Top 5 Recyclable Items

You’ll see that in most articles I write, I encourage you to go to your local city/town’s recycling page to see what you can and cannot put in the recycling bin. I do this because some cities have more sophisticated processes and more sophisticated equipment than others.

Soda Can Tops - Top 5 Recyclable Items

But, I also wanted to give you a quick cheat sheet that will help you to remember what you can definitely recycle. Chances are, no matter where you live, these are the 5 items your municipality wants you to put in the bin:

  • Plastic containers: PET bottles or containers stamped with the number 1or HDPE plastics stamped with a number 2 (these should be clean, labels on or off)
  • Glass: jars and bottles (rinse these, please)
  • Metal: Cans—aluminum, tin, steel—or foil and pie tins (rinsed)
  • Cartons: milk, juice, and aseptic containers (check to see if your city requires caps on or caps off)
  • Paper: flattened cardboard, office paper, file folders, magazines, catalogs, newspapers, junk mail, telephone books.

And remember, almost anything you put in the recycling should be as clean as you can get it. No food, no liquids, no schmutz. Just clean materials.

Anything to add to this? Let me know in the comments!

The Top 5 Recyclable Items


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!