Recycling 101: Let’s get started with recycling basics.

Watch Video


and how to avoid their traps.

MYTH #1: Recycling is hard.
No, it isn’t! Recycling is as easy as throwing something in the trash. Arm yourself with the list of what is accepted in your program and pair your trash cans with recycling containers. Place them side by side for success!

MYTH #2: Recyclables need to be washed, which wastes water.
Don’t waste water! Recyclables only need to be emptied. Rinse quickly only if soiled.

MYTH #3: OK – but what about the transportation. Doesn’t it take more energy to drive recyclables around?
Even with transportation, recycling saves energy! But there’s more – recycling also reduces the creation of greenhouse gases, generates US jobs, and saves natural resources. When shopping, look for items made with recycled content to make the biggest energy-saving impacts!

MYTH #4: Recycling is so 1990.
You might be surprised to find that only half of Americans can recycle at home as easily as they can throw something away. The Recycling Partnership is working hard to make recycling a reality for all.

MYTH #5: Pizza boxes are not recyclable.
Pizza boxes are recyclable, crusts and grease stains are not! Make sure to remove crusts and scrape cheese off the inside of the box before recycling. If the box is greasy, chances are that it can’t be recycled.


MYTH #6: If something has the recycling arrows on it, it’s recyclable, right?
No — not always. Those little arrows refer to the type of plastic the items were made from, not how recyclable they are. But most communities can recycle plastic bottles and containers. You just need to check with your local program. Please recycle plastic bags at your local retailer — not in your recycling bin.

MYTH #7: If you put the cap on a bottle it isn’t recyclable.
Keep that cap on! Unless your local recycling program has a different stance, the plastics recyclers out there want to recycle all they can — caps included! 

MYTH #8: Compostable items can be recycled, right?
No! Composting and recycling happen in different ways. Food waste and compostable serviceware CANNOT be recycled. Compost collection is not readily accessible to most people, but many municipalities offer support for backyard composting. 

MYTH #9: Bag your recyclables.
Leave your recycling loose and free! Unless you are instructed to by your community, never place bagged recyclables inside your cart or bins. If you collect your recyclables in a plastic bag, remove them from the bag before placing them in your bin. Return plastic bags to  retail stores only.

MYTH #10: I thought I saw the garbage truck pick up my recycling.
Maybe. Sometimes communities use the same trucks for all collection, which can be confusing to residents. Don’t worry, your recyclables are taken to a sorting facility where they are separated and baled to sell back to manufacturers.

What are the benefits of recycling?

There are a lot of reasons to recycle and it’s an easy way to make a difference every day. Recyclables hold the power to become new packages and products. Recycling happens community by community, and most communities have subtle differences in what they accept for recycling. Find out what your local recycling program accepts – at the curb, drop-off, donation, and elsewhere.

Share these images across social media


Take the pledge to recycle at It's All You.

Login or create an account.

Lost Password

Create your free account.