Recycle right! If you’re not sure if a material is recyclable, put it in the garbage. Contamination causes a lot of problems, so when in doubt, throw it out!
For more information on how to recycle right, contact the Office of Sustainability at 505.992.9832 or [bot protected email address].
The items listed below are common mistakes that show up in recycling carts or bins. They CANNOT BE RECYCLED at the convenience center or in your curbside recycling cart. Please do not toss them in with your recycling.
Aerosol cans: Leftover gases can cause an explosion and/or a fire at the recycling facility.
Automotive parts and scrap metal: Only metal cans should be recycled in your mixed recycling bins. Other types of metal are handled differently. Recycle scrap metal in the designated bin or area at our convenience centers or contact a local scrap metal recycling company.
Baby diapers: Aside from being gross, the paper and plastic cannot be separated from the other materials.
Ceramics & pottery: Things like coffee mugs and old flower pots cannot be recycled. Donate them if they are in good shape.
Glass: Glass bottles can be recycled at drop-off locations, not in your curbside cart or in the mixed recycling bin. Glass is not accepted at the recycling facility, so it must be handled separately.
Greasy take-out containers, donut boxes, and pizza boxes: Greasy stained food boxes will clog the screens at the paper mill. Only recycle clean boxes. If you are unsure if it is greasy enough to merit disposal, please landfill the item. Remember: when in doubt, throw it out. Pro tip: tear off the untarnished pizza box top and recycle it!
Hypodermic needles: Some people put their needles in a plastic bottle for safe disposal. If doing so, landfill that bottle. Recycling it can expose workers to serious diseases.
Paper coffee cups: Paper cups have a plastic coating to prevent leaking. This plastic coating makes it unrecyclable. Bring your own cup! Most coffee shops offer discounts for bringing your own mug.
Plastic grocery bags: These are the most common item that should not be recycled in your cart or the mixed recycling bin, and they can be very detrimental at the recycling plant. They get caught in the recycling sorter, causing the whole facility to shut down while they are removed. Click here for a listing of recycling drop-off locations.
Styrofoam: Although Styrofoam is recyclable, it requires highly specialized equipment that our recycling facility is not equipped with.
Keep ‘em loose. Bagged recyclables are as good as trash (except for shredded paper – place in clear bag). If you collect recyclables in a bag, empty the bag into your cart or bin.
Caps on. Puts caps back on plastic and metal bottles and containers (if possible). Remove caps from glass bottles and containers.
Clean and dry. Lightly rinse materials to remove food residue. If food cannot be removed with a light rinse, consider using a napkin or paper towel. If that will not work, please landfill the item.
Flatten boxes. This saves a lot of space in the trailer or truck.
Size matters. Anything smaller than a 3.5”x 5” post card cannot be handled by the processing facility and should be landfilled or composted. However, when a plastic cap is left on a plastic bottle, it DOES get recycled-- please leave the caps on the bottles!