Recycling 101: What can go in the bin?

Let’s face it, recycling can be complicated. There’s a lot of confusion as to what items can be recycled and what can’t. Plus, there have been so many updates to recycling programs over the past couple of decades that many people are simply unaware of the current recycling standards.

As a good rule of thumb, these items can usually be tossed in the recycling bin. If you have any specific questions, contact your local recycling provider.

  • Metals – aluminum cans, aluminum foil and bakeware, steel cans, tin cans
  • Paper/cardboard – corrugated cardboard, magazines, office paper, newspapers, paperboard, poly-coated paperboard containers (dairy and juice cartons), unsolicited direct mail, phone books
  • Glass – clear glass, brown glass, green glass (Note, colored glasses should be sorted separately)
  • Plastics – bottles, jars, jugs (Make sure plastic is clean and dry. Plastics containing food waste cannot be recycled and will contaminate the entire bale of collected plastics)

Do Not Recycle

  • Glass contaminated with stones, dirt and food waste
  • Plastic contaminated with food waste
  • Ceramics, such as dishware, ovenware and decorative items
  • Pyrex or heat-resistant glass
  • Mirror or window glass
  • Metal/plastic caps and lids
  • Crystal
  • Light bulbs
  • Cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) from televisions and computer monitors

Some items require special recycling, including car batteries, household and button batteries, light bulbs and electronics. Don’t throw these items into your bin. Instead, contact your local municipality to find a designated recycling center.