Curbside Recycling: What Can and Can’t Be Recycled

The U.S. curbside recycling program is now more than 30 years old. It has been a vital and consistent source of raw materials for manufacturers worldwide.

It provides millions of Americans with the opportunity to participate actively in the protection of the environment and climate change mitigation.

What Can Be Recycled Curbside?

Most items, even the complicated ones, contain plastic, metal, paper, or glass – all of which can be recycled.

If your county’s curbside service doesn’t accept your items, recycling facilities and drop-off centers can help.

Although it may be easy to toss items in the garbage, giving your old things new life is worth it to our planet.

These are the most common items that can be recycled through the curbside recycling program.

Curbside Recycling

  • Plastic products
  • Paper
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Mixed papers
  • Cardboard
  • Glass
  • Metal containers (e.g., tin, aluminum, and steel)

What Can’t Be Recycled Curbside?

These are the most items that can’t be recycled in the curbside recycling program.

Can’t Be Recycled Curbside

  • Anything with food on it (e.g., an oil-soaked pizza box)
  • Used paper towels, tissues, and diapers
  • Broken ceramic, lightbulbs, and mirrors
  • Styrofoam
  • Electronic waste (e-waste)
  • Construction and demolition debris

Some curbside programs offer organic waste removal, where paper materials with food residue can be recycled along with all other food waste.

Related content:
Why is Recycling Important?
Benefits of Recycling

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