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Recycle Technologies has been delivering recycling services to the community since 1993. As a recycling and shredding company based in the Midwest, we operate licensed facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Notably, Recycle Technologies stands as the sole Minority-Owned document destruction and recycling enterprise in the Midwest region.

What Items Are Not To Be Thrown Into Curbside Recycling?

July 26, 2023
When it comes to recycling, there are some common mistakes that we are prone to make. This is all about...

When it comes to recycling, there are some common mistakes that we are prone to make. This is all about knowing what we can throw in the trash and what we can recycle. We have already covered what can be recycled. Now we are going to talk about which items we should never place in our curbside recycling.

Biodegradable & CompostablePlastics

Items in this category cannot be recycled. So don’t throw them in your curbside recycling. For recyclers separating regular plastics from biodegradable is like finding a needle in a haystack. They also run a hazard of contaminating plastic waste streams. It is wise to keep them out of general trash.

Polystyrene Foam or Styrofoam

This foam is great for protecting products as they are good for transport. However, throwing this foam into your curbside recycling is just not right. Specialist recycling services can help you recycle this foam. The main reason curbside recycling is not good is that it is too fragile and breaks away during collection. It can contaminate other waste streams.

Dirty or Wet Cardboard

You can recycle clean pizza boxes but not the wet kind. It is that simple. So, there is no point in throwing them in your curbside recycling bin. These kinds of items are great for general waste bins. Only recycle it when it is clean.

Paper Towels and Tissues

Paper recycling happens about 7 times.  Recycling it every time shortens the fibers and its quality becomes shady. Just like paper towels and tissues as they cannot be recycled. The truth is no one wants to recycle used tissues. It is an unpleasant scenario. It can contaminate recycling streams.

Broken Glass

Commonly, broken glass is thrown into curbside recycling. Keep in mind that broken glass recycling is not possible. This is because glass breaks the moment pressure applies itself. This is a common sight for recyclers when they are either sorting or collecting. It is also a safety hazard for the cleaning staff.

Soft plastics

Items in this category include plastic bags, zip-top bags, bubble wrap, shrink wrap, crisp packets, and pasta packaging can cause the worst recycling contamination. They get stuck during sorting. This can cause the recycling machine to shut down for manual release. It can create unnecessary safety hazards and a potential loss of income.

Food Waste

Food has no place in curbside recycling. Recycling facilities aren’t able to process it. These are needlessly disposed of in landfills as they have zero contamination. However, they can contaminate cardboard boxes which can become a hassle for recycling facilities. The best solution for food waste is to do composting.

Curbside Recycling

Electronic Devices or E-waste

E-waste must never be thrown in curbside recycling. Specialist recyclers such as Recycle Technologies can handle all kinds of e-waste or any appliance with a cord or battery. This includes items like cell phones, computers, TVs, household appliances, and toys. Apart from that it is illegal to send e-waste into landfills in some states. Please check local laws when disposing of them, and no they are not safe to dispose of in curbside recycling bins.


Textiles and clothing cannot be recycled through your curbside recycling. They can become a serious risk during the collection and sorting stage of the recycling process. That is why in the recycling industry these are tanglers. These items can shut down the recycling machinery. Items of these types are ropes, cables, garden hoses, and soft plastics. Your only option is to sell them or donate them to charity.

Light Bulbs

Large batteries and electronics, broken or spent light bulbs cannot be thrown in curbside bins. Companies like recycling technologies and lighting resources can help you dispose of them safely. This is because they contain mercury. To properly dispose of mercury through recycling we need to be safe and secure.  Some types of LED bulbs contain lead and arsenic. With Light bulb recycling we can recover materials that can help create newer products.

Also Read: 6 Recycling Myths Busted by Recycle Technologies

Why curbside recycling is not a viable option?

Curbside recycling is for a specific purpose. To dispose of food waste and other items that are less hazardous. Remember all curbside recycling bins are handled by people. So we have to make sure that our waste doesn't injure them in any way. That is why the above items should never be disposed of in curbside recycling bins. They are a hazard to you and the people who try to dispose of them.


The main goal of this topic is to guide you is to educate you on the dangers of not properly recycling Not adhering to the writing on the wall can lead you to jail or worse fines.   These things might be a joy for you but for others, it could become a hazard. So, when disposing of trash make sure to rethink what goes where. All e-waste goes to a recycler for disposal. Trust Recycle Technologies to do the deed. As we have been doing it since 1993. Recycling is close to our hearts.

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