This page offers a basic guide for what types of common materials should go in a home or office recycling bin. However, recycling programs can differ dramatically on acceptable materials or how materials should be separated. Be sure to check with your waste hauler or municipality for a list of acceptable items.
General Recycling Rules
All items should always be empty with all food or liquid residue removed and washed away as much as possible.
Just because an object is made from plastic, metal, or glass DOES NOT mean it belongs in the bin. Recycling systems are designed to handle certain items. There are many factors that determine which items are acceptable in a recycling program. Some objects could be hazardous to sanitation workers or damage equipment used in processing recyclables!
Most confusion and contamination in recycling systems is related to 3-dimensional objects. Use this flow chart to help you decide if a 3-D object should go in a recycling bin. (The diagram does not include paper and cardboard products)
Some of these items are easy to recycle, but they can't get recycled if placed in your home or office recycling bin. All items marked with the * have unique recycling programs in place to keep these materials out of the landfill. See our webpage called What Else Can Be Recycled to learn more.
Last updated April 13, 2017