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Approximately 20% of all exported recyclables nationwide are contaminated and cannot actually be recycled. In order to help reduce the number of contaminants found in recycling bins, the City encourages you to review the list below of what items should not be recycled at home.
Acceptable items to recycle include paper products, cardboard items, plastics #1–5 and #7, and aluminum and metal cans. However, if items become contaminated by food or liquid waste, they should not be recycled and instead should be disposed of in your regular waste bin. For example, cardboard pizza boxes would generally be considered recyclable, but once pizza grease soaks into the cardboard, it is considered contaminated and unrecyclable. Ensure your recyclables are empty, clean and dry before recycling in order to prevent food or liquid waste soaking into any paper or cardboard products.
Another common contaminant is grocery bags. Although your typical grocery bag is made of plastic, these bags should not be placed in your recycling bin. Instead, check to see if your local grocery store will recycle used bags. Many grocery stores now offer a place to recycle plastic grocery bags outside of the store’s front entrance.
Here is a list of common household items that should not be recycled at home:
For more information on what can and cannot be recycled, visit the Republic Services website at www.republicservices.com.