Recycle * Curbside Recycling Programs * Recycle Paper * Pastic * Glass

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Recycle - Get to Know Your Curbside Recycling Programs


Of all the proactive things we can do to green our lives, recycling is among the easiest thanks to curbside programs. However, we produce far more recyclable waste than can be collected in the city-issued bin you roll out to the street. Paper, plastic and glass, yes, but food, electronics, metals and hazardous waste require special recycling efforts. Plus, city programs do not accept all plastics and glass in curbside bins. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and handy online tools, you can quickly and efficiently discover the right way to recycle in your community.

Follow the Rules for Your Curbside Bin

If your curbside recycling bin does not display the items that are accepted and those that are not, call the city or visit their website to find out. Not only are most city programs limited in the type of plastics they accept, but also glass. Glassware such as drinking glasses plates and bowls usually contain a substance used during the manufacturing process that would be considered a contaminant if allowed to be mixed with glass food containers. So as convenient as your curbside recycling program may be, keep in mind that it is not a catch-all for everything. Return to Top

Donate or Resell All That Your Can

What's old to you is new to someone else. From books and magazines, to electronics and toys, to general household items, use the following means for lengthening the lifespan of products:

  • List items for sale on, and
  • List items for donation on and
  • Sell items at a yard sale
  • Give items away to local non-profits
  • Give items away to family and friends

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Compost Your Food Waste

It's estimated that more than half of our trash is organic waste that could be composted, more than 12 percent of which is food waste. Instead of sending it to the landfill or throwing it down the drain, put your food waste to good use. Through a compost pile or bin, you can turn your food waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden, lawn or house plants. If composting is new to you or you would like to know more, is a good place to start. Return to Top

Use Online Tools to Find Recycling Programs and Drop-off Locations in Your Area

Though you may discover other resources for finding recycling programs in your area, and are good places to start. Both offer easy-to-use search tools for all of your recycling needs. Simply search by product type and your location by city and/or zip. Some of the following may be permissible in your curbside recycling bins, but be sure and search sites for recycling options in all other categories applicable to the waste your household produces.


Nearly 90 percent of Americans have a curbside recycling program that accepts paper. However, there may be limitations to the type of paper allowed, requiring special recycling of phonebooks, catalogs and milk cartons. Through Earth911 or 1-800-RECYCLING, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Books
  • Brown Paper Bags
  • Cardboard
  • Catalogs
  • Computer Paper
  • Magazines
  • Mail
  • Newspapers
  • Paperboard
  • Phonebooks
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Milk Cartons

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recycle glass,recycle plastic,recycle paper

Eighty percent of American households have access to plastic recycling, be it a curbside program or a drop-off site nearby. All it takes is a little research of the following categories to determine what goes where. Through Earth911 or 1-800-RECYCLING, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Plastic Shopping Bags
  • Packing Peanuts
  • Plastic Bottles
  • PVC
  • Gift Cards


Of all the recyclable items in your home, the turnaround time for container glass is particularly fast. From the time you recycle it, your glass container could be on grocery store shelves again within 30 days time. Plus, glass is the purest of all recyclable materials as it can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing its purity. And making new glass containers from recycled glass uses 40 percent less energy than if made from virgin materials. Since keeping different glass colors separate from one another is essential, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Clear Glass
  • Green Glass
  • Blue Glass
  • Brown Glass

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Every year Americans recycle 150 million tons of scrap metal. Much of it comes from common household appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, ovens and water heaters. Obviously, sell or donate appliances that are still operable. For appliances that have reached the end of their lifespan, as well as other metal materials, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Appliances
  • Aerolsol Cans
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Ferrous Metals
  • Metal Clothes Hangers
  • Steel
  • Tin
  • Brass
  • Bronze


It's estimated that electronic waste, or "e-waste," is growing at three times the rate of other municipal waste sources. As a result, e-waste actually represents 70 percent of the heavy metals in our landfills. At the same time, e-waste is one of today's greatest resources as computers, cell phones and the like are made with glass, copper, aluminum, plastic and other recyclable materials that can easily be made into new products. Through Earth911 or 1-800-RECYCLING, look for local opportunities to recycle: recycle-electronics

  • CD's and DVD's
  • Cell Phones
  • Computer Monitors
  • Computers
  • DVD Players
  • Inkjet Cartridges
  • Motherboards
  • MP3 Players
  • Office Machines
  • TV's
  • VCR's
  • Video Games

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Beyond the obvious decision to drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, or to convert yours accordingly, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Auto Bodies
  • Auto Parts
  • Car Batteries
  • Car Fluids
  • Inner Tubes
  • Fuel
  • Motor Oil
  • Oil Filters
  • Tires

Household Items

This is the category of recyclable materials that presents the greatest opportunity for you to extend the lifespan of products. Sell what you can online or in a rummage sale and try giving away the rest, including: recycle home

  • Bicycles
  • Clothes and Linens
  • Eyeglasses
  • Furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Sporting Goods
  • Musical Instruments
  • Toys

As for recyclable materials that are waste, and waste only, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Household Cleaners
  • Light Bulbs
  • Glue
  • Coooking Oil
  • Solid Waste Disposal

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Yard Waste

Most cities have a yard waste program, meaning you can roll to the curb most of the following items. If not, you may compost your clippings, lawn waste, leaves and tree trimmings. Beyond that, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Lawn Clippings
  • Lawn Equipment
  • Leaves
  • Soil
  • Tree Trimmings
  • Weeds
  • Wood Chips

Construction Debris

Whether you have materials leftover from a new home build or old materials you need to discard of after a remodel, the need exists for your construction "waste." Through Earth911 or 1-800-RECYCLING, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Brick
  • Carpet
  • Carpet Padding
  • Gypsum Drywall
  • Linoleum
  • Pallets
  • Wood

Hazardous Waste

Every year it is estimated that Americans produce 1.6 million tons of hazardous household waste. Household materials considered hazardous are those that could be ignitable, corrosive, explosive, reactive, toxic or radioactive, the majority of which are listed below. Other products that may fall into this category are those labeled "poison/danger," "danger" or "warning/caution." Through Earth911 or 1-800-RECYCLING, look for local opportunities to recycle:

  • Asbestos
  • CFL's
  • Explosives
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Freon
  • Lead
  • Medications
  • Needles
  • Medical sharps
  • Mercury
  • Paint
  • Paint Thinners
  • Solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Photographic Chemicals
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • Single Use Batteries
  • Smoke Detectors

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Consider the Environmental Impact at Point-of-Sale

The only thing better than recycling is completely avoiding the purchase of materials altogether. Buying in bulk helps, as it requires less packaging to provide you with more content. Buying discriminately helps too. Cancel that newspaper subscription and subscribe to online news feeds. Invest in a water purifier for your faucet instead of buying bottled. Download music to an iPod instead of buying CDs. Consider these and other creative ways of getting what you want and need minus the materials.