Recycling 101

Three Basic Rules

Stick to these three rules to recycle more efficiently and help ensure that everything in your recycling bin finds a second life.

Empty plastic bottle, can of orange soda, cardboard, and newspaper inside green triangle.
RULE 1

Recycle bottles, cans, paper and cardboard

Banana peel and orange slice inside red hexagon.
RULE 2

Keep food and liquid out of your recycling

White plastic bag inside red hexagon.
RULE 3

No loose plastic bags and no bagged recyclables

Recycling Guide

Accepted in Your Bin*

These items can go in your recycling bin, as long as they're clean and dry.
A group of plastic containers.
Plastic Bottles & Containers
Clean and dry containers, then put the cap back on before tossing in the bin.
A pile of cans used to store food and beverages.
Food & Beverage Cans
A stack of folded newspapers.
Paper
A stack of folded cardboard.
Flattened Cardboard & Paperboard
Cardboard pizza delivery boxes without leftovers or liners should be recycled. Some communities allow them in compost. Check your local guidelines.
RR-table-thm-food-containers (en)
Food & Beverage Containers
RR-table-thm-glass (en)
Glass Bottles & Containers

Not Accepted in Your Bin

Try to reduce and reuse these items instead of putting them in the trash.
Empty plastic bottles in a plastic bag.
No Bagged Recyclables
If you collect your recyclables in a bag, empty them directly into your cart and reuse the bag!
Empty plastic shopping bag.
No Plastic Bags
Do not bag recyclables as materials inside may not get recycled. Reuse plastic bags, or learn where you can recycle them at plasticfilmrecycling.org.
RR-table-thm-plastic-wrap (en)
No Plastic Wrap & Film
Empty product packaging made with non-recyclable flexible plastic.
No Flexible Packaging
This type of packaging is made from multiple materials preventing it from being recycled.
Empty cup that has been treated with a wax or plastic coating.
No Cups with Wax or Plastic Coatings
Invest in and carry a reusable cup instead.
Empty polystyrene container.
No Polystyrene Foam & Plastic

Other Materials

Typically not accepted for curbside pickup. Check local programs for disposal options.
A garden hose.
No Tangling Items
"Tanglers" can wrap around equipment, endanger workers and shut down entire recycling centers. If they are still in good condition, donate them.
A stack of diapers.
No Dirty Diapers
These materials will spoil all of the recyclables, turning the load to trash. Trash these instead and keep recyclables clean and dry.
Pile of shoes.
No Household Items
Check local programs for reuse and recycling options first. Put them in the trash bin if no other options are available.
Three medical syringes.
No Medical Waste
Overhead photo of a variety of discarded items from a garage.
No Garage Waste
* Recyclable items can vary based on your location. Check local programs to find out what is recyclable in your area.

Accepted in Your Bin*

These items can go in your recycling bin, as long as they're clean and dry.
A group of plastic containers.
Plastic Bottles & Containers
Clean and dry containers, then put the cap back on before tossing in the bin.
A pile of cans used to store food and beverages.
Food & Beverage Cans
A stack of folded newspapers.
Paper
A stack of folded cardboard.
Flattened Cardboard & Paperboard
Cardboard pizza delivery boxes without leftovers or liners should be recycled. Some communities allow them in compost. Check your local guidelines.
RR-table-thm-food-containers (en)
Food & Beverage Containers
RR-table-thm-glass (en)
Glass Bottles & Containers

Not Accepted in Your Bin

Try to reduce and reuse these items instead of putting them in the trash.
Empty plastic bottles in a plastic bag.
No Bagged Recyclables
If you collect your recyclables in a bag, empty them directly into your cart and reuse the bag!
Empty plastic shopping bag.
No Plastic Bags
Do not bag recyclables as materials inside may not get recycled. Reuse plastic bags, or learn where you can recycle them at plasticfilmrecycling.org.
RR-table-thm-plastic-wrap (en)
No Plastic Wrap & Film
Empty product packaging made with non-recyclable flexible plastic.
No Flexible Packaging
This type of packaging is made from multiple materials preventing it from being recycled.
Empty cup that has been treated with a wax or plastic coating.
No Cups with Wax or Plastic Coatings
Invest in and carry a reusable cup instead.
Empty polystyrene container.
No Polystyrene Foam & Plastic

Other Materials

Typically not accepted for curbside pickup. Check local programs for disposal options.
A garden hose.
No Tangling Items
"Tanglers" can wrap around equipment, endanger workers and shut down entire recycling centers. If they are still in good condition, donate them.
A stack of diapers.
No Dirty Diapers
These materials will spoil all of the recyclables, turning the load to trash. Trash these instead and keep recyclables clean and dry.
Pile of shoes.
No Household Items
Check local programs for reuse and recycling options first. Put them in the trash bin if no other options are available.
Three medical syringes.
No Medical Waste
Overhead photo of a variety of discarded items from a garage.
No Garage Waste
* Recyclable items can vary based on your location. Check local programs to find out what is recyclable in your area.

Accepted in Your Bin*

These items can go in your recycling bin, as long as they're clean and dry.
A group of plastic containers.
Plastic Bottles & Containers
Clean and dry containers, then put the cap back on before tossing in the bin.
A pile of cans used to store food and beverages.
Food & Beverage Cans
A stack of folded newspapers.
Paper
A stack of folded cardboard.
Flattened Cardboard & Paperboard
Cardboard pizza delivery boxes without leftovers or liners should be recycled. Some communities allow them in compost. Check your local guidelines.
RR-table-thm-food-containers (en)
Food & Beverage Containers
RR-table-thm-glass (en)
Glass Bottles & Containers

Not Accepted in Your Bin

Try to reduce and reuse these items instead of putting them in the trash.
Empty plastic bottles in a plastic bag.
No Bagged Recyclables
If you collect your recyclables in a bag, empty them directly into your cart and reuse the bag!
Empty plastic shopping bag.
No Plastic Bags
Do not bag recyclables as materials inside may not get recycled. Reuse plastic bags, or learn where you can recycle them at plasticfilmrecycling.org.
RR-table-thm-plastic-wrap (en)
No Plastic Wrap & Film
Empty product packaging made with non-recyclable flexible plastic.
No Flexible Packaging
This type of packaging is made from multiple materials preventing it from being recycled.
Empty cup that has been treated with a wax or plastic coating.
No Cups with Wax or Plastic Coatings
Invest in and carry a reusable cup instead.
Empty polystyrene container.
No Polystyrene Foam & Plastic

Other Materials

Typically not accepted for curbside pickup. Check local programs for disposal options.
A garden hose.
No Tangling Items
"Tanglers" can wrap around equipment, endanger workers and shut down entire recycling centers. If they are still in good condition, donate them.
A stack of diapers.
No Dirty Diapers
These materials will spoil all of the recyclables, turning the load to trash. Trash these instead and keep recyclables clean and dry.
Pile of shoes.
No Household Items
Check local programs for reuse and recycling options first. Put them in the trash bin if no other options are available.
Three medical syringes.
No Medical Waste
Overhead photo of a variety of discarded items from a garage.
No Garage Waste
* Recyclable items can vary based on your location. Check local programs to find out what is recyclable in your area.

Common Recycling Myths

Learn the truth behind the myths that contribute most to recycling contamination. Download our Recycling Myths guide to spread the word.

Recycling & Sustainability Services

See how WM can help you contribute to a sustainable planet.

Green plastic WM residential waste container with black wheels and white WM logo on side.

Trash & Recycling

Weekly curbside collection.
Residential Trash & Recycling Pickup
Green plastic WM residential waste container with black wheels and white WM logo on side.

Trash & Recycling

Weekly curbside collection.
Commercial container with black lid

Waste & Recycling

Recurring business waste pickup.
Commercial Waste & Recycling Pickup
Commercial container with black lid

Waste & Recycling

Recurring business waste pickup.
Strip center storefronts

National Accounts

Scalable waste and recycling programs for multi-region businesses.
National Account Services
Strip center storefronts

National Accounts

Scalable waste and recycling programs for multi-region businesses.

More Services

WM compost and recycle bins for venue

Sustainability Services

WM can help your organization create a comprehensive sustainability program.
Sustainability Services
WM compost and recycle bins for venue

Sustainability Services

WM can help your organization create a comprehensive sustainability program.
Old batteries

Electronics Recycling

Electronic waste disposal that's safe for your organization and the environment.
Electronics Recycling Services
Old batteries

Electronics Recycling

Electronic waste disposal that's safe for your organization and the environment.
WM LampTracker® mail-in box

LampTracker® Recycling by Mail

Mail recycling for bulbs, batteries, electronics, medical waste and more.
LampTracker® Recycling by Mail
WM LampTracker® mail-in box

LampTracker® Recycling by Mail

Mail recycling for bulbs, batteries, electronics, medical waste and more.