Dos and Don’ts of Recycling

Here is what you can and cannot put in your recycling bin.

Do Recycle

  • Clean and dry paper, cardboard, milk and juice cartons, paper egg cartons, newspaper, magazines, junk mail (including envelopes with windows)
  • Glass bottles and jars. (OK to leave lids on. No need to rinse, just scrape food off.)
  • Metal cans, aluminum foil (rolled into a ball), small scrap metal
  • Plastic containers numbered 1-7 (They actually only recycle plastic numbered 1 and 2 but can easily separate out the others and currently ask people to recycle numbers 3-7 in the hope that those plastics will become recyclable in the future.) Remove aluminum covers; from yogurt containers, for instance.

Do Not Recycle

  • Styrofoam and bubble wrap
  • Black plastic
  • Plastic bags and plastic film (these get stuck in the sorting machinery)
  • Any plastic container less than 2¼ inches in diameter such as clothes hangers, plastic straws, and prescription pill containers
  • Nursery plant containers, plastic buckets and baskets
  • Non-refrigerated liquid containers such as soy or almond milk, soup, broth, or juice containers (these boxes contain multiple layers of different materials)
  • Ceramics, glassware, mirrors, window glass, broken glass (including bottles), light bulbs
  • Cash register receipts, name tags and backing material, stamps and backing material

Return to Where To Recycle Stuff in San Mateo County