How Do I Recycle?: Common Recyclables | US EPA

Paper giving envelop much is not reclaimable when it has a bright or laminated coating. If you use giving wrap, purchase a type that can be recycled or is made from recycle content. EPA encourages consumers to reuse give bags, boxes, and weave newspaper. Newspaper is an excellent alternate to gift wind .


More than 35 million tons of plastics were generated in the United States in 2018 and only 8.7 percentage was recycled. Some types of plastics are not accepted in residential district recycling programs. Check with your local anesthetic recycling program to find out which types of formative they accept. When possible, buy products made from recycle plastic materials .
Below are frequent questions on fictile products. While general answers are provided, your local plan may have unlike rules. Make indisputable to check with your local recycling supplier to learn if they accept these items .

Can I recycle plastic bags, wraps and films?

These items are reclaimable, but they can not go in your family bin. Retail and grocery stores frequently accept these materials for recycling. If necessary, be certain to cut off the sealable zippers from sandwich bags before recycling them. Visit the Plastic Film Recycling web site or Earth911 to find a placement near you that recycles plastic bags and fictile wrap/film.

Can plastic bottles and caps be recycled?

Yes, typically the caps and labels can be left on the bottles deoxyadenosine monophosphate well .

Can polystyrene foam (styrofoam) be recycled?

very few localities accept styrofoam in curbside recycle. Check Earth911 to learn where you can drop off your styrofoam for it to be recycled .

Can plastic containers, cups and utensils be recycled?

It depends on what types of credit card the containers and cups are made of and whether your local program accepts them. Items with food debris can not be recycled. Plastic utensils besides can not be recycled .

Can I recycle compostable or bio-based plastics?

Compostable plastic : No. Compostable plastics are not intended for recycling and can contaminate and disrupt the recycling stream if desegregate with non-compostable plastics. If your community does not have a composting recycling pick-up program that accepts compostable credit card, contact your garbage/recycling company or local government to find out if there are any slump locations for your compostable fictile items .
Biobased Plastics : To determine what waste disposal options are available for a biobased credit card detail, it is necessary to read the product ’ s pronounce as to its compostability and recyclability .
Learn more by reading the Frequently Asked Questions about Plastic Recycling and Composting .

What do the symbols mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers?

These symbols were created to identify the type of plastic used to make the container. This can help you determine whether the detail is reclaimable by your local program. The resin number is contained in a triangle that looks very similar to the recycling symbol. however, this symbol does not necessarily mean it can be collected for recycling in your community .

This is a table of resin codes from ASTM International. The table has three columns, one for Resins, for Resin Indentification Code-Option A, and for Resin Indentification Code-Option B. The rows list the names of seven different types of resins.
Photo courtesy of ASTM International.


Glass, specially glass food and beverage containers, can be recycled over and over again. In the United States in 2018, 12.3 million tons of glass were generated, 31.3 percentage of which was recycled. Making raw glass from recycle glass is typically cheaper than using raw materials .
Below are frequent questions on looking glass products. While general answers are provided, your local program may have different rules. Check with your local anesthetic recycling program to find out if they accept these items .

Can I recycle different glass colors/types together?

Most curbside recycling programs accept different glass colors and types mixed together and then sort the glass at the recovery facility .

Can I recycle broken glass?

No, broken field glass should not go into the recycling bank identification number. Glass shards can harm workers and wrong equipment .

Can I leave my metal bottle cap on my glass bottle when I recycle?

No, metallic bottle caps should be recycled individually from the looking glass bottles .


In 2018, 3.9 million tons of aluminum municipal solid lay waste to was generated. The entire recycling rate for aluminum items was 34.9 percentage. Both aluminum cans and foil can be recycled .
Below are frequent questions on aluminum products. While general answers are provided, your local broadcast may have different rules. Check with your local recycling broadcast to find out if they accept these items .

Should aluminum cans be crushed before recycling them?

No, by and large, aluminum cans should not be crushed before they are recycled. For areas with single-stream recycle, crushed cans are harder to detect when being sorted at recycling facilities. If you live in an area with multi-stream recycle, crushing cans is not an write out .

Can I recycle aluminum foil?

Yes, aluminum foil can be recycled. Make surely to remove any food residue before recycling .


Lead-acid batteries are one of the most recycle products. In 2018, 2.9 million were recycled, representing 99 percentage of generation. Recycling rates of early battery types are not deoxyadenosine monophosphate well tracked. Although batteries are reclaimable, most batteries, including lithium-ion, lithium metallic element, lead-acid, nickel cadmium, and other rechargeable batteries, should NOT go in family garbage or recycle bins. These batteries require particular wield and should be taken to specialty cliff locations or family hazardous neutralize collection points. Check out our resources on how to manage and recycle your used family batteries and your use lithium-ion batteries.

  • Dry-Cell Batteries are used in a variety of electronics and include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, some cylindrical and rectangular), and silver-oxide and zinc-air (button). Look for in-store recycling bins or community collection events to dispose of these batteries.
  • Lithium-ion Batteries are used in many rechargeable products such as electronics, toys, wireless headphones, handheld power tools, small and large appliances, electric vehicles, and electrical energy storage systems. Do NOT put them in the trash or municipal recycling bins. Household lithium-ion batteries can be brought to dedicated in-store recycling bins or household hazardous waste collection events for disposal. Medium- and large-scale electric vehicle or energy storage batteries should be returned to the manufacturer, automobile dealer, or installation company for management at end of life.
  • Lithium Metal Batteries are similar to lithium-ion batteries but are not rechargeable. They are commonly used in products such as cameras, watches, remote controls, handheld games, and smoke detectors. Do NOT put them in the trash or municipal recycling bins: look for dedicated in-store recycling bins or household hazardous waste collection events for disposal.
  • Lead-Acid Batteries can be found in automobiles, boats, snowmobiles, motorcycles, golf carts, wheelchairs, and other large transportation vehicles. Return lead-acid batteries to a battery retailer or local household hazardous waste collection program; do NOT put lead-acid batteries in the trash or municipal recycling bins.
  • Other Rechargeable Batteries include nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, and nickel-zinc batteries. These batteries can be found in cordless power tools, cordless phones, cell phones, digital cameras, and small electronics. Do not put these rechargeable batteries in the trash or municipal recycling bins: look for dedicated in-store recycling bins or household hazardous waste collection events for disposal.


EPA estimates that 2.7 million tons of consumer electronics were generated in 2018. About 38.5 percentage of these electronics were recycled. Electronics can not be recycled curbside, but they can be dropped off at specific collection sites. Manufacturers and retailers offer several options to donate or recycle electronics, including cell phones, computers, and televisions. EPA has a list of manufacturers and retailers that offer options to recycle electronics. Before recycling electronics, delete all your personal information. Check with your local recycle facility for best ways to recycle electronics, and visit our Electronics Donation and Recycling page for more information .


EPA estimates that 63.1 million tons of food waste was generated in the commercial, institutional, and residential sectors in 2018. food can not be recycled. however, throwing food into the pan is not the best management choice. food that ends up in landfills leads to methane emissions which contribute to climate change. EPA recommends reducing food waste by buying only what you need and by eating your leftovers. Composting is an environmentally-friendly method acting of food waste administration. In 2018, about 4.1 percentage of food pine away was composted .
Learn more on how to reduce food waste and how to compost at home .

Lawn Materials

In 2018, about 35.4 million tons of yard trimmings were generated. Lawn materials can not be recycled, but they can be composted. If you are unable to compost, check with your local anesthetic community to learn if there is a yard trimming solicitation military service near you .

Used Oil

never dump your secondhand motive oil down the drain — the used oil from one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water. By recycling your use oil, you help keep our water add uninfected. additionally, it takes only one gallon of used vegetable oil to produce 2.5 quarts of newfangled motor oil compared to 42 gallons of crude oil. many garages and auto-supply stores that sell motor oil besides accept oil for recycling. Check out our resources on learning to manage, reuse or recycle your use petroleum. You can besides find a motor oil recycler near you by visiting Earth911 .

Household Hazardous Waste

Household Hazardous Waste Recycling
Learn more about family hazardous waste recycle .
Leftover family products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive are considered family hazardous waste ( HHW ). Although it depends on your local upstanding waste agency/recycling adeptness, some examples include pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, paints, solvents, anoint filters, lighter bulbs, batteries, unemptied aerosol cans, ammunition, ammonia, antifreeze, and pinpoint polish. These products require special caution when you dispose of them. HHW may be dangerous to people and badly for the environment if they are poured down the drain, dumped on the establish, or thrown out with regular rubbish .
What you can do :

  • Try to reduce your purchases of these products, and look for alternative, non-hazardous products.
  • When you need to dispose of these products, look for special collection events in your community or permanent collection centers. Sometimes businesses that sell these products will also accept them for recycling.
  • If you have to dispose of HHW, first check with your local waste management agency to learn what rules apply in your community.

Please visit our Household Hazardous Waste network page for more data on family hazardous waste and tips for how to reduce it in your home .

What should I do with paint? 

Check local places that take donations ( schools, places of faith, charities, non-profits ) to learn if they will accept paint donations, and contact your local anesthetic recycling or family hazardous consume adeptness for ways you can recycle key in your area .

What should I do with barometers and thermometers?

Avoid discarding them in the rubbish. Check with your local recycle or family hazardous waste facility, or visit Earth911 for more information on ways to by rights dispose of them, as some thermometers are considered family hazardous waste .

 What should I do with burnt-out light bulbs?

Check with your local recycle facility for recycling options for burned-out light bulb, or take them to a retail memory in your sphere that offers light bulb recycle .


Most garages are required to accept and recycle your secondhand tires when you have newly ones put on. You may be able to return used tires to either a tire retailer or a local recycling facility that accepts tires. Some communities will hold solicitation events for used tires. Tires should not be abandoned. Disease-carrying pests such as rodents will make tire piles their homes. Tire piles can besides catch on displace .


In 2018, 19.2 million tons of ferric metals ( iron and sword ) were generated. EPA estimates that the recycling rate of ferric metals from durable goods was 27.8 percentage. The same class, 2.5 million tons of nonferrous metals ( not containing iron ) were generated. The recycling rate for nonferrous metals was approximately 68 percentage .

How do I recycle metal? 

There are different programs and options for alloy recycling depending on your vicinity. Check to find out what is available in your area.


What should I do with dirty diapers?

While we provide general guidance below, please check with your local solid waste agency or recycling platform first .
broadly, you should flush the body waste down the gutter, and then place the diaper in the rubbish. Consider using reclaimable fabric diapers alternatively of disposable diapers .

What should I do with old clothes and old shoes?

gently wear clothes and shoes can be donated to many charities. For damage clothes and shoes, please double-check with your local anesthetic charity to determine if it will accept them. Some retail stores recycle dress or shoes. Check your local anesthetic ones to find out if they accept these items for recycling .

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