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Recycling basics

  • All recyclables should be free from food and other debris.


Do not put your recycling into a bag.

Recycling is best loose in the collection cart. The only exception is shredded paper.

If your living situation requires you to use a plastic bag for recycling, you must choose a clear bag. This way the sorters can identify what is inside is recyclable. If the bag is not see-through, it will be assumed to be trash.


what to put in your recycling cart

Use this guide to see what can go into your cart (or keep reading this page).  Print it & post it on the fridge or elsewhere at home so everyone can know what should go into the recycling. 

Check the lid of your recycling cart, too. Many carts now have this guide printed on them. The lid guide can be used for printing and posting.

And you can get a free 3" x 5" magnet from that covers the recycling basics, too. (Just contact us and we can mail them.)

Paper Recycling

Paper items that can be recycled


The following clean and dry paper products can be recycled in your green recycling cart:

  • Newspapers and the inserts
  • Flattened cardboard
  • Mail
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Paper bags
  • Envelopes
  • Office & computer paper
  • Phone books
  • Cardboard-sided cans
  • Cereal & cracker boxes
  • Cardboard tube cores from paper products
  • Frozen food & soda boxes
  • Gift wrap
  • Egg cartons
  • Milk & juice cartons
  • Broth, soy milk, juice boxes and other aseptic/Tetrapak boxes
  • Receipts and bills
  • Paper/cardboard backing from retail packages
  • Paper cups



  • Cardboard boxes

Flatten all cardboard boxes and place them inside the recycling cart.

Boxes that do not fit inside your cart should be flattened and cut down to a 3' x 3' size, tied in bundles 6" in height or less. Place the bundles under the cart lid or in a neat pile next to the collection cart.

You can also bring excess cardboard to a drop-off site.  

  • Pizza boxes

The parts of the pizza box contaminated by food and grease should go into the trash.  You can recycle the clean sections of pizza boxes by tearing them off.

  • Shredded paper

Place shredded paper in clear bags, tie the bag shut, and then place the bag into the recycling cart. It must be clear, or see-through, so the sorters can identify it is as shredded paper. The bag of shredded paper should be no larger than a basketball.


Paper Items that Do Not Belong in the Recycling Cart:

  • Diapers
  • Photographs
  • Takeout containers with food stains
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Soiled and/or stained cardboard & paper products
  • Padded envelopes
  • Foil wrapping paper


Plastic Recycling

Plastic items that can be recycling in the green cart at home


The following rinsed clean and dry plastic containers can be placed in your green recycling cart:

  • Bottles (caps/lids on)
  • Jugs & jars (caps/lids on)
  • Dairy & deli tubs
  • Condiment bottles
  • Shell packaging like what is around electronics or toys
  • Berry containers & mushroom trays
  • Frozen juice containers
  • Other plastic boxes, containers, or bottles with necks that are #1 through #7 plastics
  • Yogurt containers



  • Cups

Only cups that are #1, #2, and #5 plastic can go into the cart. Be sure the cups are clean and dry before placing them into the cart.


Plastic Items that Do Not Belong in the Recycling Cart:

Can and metal recycling

Metal items that can go into the recycling cart

The following empty & clean metal items can be placed in your green recycling cart:

  • Aluminum, tin, and steel cans & lids
  • Aluminum foil (balled up to the size of a baseball)
  • Aersol cans
  • Paint cans & lids
  • Foil pans
  • Pots & pans


Should I flatten cans before putting them into the recycling?

No. Flat items act like paper in the sorting system, so if you flatten the cans, they could get mixed in with the paper at the sorting facility. You can give the cans a satisfying squeeze around the middle to crinkle them, but if you stomp or crush them flat, they could get sorted incorrectly.



  • Small metal appliances

If an item is most metal like a toaster or a coffeemaker, it can be placed into the recycling cart. Place all of the glass parts into the tan trash container.

  • Bottle caps, keys, etc.

Small metal items like bottle caps can be recycled if they are placed into a larger metal container, like a tin can. Crimp the can closed so the small metal items cannot fall out, and put the can into the recycling.

  • Small metal items

Other metal items like plumbing fixtures or pipes can also be placed into the recycling cart, but these items must weigh less than 10 pounds and be shorter than 18 inches in length.

  • Large metal items

Bigger metal items (like posts and filing cabinets), or tangling items (like aluminum blinds or chicken wire), or very heavy items (like car parts), can be recycled if they taken to a drop-off site. Some of these items may also be collected as large item.



Glass items that can be recycled in the green cart

The following empty & clean glass item without lids can be placed in your green recycling cart:

  • Jars
  • Bottles


Glass Items that Do Not Belong in the Recycling Cart:

  • Windows
  • Mirrors
  • Ceramics
  • Drinking glasses
  • Vision glasses
  • Dishes and bowls
  • Flower pots and vases
  • Fluorescent light bulbs
  • LED or incandescent light bulbs
  • Laboratory glass & chemical bottles


general Recycling tips

  • Keeping the lid of the recycling cart closed protects the material inside from the rain and snow that can damage paper.
  • Remember to empty and flatten all of your boxes is the right thing to do, and it will help save a lot of space in your carts.


what happens to your recycling?

Watch a video about the Pellitteri Waste Systems recycling facility sorts everything you have placed into the recycling carts.


Recyclopedia & Fact sheets

Looking for more information on Streets Division services and even more recycling details?

Download the 2023 Recyclopedia:

The booklet is also available in the following languages.  The 2021 versions are linked below. Translations of 2023 version for these languages are not yet available.


Paper copies of the Recyclopedia can be mailed out by request, just contact the Streets Division.

The new Recyclopedia is designed to be easy to use and search while on your computer. You're welcome to download the PDF file or just bookmark the page. Be sure to update your bookmarks with the 2023 version.

And for something that has more detail than the photo guide, but less than the Recyclopedia, here's our reference guide to the rules and guidelines for recycling

And while you're learning what to put into the cart the correct way, here's the guide on how to use the cart itself the right way:

Our universe of stuff is complicated and constantly changing. So you may still encounter an item or question that is not covered by any of these resources. Please contact us and we'll help.