Items that Can NOT Go into the Recycling Bin

Everyone wants to contribute to our environment and recycle. But depending on where you live, there are some items that are not considered recyclable. Surprisingly, some products that should not be placed in the recycle bin include types of paper, plastic, and glass. To find a more comprehensive list, check with your city service provider to know the specifics. But here is a list of items that you are generally not able to recycle:

  • Aerosol cans: These cans are made of metal, but since spray cans contain propellants and harsh toxic chemicals, they should not be recycled.
  • Batteries: Batteries contain many chemicals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and lithium. They should be handled separately from both the regular trash and recycle bin.
  • Styrofoam: Styrofoam or expanded polystyrene cannot be recycled. This includes packing peanuts, styrofoam cup holders, food containers and coolers. The material does not biodegrade and it is recommended to use as little as possible.
  • Household glass: Mirrors, light bulbs, and window panes should not be recycled. Glass bottles and jars are typically fine.
  • Cardboard drink containers: Juice boxes and other cardboard drink containers should not be recycled. Some manufacturers have started producing recyclable containers. These will be clearly marked on the outside of the container.
  • Medical waste: Scalpels, needles, tubing, and other biohazardous waste should not be recycled. These items will typically come with instructions on how to properly dispose of them.
  • Pizza boxes: Pizza boxes are contaminated with large amounts of oil. Because oil cannot be separated from the fiber, it is recommended that pizza boxes are not recycled.
  • Tires: Parts of the tire, such as the rim and wheel weights are not recyclable. Before throwing away tires, ask your local auto shop how to properly dispose of them in your area.
  • Wire hangers: Most recycle centers do not have the tools to recycle wire. However, most dry cleaners will be happy to take old wire hangers off your hands.
  • Yogurt cups: Most recycle centers are not able to recycle plastic materials that contain the numbers three through seven. These items can usually include food containers such as butter tubs, oil bottles, and yogurt cups.

Check with your municipal recycling system to get a more definite list of what belongs in your recycle bin. Some areas will restrict more items than the list above. Other areas have special programs to help recycle problematic materials.