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What Can and Can't Be Recycled
Big Blue Bin Recycling
- Paper bags
- Glass jars & bottles
- 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
- Cereal boxes
- Paper towel and toilet paper rolls
- Food & Beverage Containers (orange juice containers, shelf stable soup/almond milk containers)
Check out our recycling infographic:
Trash vs Recycling
*As of 2017, the almond milk carton shown in this video actually IS recyclable!
Know what you can't recycle.
Plastic bags do NOT go in the big blue bin!
Can you recycle cardboard?
You bet! Hear it from Jerry.
What about yard waste?
Nope. That doesn't go in your big blue bin.
- Food waste
- Light bulbs
- Ceramics & dishes
- Plastic grocery bags
- 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.
Each bin has a sticker attached to the lid listing items that are acceptable to recycle.
For more frequently asked questions and recycling information, visit the Public Works Blog and click on the "Recycling" category.
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?
Plastic bags cannot go in the Big Blue Bin – they get caught up in the machinery at TFC Recycling and can create quite a mess. But please do recycle your bags at your local grocery store. Most stores have a bin near the entrance where you can dispose of your plastic bags (not only grocery bags but things like bread and apple bags as well!).
*Also, recycling should NOT be bagged in any kind of plastic bag when placed in the Big Blue Bin. Garbage bags are included in the "No Plastic Bags" rule. TIP: Paper grocery bags are great for bagging recycling!
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?
The wire should be removed first.
Can the old-school metal bottle caps be recycled, once they are removed from the glass bottles? (The kind you need a bottle opener for.) How about metal caps that come on glass pasta jars?
Yep, we'll take them!