly and employees are kept safe.

Keep these items out of curbside recycling bins:

  1. Plastic Bags: Do not place your recycle materials in a plastic bag. Plastic bags cannot be recycled. The recycler will either waste time removing the plastic bag or send the bag and its contents to a landfill. Plastic bags also can clog and interfere with sorting machines. Many stores will collect plastic bags for recycling. To recycle plastic bags and films, use this drop-off locator.
  2. Food Wastes: Uncleaned containers with leftover food wastes cannot be recycled. Containers contaminated with food wastes will be sent to a landfill. You need to wash food containers and remove all of the food before placing the containers into your recycle bin.
  3. Bright Colored Paper: In general, bright colored paper should not be recycled.
  4. Frozen Food Containers: The coating on frozen food containers make them non-recyclable.
  5. Shredded Paper: Shredded paper should not be placed into your recycle bin. Ideas on how to use or recycle shredded paper can be found here.
  6. Caps and Tops to Bottles, Jars and Containers: Caps and tops are not recyclable; throw these in the trash, not the recycle bin.

We all want to maximize our recycling efforts, but we need to recycle the correct materials in the correct manner. Otherwise, we mess up the recycling facility and much of our “recycled waste” ends up in a landfill. You should check with your hauler if you have any questions about what materials can be recycled.

Recycling is Required

Municipal and state regulations require that residents, commercial establishments and non-residential establishments recycle all recyclable materials.  Commonly recycled materials include:

  • Paper – newspaper, office/copy paper, glossy paper, color paper, cardboard, junk mail, phone books, cereal/cracker boxes
  • Plastic – bottles and jugs No. 1-7
  • Glass – clear, green and brown containers
  • Metal – aluminum, steel, tin, and bimetal cans and containers

You should check with your hauler for a complete list of acceptable recyclable materials.