How to Recycle Symbol on Grass

Are you wondering how to start recycling? Believe me, I hear you. It can be daunting because every city/municipality/town has different rules about how to recycle certain items. And if you don’t even have curbside bin pickup, it’s going to take dedication (plus time and effort) to even want to learn how to start recycling. Here are some tips & things I’ve learned on my personal recycling journey.

Learn What Your City Recycles

The best place to learn how to start recycling is with a quick search on the internet. So, open your browser and type in the following: How To Recycle in (your town, State). When the results come up, look for a header that says “Official Site” or a website that has a .gov on the end of it. This example from Brookline, Massachusetts has both “Official Website” and a .gov domain.

How to Start Recycling

Take Note of Your City’s Basic Recycling Rules of Thumb

  • Does your city offer curbside recycling bins that you don’t know about?
  • How does the city want you to pack your curbside bins?
  • Which items do you have to rinse?
  • Which items are unacceptable in your curbside bins?
  • Where are the city’s main dropoff centers?
  • Can you call or hire a company to pick up your recycling for you?

Find Your Recycling Drop Off Locations

Unfortunately, there might be multiple recycling drop off locations for different items. This can make recycling annoying for some people (who needs extra errands?) but if you’re dedicated to doing your best to reduce your footprint, you gotta do what you gotta do. Here is a great recycling locator that I found online. Just put in the material you want to recycle and your zip code:

Remember that Recycling is a State of Mind.

I have gone through phases where I’ve been super lazy and have just tossed things that I’m not sure that I can recycle into the trash. That’s 90% of the reason I started this blog— so I can hold myself accountable to reduce the amount of pollution I can control.

Don’t feel like cleaning out your peanut butter jar today? Then leave it on the kitchen counter and clean it tomorrow. Don’t want to rinse your takeaway containers today? Put them in your refrigerator (even empty) and clean them for recycling when you feel motivated. Simple hacks can help cultivate good habits.

Start Recycling

The easiest way to start recycling is…starting. Place a paper bag, or a wastebasket in your kitchen that’s specifically for recycling. Use it. Still not sure how to sort it all out? Check out this video to see how I decide how to sort my recycling.

How to Start Recycling


Hi, I'm MJ, a recovering aspirational recycler who started HowToRecycle to share her journey with others. I kindly invite you to share your knowledge with me, talk about issues that are bothering you, tell me where I’m wrong (you know you want to), and help me discover new things!