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Recycling Right: What Materials Are Actually Accepted

Group of Children Gathering Recyclable ItemsAs a Bloomingdale renter, you may be contemplating what you can do to live more sustainably. For a lot of individuals, sustainable living begins with recycling plastic, cardboard, or other materials. But what many don’t realize is that not all of these materials can be recycled. Just because a certain item is made of plastic, glass, metal, or cardboard does not mean that it is recyclable. And putting non-recyclable items into a recycling bin is kind of a big waste of your time as well as for the processing center. Here are some tips that may help you recycle the right way.


To understand which plastic materials are recyclable and which aren’t, experts suggest going by container shape. In general, plastic bottles, jugs, jars, and tubs can be recycled. Just be keen to rinse out and dry each container before placing it in the recycling bin.

But mind you, the list of plastic items that cannot be recycled is pretty long, so don’t let it come as a surprise to you. To cite some examples, plastic utensils and straws are not recyclable. However, plastic food containers and water bottles typically are. Other items that cannot be recycled include Styrofoam, plastic shower curtains, syringes, and medical waste.

Moreover, plastic shopping bags, shrink wrap, and other kinds of the plastic wrap should not be placed in your recycling center. These things typically clog up the machines, and they’d eventually end up in the landfill. So instead, these things are typically recycled separately at drop-off locations in grocery stores. Finally, do not place recycling in bags – the bag will cause issues at the processing center.


Recycling glass may be a bit more complicated than many think. This is because processing centers don’t allow certain types of glass. In certain areas, the centers don’t allow any glass at all. While others will only accept a certain kind of glass. Just be sure to check the rules at your local processing center prior to placing glass items in the bin.

However, there are specific classes of glass that are just not recyclable at all. Some samples would be windows and mirrors, eyeglasses, vases, oven-safe ceramic cookware or dishes, and fluorescent light tubes. Due to the fact that these items have been treated with coatings or contain hazardous chemicals, they can in no way be safely recycled and should be disposed of through other mechanisms.


The same as glass, not all processing centers allow metal for recycling. Generally speaking, if you own metal items and would want to recycle them, you’ll need to look for a place specializing in metal recycling. A lot of regular processing centers will not take in metals like car parts, propane cylinders, aerosol cans, clothes hangers, and so on.

Likewise, old televisions and electronics cannot be easily sent to your local recycling center. The electronic components of these items can become more complex than most recycling centers can handle. Instead, try to find a local electronics shop that will allow your old electronics. Some companies will allow old electronics, including cell phones and tablets, that are broken or not anymore wanted.

Cardboard, Paper, and Wood

Many types of cardboard, paper, and wood can be safely recycled, while others are to be placed in the trash bin instead. Most processing centers welcome newspapers, notebook paper, and magazines. It’s the same for flattened packing boxes, cereal boxes, and food delivery boxes. Untreated wood items are also commonly accepted, but it depends on what items your local recycling center is willing to take.

Still, it’s essential to understand that certain cardboard, paper, and wood types are not recyclable. This includes grease-soaked pizza boxes (some oil is okay), waxed paper cartons, and treated wood, including painted or stained furniture. Books and some types of paper are also not recyclable, so it’s vital to separate your paper items carefully before placing them in the trash bin.


By recycling the right way, you can do a lot to help your community as a renter. However, if your neighborhood is not going to support your desire for more sustainability, Real Property Management Washington DC can help! You can check out our listings online or call 202-813-9993.

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