Become an Expert Recycler

You can make a difference! Learn to avoid common mistakes, determine what’s recyclable and what’s not, and use best practices for keeping your recycling clean and simple.

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The Right Stuff

Know what to throw.

  • Get familiar with the four major categories of recyclables: paper, cardboard, plastic containers and beverage/food cans.
  • There is no need to bag your clean recyclables.
  • Don’t combine different kinds of recycling materials inside another container.
Jeremy explaining the right stuff
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Empty. Clean. Dry.®

Don’t contaminate the recycle stream.

  • Be sure your recyclables are empty, clean and dry before you put them in your recycle container.
  • Rinse to remove any residual material (you don’t need to wash it).
  • Clean recyclables don’t contaminate other types of materials, so the recycle stream stays out of the landfill.
Jeremy explaining empty clean dry
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Plastics

Which plastic items can go in your recycling container?

  • Recycle plastic bottles and jugs. Water bottles, beverage bottles, milk or juice jugs, detergent and cleaning bottles.
  • Flexible plastics (grocery bags, plastic packaging, bubble wrap) and styrofoam packaging require special handling and do not belong in the recycle container.
  • To dispose of plastic bags, you can return them to the store where you got them.
Jeremy explaining plastics
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Common Contaminants

What doesn’t belong in your recycling container?

  • Don’t bag your recyclables – place them in your recycling container loosely.
  • Grocery bags and other flexible plastics will get caught in the machinery.
  • Many common household items (shoes, toys, clothing) can be reused but NOT recycled.
Jeremy explaining common contaminants
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When In Doubt, Throw It Out

Wondering if something can be recycled?

  • If it has food waste, it belongs in the trash. For example, you can recycle the clean part of a pizza box, but throw away the greasy part.
  • Paper plates, paper towels and napkins belong in the trash, not the recycle container.
  • Just one dirty bottle can contaminate the contents of a whole recycling truck.
Jeremy explaining when in doubt
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Yard Waste

Yard waste does not belong in the recycle container.

  • Composting options for tree trimmings and other yard waste may be available in your community, but not via your recycle container.
  • If you’re interested in composting, contact your local community or look for options online.
  • Garden hoses cannot be recycled – when worn out, put them in your trash can.
Jeremy explaining yard waste

Want to Learn More?

We’ve put together some guidelines that are as simple as 1-2-3. We’ve also created additional informative resources you can download for easy reference.

Learn the Basics View Resources