Trash that Can Go into the Recycling Bin

Those who dread having to sort trash for recycling usually discover it is a very easy and rewarding habit – once they figure out the types of trash that can go into the recycling bin. Before recycling I was confused as to what could go into the bin and what had to go in the trash can in my area. Recycling programs are sometimes different regarding what can and cannot go into the recycling bin. Contact your local recycling manager to find out exactly what types of trash can go into your recycling bin, but in the meantime, use the following information to get started on reducing the amount of trash going into your state landfill.

Types of Metal that Can Go Into the Bin

The types of metal that can typically go into the recycling bin are aluminum, steel, and tin food and drink containers. They should be rinsed and not include lids. Some recycling programs insist that labels be removed while others do not. Contact your local town hall to ask if labels must be removed. When in doubt, remove the labels and place them with the paper products in the bin.

Numbered Plastic Containers

Look beneath plastic containers or along bottom edges for a triangle with a number in the center. Recyclable plastic items that can typically go into the bin are numbered from one to seven. Discard the lids, rinse the bottles, and place them in the bin for recycling.

Glass Bottles that Can Go Into the Bin

In most recycling programs, clear, green and brown glass food and drink bottles can go into the bin. Rinse out the bottles, discard the lids unless otherwise instructed, and place them in the bottom of the bin. Keeping a neat recycling bin will enable you to add more items than if recyclables are randomly tossed inside, and glass bottles and jars which are typically heavier than other recyclables should be placed beneath lighter weight plastics.


Newspapers can be placed in the recycling bin, and some programs accept all parts of the newspaper including shiny paper ads. They can fill up a trash can very quickly, and why throw them away and take up space when they can be recycled. Placing the papers in the recycling bin solves the problem of too many papers and ads in the trash while keeping them out of the landfill.

Mixed Paper Items that Can Go Into the Bin

Recyclable paper items other than newsprint include items such as food boxes, broken down cardboard boxes that are two feet by two feet in size or less, catalogs, magazines, junk mail including envelopes with clear plastic windows, flyers, scrap copy paper, and paper grocery sacks. To efficiently store mixed paper items and newsprint, place them in a paper bag and do not bundle anything.

What to Do with Waste Oil, Fluorescent Light Bulbs, and Batteries

Never place contaminants such as waste oil, batteries, or fluorescent light bulbs in the trashcan or the recycling bin – unless they are accepted for recycling in your area. Instead, take waste oil to quick-change locations, take batteries to vehicle service locations willing to accept them, and call local home improvement and hardware stores to ask if they will accept used fluorescent light bulbs.

It only takes a few seconds to remove labels, rinse cans and bottles, break down boxes, and place recyclable items in a recycling bin. Each item recycled helps reduce waste in the landfill. If you are like I am, once you get started your conscience will more than likely stop you from simply throwing recyclable items in the trash instead of into the recycling container.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

− two = 5