Recycling is an eco-friendly thing to do - but it's also a business.
For recycling to succeed, what you recycle and how you recycle matters. Here's how YOU can help make recycling work!
Top Tips for "Recycling Right!"
Don't put non-recyclable materials into your collection container. Don't waste your cart space (and our crew's fuel and time) by placing trash in a blue cart. Carts packed with non-recyclable stuff fill up the collection trucks faster. Then, it's difficult, inefficient and expensive for the sorting facility to try to remove and dispose of those items. Trash reduces the value of recyclables.
Here's the thing- many households may not realize that what they are putting in a blue bin is, in fact, trash. Do not look for "recycling symbols" on a package to be your guide, as those icons do not represent local programs, regional recycling capabilities or current recycling market realities.
Please periodically review our list of accepted items, and, when in doubt, throw it out! We all wish more things were recyclable, but wishfully placing materials in a blue cart doesn't make them recyclable...it makes them expensive trash.
Do not place recyclable materials inside plastic bags for collection. Recyclables have to be loose to be sorted. Bags are difficult to open, and if opened, the pieces of plastic bag can get tangled up in the sorting machinery. (And, trash bags aren't even recyclable!) Bagged materials look like trash and will be treated like trash and disposed at the sorting center.
Separate your materials. Remember, materials have to be sorted and separated to be sold for recycling. You can help start the process by removing packing materials from boxes, removing your newspaper or magazine out of its plastic delivery bag and please don't stuff different types of materials inside each other (such as filling cereal boxes with pet food cans). Keep it loose!
Empty food and liquids out of containers.All containers must be empty for recycling! If you want to help out even more, a quick rinse to dirty containers helps keep the paper and cardboard in your cart clean.
Use our app to recycle right! From our website or downloaded onto your mobile device, the Recycle Coach program (formerly called MyWaste) can tell you what is recyclable, remind you when to recycle and provide a quick way to communicate with our office if you have questions about or issues with the recycling service.
No "tanglers". Please do not recycle things that can get wrapped up in the mechanical equipment at the sorting center. This means no string, wires, hoses, electrical cords, light strands, clothes hangers and no loose, individual plastic bags.
Do not recycle soiled or soft, low-grade paper products. This includes tissues, paper towels, paper plates, greasy pizza boxes and waxed paper. Those items are at the end of their useful life for recycling, but might be composted at home!
Don't recycle disposable cups or other dining waste. No coffee or soda cups of any kind, no Solo cups, paper plates, plastic cutlery, takeout containers, napkins, food wrappers, etc. No matter what "recycling" labels you may see, none of that is recyclable!
Plastics: Think "Bottles, Tubs, Jars and Jugs" only! Plastics are complicated, we know. To make your recycling efforts easier - and more accurate - don't look for numbers or recycling symbols, just recycle bottles (like for water, salad dressing or shampoo), jars (items with screw-on lids, like for peanut butter, medicines or hand cream), jugs (containers with a molded handle, like for milk or detergent) and tubs (items typically with detachable lids, like for margarine or yogurt, and also includes small buckets). At this time, most other plastic items can NOT be sorted, sold or recycled.
Don't recycle “clamshell” plastics. This means no hinged containers (including salad bins, produce, bakery or deli boxes, takeout containers, etc.) regardless of what number or symbol is imprinted on them. We do not have access to sorting technology or a reliable market for these materials.
"Styrofoam" is not recyclable. Even if it has a "recycling symbol" on it. No foam packing materials, coffee cups or takeout containers.
Leave out plastic wrappers, scraps and trash. This includes food wrappers (like for candy, granola bars or single-serve snacks) and food bags (like salad mix bags, potato chip bags and cereal box liners) as well as small, assorted bits of plastic (like loose caps, balloons, pens, toys, etc.)
It's Not as Complicated as it Might Seem...
We want clean paper and packaging. That's It. The curbside recycling program is primarily designed to collect paper and packaging materials (like cans and those bottles, jars, jugs and tubs we mentioned above). So, other random objects, like scrap metal, electronics, dining ware, toys, food, textiles, yard waste, etc., should never be placed in a blue recycling cart or bin. There may be other recycling programs that can accept some of those things, such as our recycling drop-off site.
Label your bins with our handy posters and help everyone in your house or office "recycle right!"
Why Isn't Everything Recyclable?
The list of what should be placed in a blue bin is determined by the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) that sorts and sells your recyclables. If there isn't a process to sort an item or the MRF doesn't have a reliable market for the material, it doesn't do any good to place that item in your recycling cart. In fact, it can actually do great harm to the recycling process. To learn about MRFs and to understand the global impact of contamination (non-recyclables in your blue bin), use the "Resources to Learn More" on this page.
And remember, when in doubt, don't recycle, throw it out!
Avoid "Wishful Recycling."
Even avid recyclers can make mistakes, sometimes by placing things that might seem recyclable into a blue bin. Here are the most common items that cause cart contamination... None of these things are recyclable:
disposable cups (like Solo cups, fast food soda cups, coffee cups)
rotisserie chicken, takeout and other heat-resistant containers
plastic produce and salad bins
bakery and deli containers
food bags (such as potato chip bags, cereal box liners and mixed salad bags)
food wrappers (like for granola bars, candy, single-serve snacks, etc.)
toys, pens and other non-packaging plastic items
anything made of "Styrofoam"
shiny/metallic paper packaging, cards or gift wrap
soiled paper or greasy cardboard
soft paper products, like napkins, tissues and paper towels