The Dirty Dozen – Recycling Contaminants

Have you became a wild and loose recycler? Do you say, ah, who cares? Throw it is the Bin! The participation rates are going up with single-stream recycling, but some stuff does NOT go in the bin! Please check with your curbside recycling company for specifics. Single stream recycling has some No No items and other things can be recycled with various other groups. Also, remember groups like Goodwill and Salvation Army for furniture, books, clothes, household items, dishes etc.

First let’s highlight the Scuzzy Six

  1. No Plastic Bags
  2. No Recyclables in Plastic Bags
  3. No Shredded Paper
  4. No Scrap Metal
  5. No Hazardous Waste
  6. No Bio-hazardous waste including diapers and needles

And here are six more….

  1. No Vases, dishes, mirrors, light bulbs, window glass, drinking glasses
  2. No Plastic lids, foam containers
  3. No foil drink pouches
  4. No tires, batteries, appliances
  5. No glossy papers or Tyvek envelopes
  6. No paper towels or paper plates, wrapping paper, tissues, stickers

Certain items are compostable, lots of picnic ware (spudware) can be composted. Shredded paper falls through the cracks of the sorting machine and /or sticks to the conveyor belts and becomes paper mache. One hint is don’t shred non-sensitive paper, the other is shredded paper can be recycled as paperboard along with low grade papers, so gather in in a paper bag so that it cannot fly away and recycle.


paper, cardboard (flatten it) plastic bottles, phone books, blueprints, glass bottles and jars, clean balled aluminum foil (2 inches or larger), pie pans, cans, magazines, empty aerosol cans (no lids), milk and juice paper containers, paperback books, egg cartons, loose metal lids and bottle caps.

For more information, google “ZERO WASTE” or check Cal Recycle.

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