Visit Recycling Made Easy for detailed guidelines

It isn't rocket science, but it can be confusing ... 

Recycle guide

  • Just because it's plastic or paper doesn't mean it's recyclable!
  • Ignore the chasing arrows symbol; that doesn't necessarily mean it's recyclable.
  • Recycle only plastic containers, and only if they're one of four shapes: bottles, jars, jugs and tubs.
  • Most paper can be recycled but the main exceptions are as follows: do not recycle paper towels, paper plates and paper cups.
  • All paperboard boxes can be recycled except for boxes from the freezer.
  • Containers made of mixed materials should not be recycled (such as: Pringles containers).

How do I recycle properly?

  • Keep recyclables loose! Bagged recyclables go to the landfill.
  • Flatten cardboard boxes.
  • Do not recycle plastic bags or plastic film in your recycle cart.
  • It’s okay to leave labels and lids on clean and empty, recyclable containers. (Caps on glass bottles and jars should be reused or discarded.)
  • It’s okay to recycle paper products with tape, rubber bands and staples, and envelopes with windows.
  • Use a spatula or spoon to remove excess product from containers such as peanut butter and dressing.

How do I recycle items not accepted curbside?


The City of Fort Collins has a comprehensive A-Z Recycling Guide that provides alternatives to throwing items away. View our A-Z list for disposal options for various waste items, on-site at the landfill.

What happens to my recyclables?

Recyclables are collected and transported to the Recycle Center at the landfill. After they are unloaded inside the center, fiber (cardboard and paper) is separated with an OCC Screen, baled and shipped directly to market. Remaining recyclables are transported to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) where they are separated and prepared for marketing to a manufacturer that uses recycled content for new products.

At the MRF, various methods separate the mixed recycling based on material type. Screens isolate fiber from containers, air jets sort heavier and lighter plastics, optical sensors separate plastics by polymer type or color, and magnets and eddy currents (powerful magnetic fields) separate steel from aluminum.

What can I recycle?

View or download the recycle guide to see what can and cannot be recycled curbside. You may recycle cardboard, glass bottles and jars, metal cans, plastic bottles/jars/jugs and tubs, and paper/paperboard, including cartons. Everything else must be reused, repurposed, donated or discarded in the trash. Visit Recycling Made Easy for more detailed guidelines. **Note: Please contact your trash and recycling hauler for specific requirements.**

Want to know more?

Tours & education: Call Gloria Cohen at 970-498-5772 to set up a free tour or educational program on-site for your family, group, organization or business. We will also come to you to present waste diversion information (such as recycling, composting and much more) to groups of all ages. At this time, due to the pandemic, the Garbage Garage Education Center is not open for drop-in visits, but we are happy to schedule an appointment for you!