What Counts as Paper for Recycling? Plastic?

I have a question that will probably have all the experienced greenies cringe, but perhaps you can help. I have recently started recycling and we have a plastic and paper recycler in our area. Now, here’s my question: What counts as paper? And what counts as plastic? Is paper ALL paper and cardboard products, including the plastic lined rice milk box? Is plastic ALL plastics, including the packets from the steamed vegetables with food on them? How exacting are the criteria? I would really appreciate the clarification—a question “for dummies” I’m afraid!

I expect that most experienced greenies will be impressed at your initiative! The answer is that each municipality is different so you\’ll need to check with your local sanitation department. There are many items that are recyclable that are not recycled in a particular area (ie NYC only recycles jug and bottle shaped plastics but doesn\’t recycle salad containers,
which use a different kind of plastic). Your city government or sanitation department will have a list of what is accepted. You go, girl!


Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran4 years ago


Dave C.
David C4 years ago

great questions and comments....frustrates me that in our area (Minneapolis,MN suburb) it seems that each suburb has its own whats recyclable and what isn't.....I've worked hard to find places that recycle things I can't recycle at home, but its a lot of work to consider for all.....

Sheila Stevens
Sheila S4 years ago

My city (Philadelphia) recycles newspaper, magazines, computer paper, junk mail and card board. Also, steel and aluminum cans and glass. The city provides a listing of what items it will accept and its website explains why it does not take plastic bags (too light and they jam up the works.) So I place my bags in a separate location designated for such.
Most important is recycling of computer materials. The Salvation Army has a few centers that accept these as a donation. PLEASE DON'T PLACE IN TRASH.
Every little bit helps, but it can get confusing.

Sue M.
Sue M4 years ago


Kamryn M.
Kay M4 years ago

I wish we had some place to recycle wood . . . glass would be nice too.

Donna T.
Donna T4 years ago


Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton4 years ago


Sportstv Live
Sportstv Live4 years ago


Ann Fuller
Ann Fuller4 years ago

Good question Annie. Your local council should let you know when you request a bin.
Ellen M...it has taken me a few years to train my husband re beer bottles/cans, milk/juice containers to be washed out before going in the bin. BUT they might have a drop of water in them when they go in the bin, Never heard of no sign of water into therecycle bin. When shredding paper they like it in a box so it doesn't go everywhere when tipping into the truck.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W4 years ago

Thanks for the share.