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

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


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

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

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

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