Recycling is essential to keeping our neighborhoods clean, but it’s easy to get mixed up on what goes in which bin. As regulations have changed, it’s time to rethink recycling! Here’s a quick and easy guide to what you should recycle and what you should dispose of in a specialized manner. 

At-home trashcan…

  • Styrofoam
  • Window glass
  • Mirrors
  • Plastic bags and soft plastics (bread bags or chocolate wrappers)
  • To-go coffee cups or take out containers
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Baby diapers

 At-home recycling bin…

  • Cardboard such as newspapers, paper, magazines
  • Glass bottles and jars that have been cleaned for food waste or residue
  • Plastic containers such as milk, ice cream, margarine, and yogurt containers that have been cleaned for food waste or residue
  • Aluminum such as soft drink cans, foil trails, and steel cans
  • Shredded paper … Due to its fine nature, shredded paper can clog machines at a recycling plant which makes it difficult to recycle; keep it bagged separately

For all items mentioned above, be sure to actively check for the recycle symbol. While the general rule of thumb says that these items are recyclable, there is always the exception. You don’t want to contaminate the recycling process!

A specialized recycling center…

  • CFL bulbs that you purchased at Home Depot, IKEA, etc.
  • Ink cartridges
  • Batteries
  • Electronic waste (TVs, computers, cellphones, tablets, hairdryers)
  • Anything that can get tangled (wires, cords, chains, headphones, Christmas lights)
  • Propane cylinders (See if you can return to the original place of purchase!)

For any specialized item, be sure to look up the proper disposal method in your specific area. For example, some Staples and Best Buys accept wires, cords, and other electronic items for recycling. Additionally, in general, every municipality has different regulations, so it’s always helpful to go through the process of learning yours whenever you relocate! Do it once and you’ll be good to go.

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