What Can You Recycle and How Do You Recycle It? 

Reduce, reuse, recycle. We all know the saying very well, but do you know what can and can’t be put into your blue recycling bin? It may seem easy to throw any old product into the bin for pickup, but what's accepted varies depending on your location. 

For this article, we'll go over the most recycled products, what shouldn't be going into your recycle bin, and how you can properly recycle for your greenest earth month yet


Recycling 101: What Can Be Recycled 

Let's get into the most common recycling products that can go into your own blue bin. These items, along with the unacceptable items, can vary from location to location. We recommend visiting your city's official curbside recycling program site for a complete list of what is and isn't accepted in your recycling bin. 

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Paper Products

One of the most common recyclable items is paper. Paper products that are recyclable can vary depending on your location guidelines, but the most common include: 

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Stationary
  • Shredded paper
  • Paper shopping bags
  • Mail
  • Old documents (shred before recycling if these have personal information!)
  • Wrapping paper that is glitter-free

For best recycling practices, make sure to skip any plastic garbage bags and throw your paper and other items directly into your blue bin. This will make for a more efficient recycling process once your items reach your county's recycling center. 

Aluminum and Foil

Aluminum and foil can be recycled in your blue bin. This includes soda cans, aluminum cans such as shelf food, aluminum foil trays and more. It's important to make sure that any aluminum or foil products are free of any existing liquids or foods before you place them into your recycling bin. 

Cardboard Boxes

Between online shopping, moving, and other storage instances, cardboard boxes can add up inside the home. Other common items include cereal boxes, shoe boxes, egg cartons and other recyclable containers. Break down any carboard box you may have before placing it into your bin to help save space for other recyclables. 

Glass Products

Glass items are another recycling category that may have certain restrictions within your local waste management. Glass bottles and jars can be placed within your blue bin. You'll want to check with your county on any other type of glass container or products before placing them curbside. If they cannot be recycled curbside, you may be able to bring them in to a local recycling center instead.

Plastic Products

Plastic waste is a fast-growing pollutant in our natural environment, and proper recycling can help lower the amount that enters our landfills and oceans. Common recyclable plastics include plastic bottles, milk jugs, containers, trays, toys and more. 

Organic Waste

If your county provides a green bin, you're able to recycle organic waste curbside! The green bin is home for organic waste including but not limited to:

  • Food scraps
  • Plant trimmings
  • Yard waste
  • Food-soiled paper (napkins, paper towels, coffee filters, etc.)


Those old electronics rattling around your drawer need to be recycled, not trashed. E-waste pollution has been steadily climbing year after year, and it's up to all of us to help limit it as much as possible. For any old phones or tablets, you can visit an ecoATM to properly recycle your devices. For any other larger tech items such as computers and TVs, you can check with your local recycling center for electronic recycling options. 


While clothing isn't usually permitted in your recycling bin, you can still absolutely recycle old clothes and other textiles through your local recycling center. There are even companies that will accept your clothing to create them into something new! 

What Cannot Be Recycled

There are a few misconceptions around things that may seem easily recyclable. 

Plastic Bags, Wraps and Films

While it's simple enough to toss your plastic bags and films into the blue bin, this causes issues when it comes time for sorting and recycling. These materials can get stuck in the machinery at your local recycling center and prolong the recycling process. We recommend contacting your local grocery store to see if they accept plastic bags for recycling. 


While some Styrofoam is recyclable, there is special equipment needed for proper recycling in most counties. You can contact your local waste management and ask if Styrofoam is allowed to be placed curbside. 

Hygiene Products

Hygiene products such as feminine products, diapers and other used hygiene products are not recyclable. 

Where Do Different Products Go for Recycling? 

Now that we've covered what can and cannot be recycled, let's discuss the proper disposal methods with available bins and services. 

What Goes in Your Blue Bin

The blue bin is typically reserved for materials such as:

  • Paper goods such as food and beverage cartons
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic jugs and containers
  • Aluminum cans

Each county and state have their own specific lists for what can be placed within the blue bin. 

What Goes in Your Green Bin 

The green bin, if available to you, can store all your organic waste. Most curbside recycling programs offer a green bin, so we recommend checking with your local waste management if this option is available to you. It's important to note that items such as pet waste, actual soil, invasive plants, or weeds do not go inside the green bin. 

What Goes in Your Local ecoATM 

As for those old phones and tablets you have at home, there's a simple and rewarding option that could be in your very own neighborhood. ecoATM is a self-automated kiosk that can recycling your old devices for you. It takes just under 10 minutes, and you can also earn instant cash for your devices. 

Recycle this earth month with ecoATM 

Go green this April by bringing in your old phones to your local ecoATM kiosk! 

Recycle Responsibly with ecoATM Today

If you're ready to recycle this Earth Month and beyond, we're ready to help! With over 5,000 locations nation-wide, it's never been easier or more rewarding to keep your old devices from turning into harmful electronic waste. You'll be doing right by your wallet and the planet by opting to find a new home for your old devices. 

Start online by pricing your device today and locating a kiosk near you. Happy recycling! 

Frequently Asked Recycling Questions