What Goes In The Recycle Trash Can



Plastics have become an integral part of modern society due to their versatility and convenience. From food packaging to household products, plastics are ubiquitous in our daily lives. However, the improper disposal of plastic waste has become a significant environmental concern. Recycling plastics can help reduce the negative impact on our planet and conserve valuable resources.

When it comes to recycling plastics, it’s important to know which types are accepted and what to do with them. Most recycling programs accept plastic containers with the recycling symbol, usually identified by the numbers 1-7 inside the symbol. These numbers indicate the type of plastic resin used in the product and can help determine whether it’s recyclable or not.

Common examples of recyclable plastics include beverage bottles, food containers, and plastic packaging. These items should be thoroughly rinsed and, if possible, flattened to save space. It’s important to remove any non-recyclable components or caps before recycling. Additionally, plastic bags and films, such as grocery bags and bubble wrap, can be recycled at specific drop-off locations found in many grocery stores.

However, not all plastics are recyclable. Some types, such as plastic utensils, straws, and plastic wrap, are generally not accepted in regular recycling programs. These items are commonly made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are difficult to recycle due to their composition. It is best to dispose of these non-recyclable plastics in the trash.

It’s worth mentioning that the recycling process for plastics involves sorting, cleaning, and melting down the materials to create new products. Therefore, it’s crucial to recycle only clean and uncontaminated plastics. Contaminants like food residue and other non-plastic materials can compromise the quality of the recycled products and hinder the recycling process.

By recycling plastics, we can mitigate the environmental impact of plastic waste and contribute to a more sustainable future. Recycling conserves energy and natural resources, reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and helps alleviate the strain on landfills. It’s a small step that each of us can take to make a big difference in protecting our planet.


Paper is one of the most commonly used materials in our daily lives, with countless applications ranging from writing and printing to packaging. The recycling of paper not only helps conserve valuable resources but also reduces the strain on forests and minimizes the energy and water consumption associated with paper production.

When it comes to recycling paper, there are a few key points to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to understand which types of paper are recyclable. In general, most paper products can be recycled, including newspapers, magazines, office paper, cardboard, and cardboard packaging.

Prior to recycling paper, it’s crucial to remove any non-paper components, such as plastic inserts, staples, or paper clips. These items can interfere with the recycling process and should be disposed of separately. Additionally, paper that is soiled with food residues, grease, or other contaminants should be placed in the regular trash, as they can contaminate the recycling process.

When recycling paper, it’s beneficial to separate different types of paper into specific categories. For instance, separating cardboard from mixed paper allows for more effective recycling. Flattening and folding the paper can help save space and make it easier to transport to recycling facilities.

In addition to curbside recycling programs, many communities offer drop-off locations specifically for paper recycling. These locations are typically found at recycling centers or municipal facilities. It’s important to inquire about local recycling guidelines and regulations to ensure proper disposal.

Recycling paper is a vital step in reducing our environmental impact and promoting sustainability. The recycling process involves breaking down the paper fibers, removing ink and contaminants, and reforming them into new paper products. By recycling paper, we not only conserve trees but also save energy, reduce waste going to landfills, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

As responsible citizens, we can all contribute to the conservation of our planet by recycling paper whenever possible. By doing so, we help create a healthier and more sustainable future for generations to come.


Cardboard is a versatile and commonly used material for packaging and shipping. Recycling cardboard not only helps reduce the demand for new cardboard production but also decreases landfill waste and conserves valuable resources. Properly recycling cardboard is essential to ensure its maximum benefit for the environment.

When it comes to cardboard recycling, it’s important to properly prepare the material for recycling. This typically involves breaking down cardboard boxes and removing any non-cardboard components, such as plastic inserts or Styrofoam packing materials. Flattening the cardboard boxes helps save space and makes transportation to recycling facilities more efficient.

It’s also crucial to keep in mind that not all types of cardboard are recyclable. Wet or soiled cardboard, such as pizza boxes with grease stains, cannot be recycled as the food residue can contaminate the recycling process. It’s important to separate and dispose of these items in the regular trash.

Cardboard can be recycled either through curbside recycling programs or at local drop-off locations. Many communities provide designated bins for cardboard at recycling centers or even at grocery stores. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines and regulations for your area to ensure proper recycling.

Recycled cardboard undergoes a process known as pulping, where the cardboard is broken down into fibers. These fibers are then cleaned, reformed, and pressed to create new cardboard products. By recycling cardboard, we can conserve trees, reduce water and energy consumption, and minimize carbon emissions associated with producing virgin cardboard.

Furthermore, recycling cardboard plays a vital role in reducing landfill waste. Cardboard is a bulky material that takes up significant space in landfills. By diverting cardboard from landfills, we can help extend their lifespan and reduce the harmful environmental impact of waste disposal.


Glass is a valuable and widely used material that can be easily recycled. Recycling glass not only conserves resources but also reduces energy consumption and helps minimize the environmental impact of glass production. Understanding how to properly recycle glass is crucial to ensure its maximum benefit and sustainability.

When it comes to glass recycling, it’s important to separate different colors. Common glass colors include clear, green, and brown. Colors should be sorted to prevent contamination during the recycling process. Broken glass should be handled with care and placed in designated containers to avoid injury and contamination.

Glass recycling programs often accept common glass items such as bottles, jars, and beverage containers. It’s important to rinse out these items and remove any caps or lids prior to recycling. Non-recyclable glass items, such as light bulbs, mirrors, and window glass, should be disposed of separately as they often have different compositions that are not suitable for the recycling process.

Recycling glass requires less energy compared to producing new glass from raw materials. The glass recycling process involves crushing the glass into small pieces, melting it in a furnace, and then shaping and cooling the molten glass to form new products. This closed-loop system allows for the continuous recycling of glass, reducing the need for virgin materials and contributing to a more sustainable future.

It’s worth noting that certain glass items, such as heat-resistant glassware and ceramic and porcelain items, cannot be recycled with regular glass due to their different melting points and compositions. These items should be donated or disposed of in the appropriate manner.

Recycling glass plays a crucial role in waste reduction and environmental preservation. By recycling, we can save valuable resources, reduce landfill waste, and decrease the carbon emissions associated with glass production. It’s important to support and participate in glass recycling programs to ensure a cleaner and greener future for generations to come.


Metal is a durable and widely used material that has immense recycling potential. Recycling metal not only conserves valuable resources but also reduces energy consumption and minimizes environmental pollution. Understanding the importance of metal recycling and how to properly dispose of metal items is essential for a sustainable future.

When it comes to metal recycling, there are various types of metals that can be recycled, including aluminum, steel, copper, and brass. These metals are commonly found in everyday items such as beverage cans, food containers, appliances, and construction materials.

Many recycling programs accept metal items, and it is crucial to separate different types of metal to ensure proper recycling. Aluminum cans, steel food containers, and other metal items should be cleaned and prepared for recycling by removing any non-metal components like labels or plastic caps.

One popular metal item that is highly recyclable is aluminum. Aluminum recycling is particularly significant as it saves a substantial amount of energy compared to producing new aluminum from raw materials. Recycling aluminum cans, for example, uses significantly less energy and releases fewer greenhouse gas emissions than manufacturing new cans.

When disposing of larger metal items, such as appliances or furniture, it’s important to check if your local recycling program provides pickup or drop-off services for these items. Many communities have specific regulations and guidelines for recycling large metal items to ensure they are properly handled and recycled.

Recycling metal involves melting down the metal items, purifying the material, and then shaping it into new products. This process significantly reduces the need for virgin metals and minimizes the environmental impact associated with metal extraction and production.

It’s worth noting that certain metals, like lead-acid batteries and mercury-containing items, require special handling due to their hazardous nature. These items should be safely disposed of at designated recycling centers or collection events to prevent environmental contamination.

By participating in metal recycling programs, we can contribute to the conservation of resources, reduce waste going to landfills, and minimize the ecological footprint of metal production. Recycling metal is not only an environmentally responsible choice but also a step towards a more sustainable future for generations to come.


Electronics, such as computers, smartphones, and televisions, have become an integral part of our lives. However, the rapid advancement of technology means that electronic devices quickly become outdated, leading to the generation of electronic waste, or e-waste. Recycling electronics is crucial to prevent environmental pollution and recover valuable resources.

When it comes to recycling electronics, it’s important to understand the specific guidelines and regulations in your area. Many communities have dedicated electronic recycling programs or drop-off locations where you can safely dispose of your old and unwanted devices.

Recycling electronics involves dismantling them and separating their components for proper recycling. Valuable materials such as gold, silver, copper, and plastics can be recovered and reused. Additionally, hazardous components such as batteries and mercury-containing parts are safely disposed of to prevent environmental contamination.

It’s important to note that simply throwing electronics in the regular trash or landfill is not suitable. Electronics can contain toxic substances, such as lead, mercury, and arsenic, which can leach into the soil and water, posing serious health risks. Recycling electronics ensures that these harmful materials are properly handled and disposed of.

Old cell phones, tablets, and computers often contain valuable metals, including gold, silver, and palladium. Recycling these devices allows for the recovery of these precious resources, reducing the need for environmentally damaging mining practices.

Many electronics manufacturers and retailers also have take-back programs in place, allowing customers to return their old devices for proper recycling. These programs ensure that the electronic waste is responsibly managed and that valuable materials are recovered.

In addition to recycling, another option for electronics is refurbishment or donation. If your device is still functional, consider donating it to a charitable organization or giving it to someone in need. This extends the life of the electronic and prevents it from becoming unnecessary waste.

By recycling electronics, we can reduce the environmental impact of e-waste, recover valuable materials, and promote sustainability. It’s crucial to be responsible with our electronic devices and ensure they are properly disposed of when no longer in use. Together, we can minimize electronic waste and create a cleaner and greener future.


Batteries are a common power source for a wide range of electronic devices, from smartphones to remote controls. However, when batteries reach the end of their life, they can become a hazardous waste if not disposed of properly. Recycling batteries is crucial to prevent environmental contamination and recover valuable materials.

When it comes to battery recycling, it’s important to understand the different types of batteries and the proper disposal methods for each. The most common types of batteries include alkaline batteries (such as AAA, AA, C, and D), rechargeable batteries (including NiMH and Li-ion), and button cell batteries (found in watches and hearing aids).

Many communities have specific drop-off locations or recycling programs where you can safely dispose of batteries. It’s important to check with your local recycling center or municipality for guidelines on how to recycle batteries in your area. Some retailers, such as electronic stores and battery manufacturers, also offer take-back programs for certain types of batteries.

Battery recycling involves breaking down the battery components and separating the different materials for recycling. Many batteries contain valuable metals like zinc, manganese, and lithium, which can be recovered and reused in the manufacturing of new batteries.

It’s crucial to note that not all batteries can be recycled in regular programs. Rechargeable batteries and button cell batteries are more commonly accepted for recycling, while alkaline batteries may need to be disposed of in special battery recycling centers or hazardous waste facilities.

Proper disposal of batteries is necessary because they can contain toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. These metals can leach into the environment when batteries are improperly disposed of, leading to soil and water pollution, and posing risks to human health and wildlife.

Some regions have regulations in place that require the recycling of certain types of batteries. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these regulations and act in accordance with them to ensure safe and responsible battery disposal.

By recycling batteries, we can minimize the environmental impact of hazardous materials, conserve valuable resources, and reduce the need for raw material extraction. Remember to always dispose of batteries properly and contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future.

Light Bulbs

Light bulbs are an essential part of our daily lives, providing illumination in homes, offices, and public spaces. When a light bulb reaches the end of its life, it’s important to handle its disposal properly to prevent harm to the environment and human health. Recycling light bulbs is the responsible way to dispose of them and recover valuable materials.

There are different types of light bulbs, and each requires a specific method of disposal. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs are the most commonly used energy-efficient bulbs. Both CFLs and LEDs contain small amounts of mercury and should not be thrown in the regular trash.

Many communities have established programs and drop-off locations for the recycling of CFLs and LEDs. Municipal recycling centers, home improvement stores, or even local businesses may offer facilities for proper disposal. It is important to check with your local recycling center or waste management authority to find the designated collection points near you.

When recycling CFLs or LEDs, it’s important to exercise caution as they contain mercury, a hazardous substance. When these bulbs break, mercury vapor can escape. In the case of a broken CFL or LED, use gloves and carefully clean up the area by following the recommended guidelines provided by environmental agencies. Avoid vacuuming or sweeping broken bulbs to minimize the release of mercury vapor.

Incandescent bulbs, on the other hand, do not contain hazardous materials and can be disposed of in regular household trash. However, it’s always a good practice to consider energy-efficient alternatives like CFLs or LEDs to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste generation.

Recycling light bulbs ensures the recovery of valuable materials like glass, metals, and even phosphor, which can be reused in various manufacturing processes. By properly disposing of light bulbs, we reduce the demand for raw materials and decrease the environmental impact associated with their production.

In addition to recycling, extending the lifespan of light bulbs through energy-efficient practices can also contribute to sustainability. Taking simple steps like turning off lights when not in use and utilizing natural light sources can significantly reduce energy consumption and prolong the life of bulbs.

By recycling light bulbs and adopting energy-efficient practices, we can contribute to the conservation of resources, reduction of waste, and reduction of harmful substances released into the environment. Let’s choose responsible disposal options and make a positive impact on our planet.


Styrofoam, also known as expanded polystyrene foam, is a lightweight and inexpensive material commonly used in packaging and food containers. However, Styrofoam is not easily recyclable and poses significant environmental challenges. Understanding how to properly dispose of Styrofoam is important for minimizing its impact on the environment.

Styrofoam recycling options are limited, and it is typically not accepted in regular curbside recycling programs. This is due to its composition and the challenges associated with its recycling process. Styrofoam is made up of small beads of expanded polystyrene, which are difficult to separate and recycle effectively.

However, there are some specialized recycling facilities that accept Styrofoam. These facilities use a process called densification, where the Styrofoam is compressed to reduce its volume and then transformed into new products. It’s important to contact local recycling centers or waste management agencies to inquire about Styrofoam recycling options in your area.

If there are no Styrofoam recycling options available, it should be disposed of in regular trash. When disposing of Styrofoam, it’s advisable to reduce its size as much as possible to save space in landfills. Breaking it into smaller pieces or compacting it can help reduce the amount of waste generated.

For businesses or individuals who regularly use Styrofoam, it’s important to explore alternatives. Many eco-friendly packaging options are available, such as biodegradable packing peanuts or recyclable paper-based packaging materials.

Avoiding the use of Styrofoam altogether is the best way to reduce its environmental impact. When making purchasing decisions, opt for products that come with minimal packaging or choose materials that are more easily recyclable or biodegradable.

It’s important to note that Styrofoam takes a significant amount of time to break down in the environment, and improper disposal can lead to pollution in waterways and harm to wildlife. Being mindful of the impact of Styrofoam and seeking alternative options whenever possible is crucial for a cleaner and healthier planet.

By understanding the limitations of Styrofoam recycling and making conscious decisions to reduce its use, we can work towards a more sustainable future. Let’s prioritize environmentally friendly options and minimize the negative impact of Styrofoam on our environment.

Miscellaneous Items

When it comes to recycling, it’s important to consider various miscellaneous items that may not fall into specific categories but still have the potential for proper disposal and recycling. These miscellaneous items can include items such as plastic bags, clothing, batteries, ink cartridges, and more. While these items may not fit into traditional recycling programs, there are still options available to reduce their environmental impact.

Plastic bags and films are often not accepted in regular recycling programs due to their composition and the challenges they pose in the recycling process. However, many grocery stores and retail centers have designated drop-off points where you can recycle plastic bags. These drop-off locations typically accept plastic bags, plastic film wrap, and bubble wrap. By recycling these items separately, we can reduce their impact on the environment.

Clothing and textiles can also be recycled, even if they are no longer suitable for donation. Many communities have textile recycling programs in place where you can drop off old clothing, linens, towels, and other textiles for recycling. These items can be repurposed into new products such as insulation, carpet padding, or even recycled textiles for clothing manufacturing.

Batteries, including single-use alkaline batteries, rechargeable batteries, and button cell batteries, are hazardous and should not be disposed of in regular trash. Many retailers and waste management facilities have battery recycling programs or collection points where you can safely dispose of these items. Properly recycling batteries ensures that valuable materials can be recovered while preventing environmental contamination.

Ink cartridges from printers or toner cartridges from copiers are also recyclable. Many office supply stores offer ink cartridge recycling programs, where you can return used cartridges for recycling or receive store credit. Some printer manufacturers also have cartridge recycling programs in place. By recycling ink cartridges, we can reduce waste and conserve resources used in their production.

Other miscellaneous items such as small electronics, small appliances, or even old eyeglasses can often be recycled through specific programs or collection events. These items should not be thrown in the regular trash or recycling bin. Instead, reach out to local recycling centers, electronic waste recycling facilities, or look for specialized collection events in your area.

Proper disposal and recycling of miscellaneous items are essential to minimize waste and reduce the strain on our environment. While these items may not fit into traditional recycling programs, many communities offer alternative options for their proper disposal. By taking the extra step to recycle these items, we can contribute to a more sustainable future and protect our planet for generations to come.