Recycle Better

Can you recycle better? Please share these tips with your friends and family! #RecycleBetter

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Welcome to Casella’s Recycle Better™ site. Here you’ll find great videos, posters, and more to show you what does and does not belong in your recycling. Together, we can keep recycling strong and sustainable, and it all begins at your bin!

What belongs in your recycling bin?

The items below are recyclable and can be effectively sorted in our material recovery facilities. If you see it on this list, you can confidently toss it into your recycling bin!

cardboard
Cardboard

For example: Shipping boxes, cereal boxes, egg cartons, paper towel and toilet paper rolls

Recycle Better tips: Flatten the boxes to save room in your bin. Make sure everything is clean and dry. No waxy coatings, please!

paper
Paper

For example: Office paper, newspaper, paper bags, magazines, junk mail

Recycle Better tips: Everything should be clean and dry. Staples and envelope windows are OK. No books please! (Try donating them instead).

plastic
Plastic Bottles, Jugs, Tubs, & Lids

For example: Plastic drink bottles, milk jugs, yogurt cups, tubs and lids, shampoo bottles, etc.

Recycle Better tips: Make sure everything is clean and dry. To save room in your bin, squish the bottles. Put the caps back on so they won’t slip through the cracks in our equipment. No bags or other plastics please! (Bags can often be returned to your grocery store).

metal cans
Metal Cans

For example: Soda and beer cans, soup and vegetable cans, foil

Recycle Better tips: All must be empty, clean, and dry. Ball up your clean foil. No miscellaneous scrap metal items please! (Take those to a scrap yard)

glass
Glass Bottles & Jars

For example: Beer bottles, other beverage bottles, pickle jars

Recycle Better tips: All containers must be empty, clean, and dry. No pyrex, ceramics, or window glass please! (Broken items belong in the trash; donate unbroken items).

What does not belong in your recycling bin?

The following items are not recyclable in our facilities. Even worse, their presence can seriously disrupt the recycling process. Please take a look to make sure your bin does not contain these items. And tell your friends!

plastic bags
Plastic Bags Don't Belong

WHY NOT: They wrap around the sorting equipment.

INSTEAD: Recycle your bags at a participating grocery or retail store.

Plastic bags don’t belong in your recycling bin, but you can recycle them at participating grocery and retail stores. You will notice that many stores have a bag collection bin in their entry area. Click here for an online directory. Another great option is to get into the habit of bringing reusable bags when you shop.

bagged recycling
Bagged Recyclables Don't Belong

WHY NOT: They look too much like trash at the recycling plant.

INSTEAD: Keep it loose! Don’t bag up your recyclables.

If you collect your recyclables in a plastic bag, please simply dump the recyclables out into your bin. You can then place the plastic bag in your trash or – better yet – take the (clean and dry) bag to a retail or grocery store with a bag collection program. Another option is to collect your recyclables in a reusable bin or box that you periodically empty out into your curbside recycling bin.

clothing
Clothes/Textiles Don't Belong

WHY NOT: They wrap around the sorting equipment.

INSTEAD: Donate them through a local clothing drive, drop box, or reuse store.

By donating your clothes, you reduce waste while also helping people in need. These national organizations that accept donations: GoodwillSalvation ArmyVietnam Veterans of AmericaPlanet Aid, and Career Gear. More locally, you can donate to local churches, homeless shelters, thrift stores, and clothing drives. Animal shelters will often appreciate old towels, blankets, and rags.

Tanglers Don't Belong
Tanglers Don't Belong

WHY NOT?: They wrap around the sorting equipment.

INSTEAD: Place your unwanted cords, ropes, hoses, and other tanglers in the trash.

Cords, ropes, and hoses are not recyclable, but they can often be creatively reused. Cut hoses and ropes into shorter lengths and put them in a box in your garage or shop. You may be surprised by all the creative uses you come up with for them. Want ideas? Google Reuse ideas for garden hoses.

VHS tapes are another surprisingly common tangler at our recycling plants. VHS tapes do not belong in your recycling bin!

scrap metal items
Scrap Metal Items Don't Belong

WHY NOT: They damage the sorting equipment.

INSTEAD: Look up your local scrap metal recycler.

Scrap metal does not belong in your recycling bin, but local scrap metal recyclers will often accept both ferrous and non-ferrous metals and they might even pay you for them. Search online for scrap metal recyclers near you. If you’re unsure, consider calling ahead to make sure they will accept your item.

batteries
Batteries Don't Belong

WHY NOT: They can cause fires, endanger workers, and harm the environment. 

INSTEAD: Find your best disposal option at earth911.com

Batteries don’t belong in your recycling bin because they contain materials that are toxic if not properly dealt with. To find the best disposal option for you, visit earth911.com. If you find yourself going through disposable batteries often, however, it might save you money to switch over to rechargeable ones.

Small Items Don't Belong
Small Items Don't Belong

WHY NOT: Anything under 2” x 2” will fall through the sorting equipment.

INSTEAD: Bring your own reusable cutlery and straws! Place the disposable ones and other small items in the trash.

A great way to keep small objects like plastic utensils and straws out of the recycling stream is to not use them at all! Try searching online for “travel cutlery” and “reusable straws”. They’ll often come with a convenient carrying case or cleaning kit. Consider changing the way you order: Could favorite take-out place skip the plastic forks and sauce packets? Could your server bring your drink without a straw?

food waste
Food Waste/Liquids Don't Belong

WHY NOT: They reduce the recyclability of other items.

INSTEAD: Look up local food waste programs or place in your trash.

Depending on where you live, you may have access to a drop-off facility that accepts food waste or a curbside collection service. Many households use backyard composting for a portion of their food waste. Check with your local county extension office or solid waste district to see if your community provides discounts on backyard composting bins. In addition to reducing your waste, you’ll produce great compost for your garden!

electronics
Electronics Don't Belong

WHY NOT: They get broken during sorting. Batteries and chemicals are unsafe for our workers.

INSTEAD: Look up your local electronic waste recycler or retail take-back programs.

Electronics don’t belong in your recycling bin, but they don’t have to be trashed. Look online for recycling and donation options for your used electronics. Reputable vendors will ensure that your data is fully destroyed to protect your security. Look for vendors who are certified by R2 Solutions or e-Stewards.

GENERAL RECYCLING TIPS

1. Empty and clean

Recyclables must be empty and clean, so… Take that last sip! Enjoy that last bite!

2. Keep it loose

Remember to Keep it loose! Bags are a drag! Bagged recyclables cannot be sorted, so if you collect your recyclables in a bag, be sure to dump them out when you get to your cart.

3. Shape matters

When recycling, remember shape matters! Small and narrow items slip through the cracks in our sorting equipment and cannot be recovered. They should go in the trash. Caps are OK if you twist them back onto the container.

4. When in doubt, throw it out!

Americans toss far too many non-recyclable items in their recycling bins. These sorting mistakes add up and hurt recycling programs. We all need to understand what’s acceptable in our local recycling program and remember: When in doubt, throw it out.

5. Don't forget to reduce and reuse!

Recycling is great but waste reduction and reuse can be even better. Don’t forget to reduce and reuse whenever you can.

bin comparison

Videos

Take a virtual tour of a recycling plant! Learn about recycling markets. See what does and doesn’t belong in your recycling bin. We hope these videos will help you become the smartest recycler on the block.

General Videos

Zero-Sort® Recycling Facility Tour
Have you ever wondered what happens to your recyclables after they get hauled away? Can that jumble of mixed recyclables really be sorted back out again? How do they do it? Answer these questions and more with this virtual tour of a Casella recycling facility!
Recycle Better™
Recycling has been in the news lately. Watch this video for a knowledgeable perspective on recycling market changes and the issue of contamination. The key takeaway: Knowing what doesn’t belong in your recycling bin is just as important as knowing what does. Learn how you can do your part to Recycle Better… and tell your friends!
5 Tips to Recycle Better
Here are 5 general recycling tips to recycle better

What belongs in your recycling bin?

Glass Bottles & Jars
Glass items like beer bottles, other beverage bottles, and pickle jars can go into your recycling bin.

Recycle Better tips: All containers must be empty, clean, and dry. No pyrex, ceramics, or window glass please! (Broken items belong in the trash; donate unbroken items)
Metal Cans
Metal items like soda and beer cans, soup and vegetable cans, and foil can go into your recycling bin.

Recycle Better tips: All must be empty, clean, and dry. Ball up your clean foil. No miscellaneous scrap metal items please! (Take those to a scrap yard.)
Paper
Paper items like multi-colored office paper, newspaper, paper bags, magazines, and junk mail can go into your recycling bin.

Recycle Better tips: Everything should be clean and dry. Staples and envelope windows are OK. No books please! (Try donating them instead.)
Plastic Bottles, Jugs, Tubs, & Lids
Plastic items like drink bottles, milk jugs, yogurt cups, tubs and lids, shampoo bottles, etc. can go into your recycling bin.

Recycle Better tips: Make sure everything is clean and dry. To save room in your bin, squish the bottles. Put the caps back on so they won’t slip through the cracks in our equipment. No bags or other plastics please! (Bags can often be returned to your grocery store.)

What does not belong in your recycling bin?

Plastic Bags
Plastic Bags Don't Belong in Your Recycling Bin
Food/Liquid
Tanglers Don't Belong in Your Recycling Bin
Wood Waste
Wood and similar materials Don't Belong in Your Recycling Bin
Clothing/Textiles
Scrap Metal Items Don't Belong in Your Recycling Bin
Small and Single-Use Items
Small and Single-Use Items Don't Belong
Electronics
Bagged Recyclables Don't Belong in Your Recycling Bin
Batteries
Batteries Don't Belong in Your Recycling Bin

Recycle Better Posters

Zero-Sort Recycling Poster - Single

An 8.5" x 11" Zero-Sort recycling poster to hang at your bin. 

Zero-Sort Recycling Poster - Single (Spanish)

An 8.5" x 11" Zero-Sort recycling poster (Spanish) to hang at your bin.

Trash Poster - Single

An 8.5" x 11" trash poster to hang at your bin. 

Trash Poster - Single (Spanish)

An 8.5" x 11" trash poster (Spanish) to hang at your bin. 

Food Scraps Poster - Single

An 8.5" x 11" food scraps poster to hang at your bin. 

Food Scraps Poster - Single (Spanish)

An 8.5" x 11" food scraps poster (Spanish) to hang at your bin. 

Zero-Sort Recycling Poster - Acceptable and Not Accepted Items

An 8.5" x 11" recycling poster featuring acceptable and unacceptable items to hang at your bin. 

Zero-Sort Recycling Poster - Acceptable and Not Accepted Items (Spanish)

An 8.5" x 11" recycling poster (Spanish) featuring acceptable and unacceptable items to hang at your bin. 

Not Accepted in Recycling Poster

An 8.5" x 11" poster featuring unacceptable items to hang at your bin. 

Not Accepted in Recycling Poster (Spanish)

An 8.5" x 11" poster (Spanish) featuring unacceptable items to hang at your bin. 

No PPE in Recycling Poster

A 6" x 6" poster featuring unacceptable PPE items to hang at your bin. 

Toolkits

This is my description

Bailed aluminum cans
Bottle Bills are a Drag on Recycling
May 14, 2020
Recycling

If you live in a bottle bill state and you have curbside recycling service, did you know you are paying twice for recycling?

Casella truck
Happy Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day. We hope you will plant a garden, pick up litter, support local farms, compost your food scraps, Recycle Better™, and go for a nice long hike.

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Six Tips For Sidekicks

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MRF
Truly Sustainable Recycling

In the wake of declining commodity values, there have been a lot of rumors flying around about recycling.

Considering package design for product purchase
Zero Waste Does Not Mean Zero Landfill

A simplistic zero landfill strategy will not lead to zero waste.

bottle bill
An Expanded Bottle Bill

An Expanded Bottle Bill: Another Threat to Recycling

Battery
Batteries Can Cause Deadly Fires

Lithium-ion batteries are everywhere. You’ll find them all around your house: in cell phones, laptops, power tools, and...

Recycling Tangled in Equipment
Building A Sustainable Approach to Recycling
January 9, 2019
Recycling

There is a crisis in recycling. It affects not just the recycling industry, but local governments, policymakers, manufacturers, and citizens – all of whom have a role to play in addressing these challenges, and sustaining the environmental...