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What Counts as Paper for Recycling? Plastic?

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!

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


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10:15PM PST on Dec 18, 2012


7:26PM PST on Nov 19, 2012

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.....

2:28PM PST on Nov 5, 2012

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.

9:03AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012


6:56AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012

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

6:48AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012


6:36AM PDT on Jun 27, 2012


12:25PM PDT on May 4, 2012


11:30PM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Good question Annie. Your local council should let you know when you request a bin.
Ellen 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.

12:13AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Thanks for the share.

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