Know what to throw.

Keep no-no's out of your recycle bin. Items on this page are NOT recyclable and hurt the recycling process down the line. Common contaminants:

Bags plas

  • Garden hoses and cords
  • COVID-19 safety items (gloves, masks, wipes)
  • Disposable cups (hot and cold), plates, utensils, straws
  • Plastic bags, plastic wrap, plastic mailers, styrofoam
  • Plastic food wrappers, clamshell containers
  • Plastic odds and ends, small plastics
  • Bagged recyclables, spiral cans, and more

What is contamination? Recycling items that are 1) not recyclable or 2) have food debris or liquid inside. If you don't know if something is recyclable and you don't have time to find out, discard it in the trash. The triangle (chasing arrows symbol) does not mean it is recyclable.  So what CAN be recycled? Become a recycling expert!

Scroll down - Items that are NOT recyclable

Food waste

NO food waste

Any items with food, drink or grease left inside are not recyclable. 


NO tanglers

They're plastic but not recyclable: garden hoses, cords, strands of light, etc. These materials get wrapped around conveyor belts and machines at the recycling center, which cause hours of downtime.

Clamshell containers

NO clamshell containers

We call them clamshells; they have two parts joined by a hinge. Plastic containers that are similar but not joined by a hinge are also not recyclable (clear, rigid plastic or black rigid plastic). The molding affects the structure of the plastic which makes it difficult to recycle.

Plastic film

NO plastic wrap, plastic mailers, plastic film

Any thin, plastic wrap-around products, such as bread bags and paper towels, are not recyclable. Plastic bubble wrap from packaging and plastic mailers cannot be recycled either. Thin plastic film gets wrapped around the equipment at the recycling facility, often shutting down operations!

Plastic wrappers

NO plastic food wrappers

We buy them because they're convenient or the only way our favorite snacks are packaged. This includes squeezy pouches, potato chip bags, packaging for granola, shredded cheese and much more. Unfortunately, food wrappers cannot be recycled.

Bagged recyclables

NO bagged recyclables

When you bag your recyclables, you can be sure they'll end up at the landfill. Recycling processors don't know if the bags are full of recyclables, trash or even dirty diapers, so they get discarded with other contaminants. Keep your recyclables loose. 


NO covid-19 safety items

Safety items such as gloves and masks cannot be recycled. Although these and medical items, such as "sharps" or needles are plastic, they should NEVER go in your recycle bin.

Spiral cans

NO spiral cans and other mixed material items

If a container is made of a combination of materials (such as cardboard, metal, plastic) it should not be recycled. Recyclables are separated by material type before they are sold as a commodity, and containers made from mixed materials cannot be separated this way. 

Plastic toys

NO toys and other plastic odd and ends

Odd plastic items not on the list of recyclable plastics cause challenges to the recycling process. The automated system is made for specific types of plastics such as bottles, jars, jugs and tubs. All others should not be placed in recycle bins.

NO small plastics

If it's smaller than 3" it should not be recycled. Small plastic items that are recycled make their way to the landfill; they fall between belts and gears of the machinery and end up on the floor of the recycling facility.

NO styrofoam

Because styrofoam is made of mostly air, it has very little value in the recycling system. It is not cost-effective to recycle it and it should never be placed in your recycle bin.

NO disposables

Please do not recycle disposable plastic plates, bowls, utensils, straws, hot and cold cups, napkins. They should be reused if possible, but finally, discarded in the trash.