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A List of What Can Be Recycled In My City

Posted by terrepruitt on April 19, 2017

Recently I noticed that the plastic pour spout on the milk cartons containing the milk I buy had gotten larger and I wrote a post about it.  I was somewhat annoyed because it seems to me that the amount of plastic used to create the spout was wasteful and then for it to have gotten larger, just didn’t make sense to me.  A friend who reads my blog commented that in her area that is the part of the carton that is not allowed in the recycle bin.  I told her that our entire carton is not allowed in the recycle bin.  I explained that my husband and I used to put milk cartons (after having rinsed them out) in the recycle bin, but a friend had told me they were not recyclable.  I didn’t believe her so I looked it up.  It turned out that she was right.  So we stopped putting milk cartons in the recycle bin.  But with my friend saying that she could recycle them, I decided to look it up, yet again.  And, alas, they are now recyclable.

There are many reasons that could be and I don’t KNOW why it is.  I can guess and say that the recycling facility is now able to process them or it could be that they are made differently.  Either way, I KNOW that at one point they were not because I looked it up after having been told so.  But now they are . . . so . . . we will adjust our recycling once again.  I didn’t see anything on our list of “allowables” about the stupid plastic pour spout not being allowed, so the whole thing is going in!

I copied this information from the City of San Jose’s website and put it on one list so you won’t have to click several times to read it.  (You’re welcome.)

Cans, Cartons & Glass

Examples of cans and cartons
When recycling cans and cartons, empty and scrape all containers and flatten cartons and boxes.

The following CAN go into the recycle bin:
Beverage cartons and boxes (e.g. juice, milk, cream)
Tin, aluminum, and steel cans and lids
Food and beverage cans (e.g., soda, tuna, soup, pet food)
Empty aerosol cans

The following must go in the garbage can:
Foil pouches

Examples of glass
When recycling glass, empty and scrape all containers.

The following CAN go into the recycle bin:
Glass bottles and jars (all colors)

The following must go in the garbage can:
Drinking glasses
Incandescent bulbs

Other Recyclables

Examples of polystyrene

All polystyrene foam materials go into the garbage.

The following must go in the garbage can:
Egg cartons
Packing “peanuts” (tie securely in plastic bag)
Take-out containers

Scrap Metals
Metals should be clean and dry.

The following CAN go into the recycle bin:
Clean aluminum foil and trays
Small metal appliances (e.g. toaster, waffle iron, blender)
Metal lids and caps from glass bottles
Metal pots and pans
Empty paint cans (let paint dry out, then remove and place in garbage cart)

Examples of scrap metals

The following must go in the garbage can:
Hangers (wood, metal, plastic)

Tie clean textiles inside a clear plastic bag when setting out for recycling.

The following CAN go into the recycle bin:|
Clean cotton, linen, polyester, rayon, and wool fabrics
Blankets and sheets

The following must go in the garbage can:
Boots and shoes
Carpet and rugs (cut into small pieces)
Disposable diapers
Down-filled items
Stuffed animals
Electric blankets

More Information on Special Stuff
See also Special Stuff for items which are not collected in the curbside recycling program or have other unique handling requirements.

Paper & Cardboard

Examples of paper and cardboard
Recyclable Paper & Cardboard
When recycling paper or cardboard, flatten boxes and secure loose material (e.g. shredded paper) in clear plastic bags. Cut large boxes small enough to fit loosely inside the recycling cart. If you have more cardboard than your cart will hold, flatten and cut it into pieces no larger than 4 feet by 4 feet and lean them against the cart.

The following CAN go into the recycle bin:
Cereal and cracker boxes (remove liners)
Egg cartons
Envelopes (plastic windows OK)
Gift wrap (no metallic / foil)
Newspaper inserts and advertisements (glossy OK)
Office paper (e.g. construction paper, printer paper)
Paper bags
Shoe boxes
Shopping bags (remove handles)
Telephone books

The following must go in the garbage can:
Carbon paper
Padded or Tyvek® envelopes
Paper soiled with anything such as motor oil, paint, or food/grease
Paper take-out containers
Photographs and photo paper
Pizza boxes
Thermal fax paper


Examples of plastic Recyclable Plastic
When recycling plastic, empty and scrape all containers.

The following CAN go into the recycle bin:
All plastic items labeled 1 through 7 inside the chasing arrows.*
Compact disc cases
Detergent bottles
Flower pots
Hard plastic toys
Juice and milk jugs
Large reusable water bottles
Medicine bottles
Shampoo bottles
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe
Soda, water, mouthwash, and mustard containers
Spray bottles
Squeezable bottles (e.g. honey)
Yogurt and margarine tubs

*Return clean plastic bags to grocery store for recycling. Soiled plastic bags and polystyrene foam goes in the garbage cart.

The following must go in the garbage can:
Bubble wrap
Compact discs
Credit cards
Disposable diapers
Polystyrene foam
Soiled plastic bags

According to this list, my husband and I are doing to have to make a few adjustments to what we put in our recycle bin.

What about your area?  What can you recycle?  How does your city’s list the compare?  Are there any things on here that are a surprise to you?

4 Responses to “A List of What Can Be Recycled In My City”

  1. I realize that I don’t know although we do put things we think should be able to be recycled into the provided recycle bin. No one has complained. In other locations, if we put something in the recycle bin that we should not, they would leave a message and not pick it up that week. It makes me wonder what actually happens to stuff in the recycle bin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think that our recycle gets look at separately from others. I think that the truck just picks it up and dumps it. So no one would know if we putting something in there that it incorrect. So they couldn’t notify us. Unless it is something big. We did get a notice once for something big, but I forgot what it was.

      As I was writing my post, I started wondering, too, about what happens to the stuff. I think I might have to look into that.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Frank!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. BroadBlogs said

    Good info. Thanks. I’m often confused about these things.

    Liked by 1 person

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