Curbside recycling programs have made it incredibly easy to recycle many items from the comfort of your home. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that are recyclable, but just can’t be recycled in your curbside bin.
Placing non-recyclable items in the curbside bin can actually result in your entire bin of recyclables to become contaminated. When non-recyclable items contaminate things that can be recycled, it usually results in your recyclables being tossed out with the trash.
In this article, we highlight the items that can’t be recycled in your curbside bin. The rules for recycling in your curbside bin vary by location, but generally speaking, what can’t go in your bin is almost the same in every state across the country.
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Download: Curbside Recycling Bin Cheat Sheet here.
What Not to Recycle Curbside
Although curbside recycling programs accept a wide variety of common household items, there are many things that you can’t throw in the bin even though they can technically be recycled. The following items should never be tossed in your curbside recycling cart or bin unless specifically approved by your county’s curbside recycling service.
♻️ Looking for what can be recycled curbside? Click here for more information.
1. Bagged Recyclables
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to sort and bag items before placing them in the curbside bin. You might think you’re helping out by going the extra mile, but actually, bagged recyclables will automatically be thrown in the trash.
Have bagged or boxed junk? WE TAKE THAT ❯
Although many batteries can be recycled, they can’t be recycled in your curbside recycling bin. This includes rechargeable and non-rechargeable batteries, Lithium-Ion batteries, phone batteries, car batteries and computer batteries.
Many retailers including Best Buy, Staples and Office Depot offer battery recycling programs for free. You can usually find battery recycling bins in the front entrance or lobby of participating retail stores.
3. Plastic Bags & Wraps
Generally speaking, plastic bags are typically not accepted in your curbside bin. Some (very few) curbside programs do accept them, so it’s important to check with your local county’s curbside recycling program.
Plastic bags can be recycled for free by dropping them off in a plastic bag recycling bin. These can usually be found at most grocery stores.
Electronics, also known as “eWaste”, can not be recycled in your curbside bin. Although small electronics, like microwaves & toaster ovens, heaters, and even stereo systems, might fit in your curbside bin, they definitely won’t be accepted by your curbside recycling service.
There are a few options when it comes to getting rid of eWaste, including:
- Hire an eco-friendly junk removal company to haul away electronics.
- Check with the manufacturer for possible recycling programs.
- Haul electronics yourself to a recycling center that accepts eWaste.
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Most appliances including dishwashers, water heaters, stoves, washing machines, and lawnmowers, are made out of steel, aluminum and other recyclable metals. However, appliances can’t be recycled in your curbside bin. Appliances that are left at the curb with the recycling and trash will either be left behind or will be hauled to a landfill by your waste management company.
The best way to recycle appliances is to have them hauled away by an eco-friendly junk removal service. Although it’s not free to have your appliances picked up by a junk removal company, hiring LoadUp is the most affordable option when you go this route.
6. Food-Soiled Recyclables
Recyclable items need to be well-rinsed before placing them in your curbside recycling bin. In fact, just one food-soiled item can contaminate the entire bin, resulting in your entire load of recyclables to be tossed out with the trash and wind up in a landfill. Pizza boxes are the most common food-soiled item that’s improperly disposed of in curbside recycling bins. Pizza boxes are recyclable in some counties, but prohibited in others, so it’s important to check with your local service before trying to recycle these.
Always make sure that you rinse recyclables that contained food before throwing them in your curbside bin.
7. Organic Waste
Food isn’t recyclable, it’s compostable. Compost and other organic waste isn’t allowed in your curbside recycling bin.
Yuck! Don’t throw dirty diapers in your curbside recycling bin! They aren’t recyclable, curbside or otherwise, and should be thrown away out with the trash.
9. Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials, including combustibles, paint, and other dangerous or toxic items aren’t recyclable. Attempting to recycle these items is really dangerous, and will definitely result in your entire bin getting thrown out with the regular trash.
10. Propane Tanks & Cylinders
Empty or full, propane tanks and cylinders cannot be recycled in your curbside bin. There are some junk removal services that will pick up and recycle your empty propane tanks for a small fee. You can also try bringing them back to the store you purchased the tank from and let them refill it for future use.
11. Multi-Layer Pouches, Bags & Wrappers
Potato chip bags, hot/cold bags and other plastic bags and wrappers are considered trash. Some of the reasons that you can’t recycle these things include:
- Manufactured using several different materials – like aluminum and plastic – that can’t be separated for recycling.
- Lingering food waste or oils in chip bags.
- Contains other chemicals that can’t be recycled.
12. Bulky Plastic Items
Bulky plastic items include things like playground sets, plastic patio furniture and plastic buckets. Although these plastics are recyclable, they aren’t always accepted by curbside recycling programs.
Know before you throw! Check with your curbside recycling program to find out if they allow bulky plastic items in your curbside cart or bin.
13. Clothing & Textiles
Some clothing and textiles are recyclable, but they can’t be thrown in the bin. If your clothes are still in good condition, there are a number of ways that you might be able to keep them out of the landfill by selling, donating or recycling them.
14. Plastic or Wire Hangers
Hangers create a pretty big headache for recyclers. Sure, they are made from recyclable materials. But since they tend to get tangled around other items, they aren’t accepted in the curbside bin.
15. Ceramic Items
Used dishes, pottery items or other ceramics aren’t recyclable and shouldn’t be thrown in the curbside recycling bin. Try donating ceramic items that are in good condition to national charities like Goodwill. If your ceramics aren’t in useable condition, go ahead and throw them in the trash.
16. Light Bulbs
Light bulbs are a lot like batteries and electronics: they are recyclable, but they can’t be thrown in the curbside bin.
The best way to recycle used lightbulbs is to do a Google search for special take-back or drop-off recycling program in your area that accepts light bulbs.
Wood can be recycled, but not in the curbside bin. Many furniture items like box springs, couches, dressers and other solid wood items, can easily be recycled by a furniture recycling facility. However, you’ll be responsible for loading and hauling your furniture yourself, which can require renting a truck and getting additional help from a friend or neighbor.
Don’t forget, recycling doesn’t always mean breaking or melting something down. You can always try to donate your used wood furniture items, or find a furniture store that might come pick it up for donation or recycling. If you prefer not to do the work yourself or hit a dead end with the furniture stores, you can always have your wood furniture items picked up for green disposal by an eco-friendly junk removal company.
18. Bowling Balls
Bowling balls can’t be recycled, but they might be acceptable for donation. If you’d like to keep your bowling ball out of the landfill, try reaching out to a local bowling alley. If they don’t accept your ball, they might at least be able to point you in the right direction. You also might be able to donate bowling balls to national charities like The Salvation Army or Goodwill.
19. Drinking Glasses & Window Panes
Although glass is recyclable, glass items like cups and window panes can’t be recycled in your curbside bin. This is because the glass used to manufacture drinking glasses and window panes is more durable, and has a different melting point than glass bottles and jars.
The one exception to this rule is mason jars, which can be recycled in your curbside bin.
Disposing of Difficult or Non-Recyclable Items
There are many items that can’t be recycled curbside but are still recyclable. Things like furniture, appliances, mattresses and other large bulky items are made from recyclable materials like metal, plastic and even some kinds of wood. Those things might not be able to go in your curbside recycling bin … but never fear! They still can be picked up for recycling and proper disposal at an affordable price by an Earth-friendly, nationwide junk removal company like LoadUp.
LoadUp’s rates are more affordable than most other companies like ours in the waste management industry. With prices around 20-30% lower than average junk removal rates, LoadUp makes it easy to find a green disposal method for all your “difficult to recycle” items that won’t break the bank. Our all-inclusive rates are guaranteed, so you’ll never get hit with surprise charges or be forced to haggle with a salesman for an on-site estimate. LoadUp’s upfront, guaranteed pricing means you pay what you’re quoted. Nothing more.
With teams of local Loaders across the entire country, you can get your bulky items picked up for proper disposal as soon as the next day. Unlike most other junk removal companies who come on-site to provide a quote, then require you to schedule a service date after that initial visit, LoadUp provides quotes online, by phone and even via text, without ever having to set foot on your property. That means when you schedule a pickup, our Loaders are actually going to pick up and haul away your unwanted junk on the date you choose.
LoadUp offers convenient scheduling options to work around your busy day, with both in-home and curbside pickups available. Our curbside pickup services are the most flexible option for those who can’t be present for in-home junk removal appointments. Plus, since curbside pickups are easier on our Loaders and your schedule, we pass the savings onto you with a discount on our curbside junk removal services!
Make LoadUp your personal partner for recycling and properly disposing of your “difficult to recycle” items – schedule junk removal service for your unwanted appliances, furniture, and other bulky items today!
Downloadable Recycling Resource: What Can and Can’t Be Recycled in Your Curbside Bin
Download our ultimate curbside recycling cheatsheet and become a curbside recycling guru in no time!
Like what you see below? Print it out and place it by your recycling bin as a reference for what can and can’t go in there each week!
Download: Curbside Recycling Bin Cheat Sheet here.
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