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There are so many questions about not only what you can and can't recycle...but also how to prepare your recycling. Do you need to remove labels? Here's the info:
How to prepare your recycling
- Empty and rinse out any containers.
- Flatten all boxes.
- Place recycling loose into your cart. Empty recycling out of paper bags (paper bag may be placed in the recycling cart) and plastic bags (plastic bags must be placed in the trash) to allow for effective sorting at the recycling facility.
- Set your cart out by 6 a.m. on your collection day.
- Place extra recycling that does not fit in your cart in a cardboard box or paper bag next to your cart. Extra cardboard should be flattened, bundled and tied with string or twine. Bundles must be less than 3' x 3' and less than 40 pounds. Call to request another recycling cart at no charge.
Changes to materials accepted for recycling
Due to changes in the international, national and local recycling markets, it's more important than ever to only put the proper items in recycling carts. Only the items identified on the recycling guide (below) should be placed in recycling carts.
Recent changes to what is accepted include those that have weak markets and can be difficult to sort at the recycling facility.
- No #6 plastics(polystyrene: rigid or foam)
- Fortunately due to the City's Green to Go ordinance, #6 plastics are not allowed to be used for food-service applications (still make sure to check though). Other locations you'll commonly find #6 plastics are in foam (referred to as StyrofoamTM) or plastic cups or plates purchased from a store and plastic holders for things like pre-packaged cookies, pre-packaged crackers, and possibly pre-packaged clamshells from bakery items (so long as they're not packaged at the store, they are exempt from Green to Go requirements).
- No black plastics(any number)
- Black plastics are typically a #1, #5 or #6 plastic. Plastics are sorted by type (number) at the recycling facility by a laser. The color black absorbs the laser light and does not allow it to identify the type of plastic an item is. Black plastics would have to be pulled by hand and a person would have to look at each piece to identify if it is a #1, #5 or #6. These logistics, including the weak markets, make recycling black plastic not economically feasible.
Avoid purchasing these items. Encourage businesses using them to switch to recyclable or compostable alternatives. If they cannot be reused, #6 and black plastic items should be placed in the garbage. For more information on what to do with items not included on the recycling guide below, search ourWhat to Do ListorHennepin County's Green Disposal Guide.
Materials accepted for recycling
- Mail, office and school papers
- Magazines, newspaper and inserts
- Phone books
- Shredded paper in closed paper bags
- Cereal, cracker, shoe and gift boxes
- Refrigerated food and beverage boxes
- Toothpaste, medication and other toiletry boxes
Plastics - keep caps on
Bottles and jugs:
- Water, soda and juice boxes
- Milk and juice jugs
- Ketchup and salad dressing bottles
- Dishwashing and laundry soap bottles and jugs
- Shampoo, soap and lotion bottles
Cups and containers:
- Yogurt, pudding and fruit cups
- Margarine, cottage cheese and other tubs and lids
- Produce, deli and takeout containers
- Food and beverage bottles and jars
- Food and beverage cans
- Aluminum foil and trays
- Decorative tins and pie tins
- Milk cartons
- Juice boxes
- Soup, broth and wine cartons
- Chips, nuts and other snacks
- Frozen juices and refrigerated dough
- Powdered juice mixes
- Powdered cleaners
Batteries - place in bag on top of cart - not in your cart
- Single use and rechargeable batteries
- Put in clear plastic bag and place on top of your recycling cart.
- Tape the positive (+) terminal of lithium and lithium-ion batteries to prevent fires.
Do not place the following items in your recycling cart:
- Plastic bags (no recycling in bags or loose plastic bags, bubble wrap or film)
- Cords, electronics or appliances
- Paper or foam cups, plates clamshells, ice cream cartons
- Straws, napkins or paper towels
- Durable goods (storage bins, toys, sports gear, furniture, building materials, hoses, garden edging, brooms, shovels, ceramics, glassware, mirrors, picture frames, other housewares or décor)
- Scrap metal (pots and pans, pipes, poles, toasters, chairs, scooters)
- Clothes hangers (metal, plastic or wood)
- Paint, bulbs or containers that held hazardous waste
- Textiles (clothes, shoes, linens, blankets or curtains)
- # 6 plastic (rigid or foam)
- Black plastic