recycling binWhile recycling has slowly become more and more popular, there are still plenty of people who aren’t particularly good at it.  The Minnesota blog “Rethink Recycling” has recently released a “Know What to Throw Guide”, designed to help both pros and rookies recycle wherever they go.  Listed here are some major takeaways from this guide, based off an article from the site:

Do you know what can go into your home recycling bin or cart?  While recycling is great, “wish cycling”, or just putting a bunch of items in the recycling bin and hoping that they’re recyclable, can do a lot more harm than good (I’ve spoken about this before).  Yet there are plenty of things that can be recycled.  Here’s a list of things that are recyclable:


  • Plastics: You can recycle water, soda and juice bottles, as well as milk and juice jugs, ketchup and salad dressing bottles and yogurt and pudding cups.  Just be sure to rinse the containers thoroughly before putting them in the recycling bin, and leave caps and lids on plastics.
  • Paper and cardboard: Most paper, including mail, office and school papers, magazines, newspapers and phone books, is recyclable.  Cardboard and paper packaging can be recycled as well, just be sure to break down the boxes.  
  • Glass and metal: Glass bottles, jars and metal food containers are all recyclable.  You don’t need to remove any labels, just rinse them out.  If you’re going to recycle cans, just remember not to crush them.  

Some items can’t be recycled at home, yet are accepted by other programs.  While plastic bags are recyclable, they aren’t acceptable in home bins, since they can get tangled in the machinery at recycling facilities.  Rather, they can be recycled at many retail stores, and you can also check for other drop-off location options.  The following paper items should also be kept out of your curbside bins: paper plates and cups, paper soiled with food, napkins and gift wrap.  Glass items like drinking glasses, ceramic dishes, vases, windows and mirrors can’t be recycled either.

Many items in your home are considered household hazardous waste.  They can’t be placed in your home recycling or garbage bin and should be disposed of at any other locations.  Check with your county’s drop-off facility to see if they accept cans or jars with hazardous products like motor oil, paint, paint thinner, automotive fluids or aerosol cans.  While light bulbs can’t be recycled in home recycling programs, fluorescent bulbs can be brought to drop-off locations.