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What Can and Can't Be Recycled
Blue Bin Recycling
- Paper bags
- Glass jars & bottles (remove and discard caps)
- Tin or steel cans
- Cardboard (Flatten all boxes)
- Telephone books
- Junk mail
- Envelopes with clear windows
- Magazines & catalogs
- Newspapers & inserts
- Office paper & file folders
- Aluminum cans
- Plastic bottles & containers with a spout – #1 and #2 (remove and discard caps)
- Cereal boxes
- Paper towel and toilet paper rolls
- Plastic grocery store bags
- Food waste
- Light bulbs
- Ceramics & dishes
- Motor oil containers
- Window glass & mirrors
- Clothing & fabrics
- Clothes hangers
- Rigid plastics, such as toys
- Pizza boxes, due to grease
- Paper or plastic disposable cups
- Hazardous waste containers
Recycle in clear bags at curb
TFC has no way to "capture" the shredded pieces of paper during their sorting process. The shredded paper should be bagged and placed in the brown city trash can.
Can I recycle bottle caps and lids?
Generally, TFC does not accept bottle caps and lids. The caps from acceptable bottles are too small to be sorted in the recycling process. Additionally, plastic bottles and containers -- which should be emptied of all liquid before being placed in the recycling bin -- are easier to be processed and baled without caps. Consider using bottle caps for crafts and projects around the house, or simply discard in the standard brown trash bin.
What about #1 and #2 plastics that are NOT in the shape of a bottle?
TFC can only accept #1 and #2 plastics that are in the shape of a bottle or jug. Some examples are water bottles, shampoo bottles, milk jugs, juice containers and the like. Be sure to empty all contents, and discard the caps before placing in the recycling bin.
How do I recycle electronics?
Your local Goodwill store will gladly take those old electronics off your hands, whether they work or not! They follow federal guidelines for proper disposal of anything that might have personal information on it like computers and cell phones. The City also holds quarterly Chesapeake Recycles Day events during which we partner up with Goodwill to take your electronics and dispose of them properly. Some Best Buy stores may be another option for you as well - just give them a call to find out.
Can I recycle plastic bags?
No! Plastic bags are not permitted in the recycling stream at all, since they become tangled in the sorting machinery. Do not place any bags in your recycling bin – empty all bags of approved recyclables into the bin, and either throw your bag in the trash, reuse it, or take it to a plastic bag drop-off center, usually found at grocery stores.
Can construction paper (with crayon or marker drawings on them, no craft materials or glue) be recycled?
Can cardboard milk and orange juice cartons be recycled?
Yes! You recycle food and beverage containers like those that container orange juice, almond milk and shelf table soups and broths.
Are cans with linings (usually BPA) okay? Almost all food cans these days have these liners.
Yes, these are okay.
When recycling old wire bound notebooks, can the wire also be recycled, or do we need to remove this first?
Stickers are not recyclable, as the adhesive gets caught in recycling equipment. Paper and bubble wrap can tangle in the recycling machinery, and is not recyclable.
Can stickers, packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or packing plastic be recycled?
No! These items can become tangled in recycling sorting machinery, and should be thrown in the brown bin trash.
Can I recycle glass? What types?
Only glass jars and bottles that have been rinsed out are acceptable. The combination of ingredients used to make glassware is different from what goes in into container glass for bottles and jars. If these two types of glass are recycled together, the resulting glass will not be suitable for container glass. In fact, glassware, ceramics, windowpanes or mirrors can pose a threat to equipment and especially to our employees in our recycling plant. No broken glass is ever allowed, as it is dangerous to staff sorting the materials.
Can I recycle Styrofoam?
Styrofoam is not accepted for recycling.
What about paper. Just newspaper? Boxes? Just cardboard like shipping boxes, or can boxes from food be recycled too, such as cereal boxes?
You can recycle cardboard, chipboard, newspaper, office papers, junk mail and packing paper... even your old phone books! Cereal boxes are fine, as long as there is no food residue on the box and they have been folded. Shredded paper is only permitted in a paper bag stapled closed and marked “shredded paper” – never in a plastic bag! Paper plates, paper towels and tissues and not recyclable – place them in the trash.
What about dog and cat food cans and lids?
Aluminum or steel cans are acceptable, as long as they’re rinsed out.
Can I recycle pieces of metal?
Large pieces of metal are not accepted in recycling.
What about the glossy advertisement inserts in the newspapers?
Glossy paper inserts are recyclable!
What about plastic caps that are on milk containers?
Plastic caps from milk containers – and other approved plastic bottles -- should be taken off the bottle and thrown in the trash.
What about aerosol cans? They say to recycle them on the can, but can they go in the recycle bin?
Aerosol cans are not recyclable, and should not even be placed in the trash. These cans can explode when being processed, and can contain hazardous chemicals. Please dispose of these at a SPSA Household Hazardous Waste event or drop-off.
Do I have to rinse my canned goods or jars?
Yes, but you don’t have to thoroughly wash them. A simple rinse to remove contents will suffice.
Can I recycle laundry detergent bottles?
Most laundry detergent bottles are #2, which means they are recyclable! Be sure to empty the contents before recycling.
Can I recycle colored glass bottles, like brown or green glass?
Yes! These containers are recyclable. Be sure to empty them out first!
Is it true that if too many items are in the blue bin that should not be in there, then the whole truckload will be sent to the landfill?
Contamination is one of the biggest obstacles to effective recycling. Items incorrectly placed in the blue recycling bin can contaminate the otherwise good recyclables, such as food waste contamination from a pizza box getting into other clean cardboard. TFC Recycling works to remove these contaminated items from the stream of recyclables collected at their processing center, and based on the amount of contamination in a truckload, it is possible that an entire truckload of recyclables may be diverted to a landfill.
Can I recycle sour cream, margarine or frosting containers?
These are not recyclable due to food waste contamination. Place in the brown bin!
Is clean aluminum foil recyclable?
Only clean aluminum foil (e.g., foil not used to store or cover food, paints, or crafts) is accepted in the blue bin. Aluminum foil with any contamination on it should be thrown in the brown trash bin.
Are ice cream containers recyclable?
Ice cream containers are not recyclable, and should be re-purposed or thrown in the brown trash bin.
Stay tuned for more frequently asked questions to come!