Do your part to help our Earth and learn how to properly recycle.
Since the BP oil spill in April 2010, America's environmental impact on the world has been on the chopping block. While you can't directly extract oil from the Gulf of Mexico, you can do your part to limit your carbon footprint by recycling. And if you're going to help, wouldn't you rather do it right and not counter-act your efforts?
Most Americans aren't recycling correctly and it's costing them time and more taxes to not learn how.
A few years ago, the City of Austin established a one-bin recycle system which keeps all recycable material together versus sorting it into separate glass-only or plastic-only bins. The new system has made it easier for Austinites, freeing them of having to maintain separate bins, but harder for trash collectors since it is now harder for them to find mistakes. To offset trash collectors' time and money, city officials decided to throw away recycled material that isn't sorted properly. So now when a trash collector sees misplaced trash in recycling bins, it's never sorted through and salvaged. Instead, to save them time and taxpayer money, it's thrown out with the trash and all your efforts have been thrown out with it.
Learn how to recycle to keep our world cleaner and greener.
Each city has its own list of what to recycle and what to throw away. To help out everyoneâ€“specifically trash collectors and taxpayersâ€“here's a list to keep track of what goes in your blue streamlined recycle bin and what you should keep out of it.
What to recycle in Austin
- Plastics with recycling numbers #1 - #7 (imprinted on the bottom or side of an item)
Note: YouÂ cannotÂ recycle plastic bottles that contained any of the following: motor oil, pesticides, herbicides, adhesives, paints or solvents.
- Plastic bags can be recycled at the fronts of grocery stores like HEB, Central Market, Randalls, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart
- Dry cleaning bags
- Styrofoam peanutsÂ can be taken to UPS, FedEx or any other shipping stores
- Water, soda and juice bottles
- Milk jugs
- Shampoo, conditioner & liquid soap bottles
- Detergent bottles
- Bleach and all-purpose cleaner bottles
- Margarine tubs, yogurt containers
- Empty medicine bottles
- Clean frozen food trays
- Plastic lids from bottles
- Plastic takeout containers
- Plastic produce containers
- Plastic disposable plates, cups and utensils (check for recycling number on bottom)
- Rinsed glass bottles and jars (with labels and lidsâ€”okay)
- Aluminum cans (soda cans, etc.)
- Aluminum foil
- Tin & steel cans (soup cans, tuna cans, etc.)
- Empty aerosol cans
- Metal lids from glass jars
- Coat hangers will be accepted by most dry cleaners
Any boxboard with food residue on it cannot be recycled and should be placed in your garbage cart.
- Holiday and greeting cards
- Home office paper
Stickies, manila envelopes, file folders, paper ream wrappers
- Junk mail and envelopes
Not product samples
Envelope labels and windows are okay
- Newspapers and inserts
- Paper bags (not gift bags)
- Phone books
- Recyclable paper
- Shredded paper
Paper must meet the recycling guidelines before it was shredded.Â
Please use paper bags to hold shredded paper and place it in your Single Stream Recycling cart.
Do not place shredded paper in plastic bags.
- Wrapping Paper (but not ribbons and bows)
- Anything That Tears
What isÂ notÂ recyclable in Austin
- Styrofoam peanuts
- Toys, but they can be taken to donation stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army
- Motor oil bottles
- Broken glassÂ (note: when throwing away broken glass, make sure it is properly packaged and labeled before being put in garbage.)
- Light bulbs
- Window panes
- Dishes and cups
- Ornaments and decorations
- Helium containers
- Paint and solvent containers
- Scrap metal (nails, screws, gutters, etc.)
- Milk and juice cartons
- Pizza boxes
- Wet, soiled or food-stained paper of any kind (paper towels, toilet tissue, facial tissure, paper plates and cups)
For more resources on what you can and cannot recycle in Austin, check theÂ City of Austin's website directory for recyclable items.