Home > Solid Waste Management > Recycling > Recycling at Home > Recycle Right, A to Z

Recycle Right A to Z

While the best way to help our planet is to reduce our consumption and to reuse (e.g. donate newspapers to an animal shelter; use soup cans as herb pots), some items still require disposal. In these cases, separating accepted recyclables from those items that are not accepted per the County's curbside recycling program will prevent bin contamination. When a cart is contaminated, nothing gets recycled.

Recycle Right A to Z
This list outlines what to do with accepted recyclable items from Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list and also what to do with those other items that commonly and mistakenly end up in the recycling cart. Find out which items belong in your recycle cart, trash bin or should be taken somewhere for proper disposal.

If you do not see your item in question on the list, email the Department of Solid Waste Management at [email protected], or visit www.earth911.com to search for recycling or disposal options and locations.

Jump to: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A


Aerosol cans: Metal containers pressurized with a gas propellant that contain hair spray, deodorant, insect repellent, paint, etc. These items are considered hazardous waste and should not go in the recycle cart or the trash bin. Take to a Home Chemical Collection Center for safe disposal. 

Aluminum cans: Clean, empty aluminum cans and bottles used for drinks or food such as soda, soup and canned cat food. These items are accepted recyclables and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Aseptic containers: Polycoated drink boxes, juice cartons and milk cartons are accepted recyclables and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

B


Batteries, alkaline: Alkaline single-use household batteries -AA, AAA, C, D, 6V, 9V are not accepted recyclables. It is safe to dispose of alkaline batteries in your household trash. You may also take to a Home Chemical Collection Center for safe disposal.
Tip: reduce waste by using rechargeable batteries.

Batteries, button cell: Small round batteries (resembling a coin) found in hearing aids, calculators, cameras, laser pointers, watches, etc. are considered hazardous waste. C-type 3V Lithium are the most common. They should not go in the recycle cart or the trash bin. Take these items to a Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal. 
Tip: Ask jewelry, watch and camera stores if they will recycle button cell batteries.

Batteries, rechargeable: Batteries found in cordless items such as laptops, power tools, toys, cameras, radios, and phones are not accepted recyclables. Rechargeable batteries include: nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel metal hydride (NiMH), lithium ion (Li-ion) and small sealed lead (Pb). These batteries are hazardous waste and should not go in the recycle cart or the trash bin. Under Florida law, it is illegal to dispose of nickel-cadmium or small-sealed lead acid rechargeable batteries with household waste. Take to Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal or to a Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples or a battery store for possible recycling.

Batteries, vehicle: Lead acid batteries are found in vehicles including cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, scooters, wheelchairs, golf carts, lawn mowers and children’s riding toys and should not go in the recycle cart or the trash bin. These items are considered hazardous waste and must be taken to a Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal.

Books: 
Books are accepted recyclables and included in Recycle Right - The Simple 5 list. 
Tip: Books can be enjoyed again and again by generations of people. Consider donating books to a friend, library, charity, thrift store or shelter.

Bottles: 
(plastic & glass) - plastic bottles - milk, water, detergent, soda and shampoo (flatten and replace cap); glass bottles are also accepted. These items are recyclable and included in Recycle Right - The Simple 5 list.

Bulbs, fluorescent bulbs and ballasts:
Fluorescent light bulbs including tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), “green tip” (low mercury) bulbs, and projector bulbs; the ballast is the lamp unit that holds a fluorescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs and ballasts should not go in the recycle cart or the trash bin. While more energy efficient, fluorescent bulbs contain mercury. Bring fluorescent bulbs and ballasts to a Home Chemical Collection Center. Also view EPA disposal information.
Tip: If a bulb breaks, clean up carefully and do not use a broom or a vacuum so as not to be exposed to the mercury vapor.

Bulbs, incandescent: 
Standard incandescent light bulbs. These lights are not accepted recyclables but can be safely disposed of in the trash.

Butter and margarine tubs, plastic: These items are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in your household trash.

(Back to Top)

C


Cans: Steel and aluminum food & beverage cans. These items are recyclable and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Cardboard:
Clean, dry, empty, flattened packing boxes, cereal boxes, gift boxes and corrugated cardboard boxes. These items are accepted recyclable and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Cartons, drink boxes: Polycoated paper beverage containers such as milk or juice boxes or cartons are also called aseptic packaging. These items are accepted recyclables and are included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Cartridges, toner and ink: Empty inkjet or laser toner cartridges, ink cartridges used for office machinery such as printers, photocopiers and fax machines. This item is considered hazardous waste and should not go in the recycle cart or the trash bin. This item must be taken to a Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal or recycled at Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Walgreens (inkjet only -check with store), Target or mailed back to the manufacturer.

Ceramics: Ceramics are not accepted recyclables and should be wrapped and discarded with your household trash.

Chemicals used in the home: Home chemicals such as paint, pesticides, pool chemicals, fertilizers and other household chemicals are considered hazardous waste should not go in your recycle cart or your trash bin. Take these items to a Home Chemical Collection Center.

Christmas trees: Christmas trees are not accepted recyclables. Check the Department of Solid Waste homepage after the holiday for information on proper tree disposal, department tree recycling options and free mulch for residents program. The department will accept trees in the trash bin if they are cut up and fit neatly inside the bin. 

Christmas lights:
 Christmas lights should not be put in the recycling cart. They are considered "tanglers" and cause big problems for the machines that handle accepted recyclables. Christmas lights should be disposed of with household trash.
Tip: If lights are still working, donate them to a friend or charity.

Clothing and linens: Clothing and linens should not be put in the recycling cart. These items should be disposed of with household trash. 
Tip: Donate these items or cut up and use as cleaning rags. 

Cooking oil: New or used oil or grease (salad dressing, bacon fat, peanut oil, etc.) should never be poured down the sink or toilet. It can clog pipes, backup sewers and harm the environment. You can let it cool and reuse oil at home several times. Skilled gardeners and composters can also add small amounts of cooled oil (vegetable oils only) into compost. For small amounts of oil, carefully pour oil into a strong, sealable container like a plastic or glass jar, let cool and dispose of it with your household trash.

(Back to Top)

D


Documents/ Records: Loose or shredded documents are accepted recyclables and are included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Drink boxes: Aseptic (polycoated) drink boxes are accepted recyclables and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Drums/ Barrels: Containers (usually 30-55 gallons) made of plastic or metal should not be placed with your recyclables, nor should they be placed with your trash. Refer to Earth 911 or consult a local vendor for proper disposal. Large, empty plastic drums - cut open to show that they are completely empty - are accepted at Department of Solid Waste Management landfills. Liquid waste is not accepted at landfills. Empty, clean metal drums may be accepted at a local scrap metal yard but you must confirm with them directly.

(Back to Top)

E


Egg cartons: Empty paper, foam or plastic containers used for eggs. Only paper egg cartons can go in the recycle cart. Foam and plastic egg containers should go in your household trash bin.
Tip: Ask your grocery store about recycling options for foam and plastic containers.

Electronics, hazardous: Audio equipment, calculator, camera (digital), cartridge (inkjet or toner), CD player, cell phone, computer, computer monitor or computer accessory, DVD player, e-book reader, fax machine, GPS unit, marine depth finder, microwave oven, PDA (such as a Palm Pilot or Blackberry), photocopier, printer, projector, radio, scanner, speaker, stereo, telephone, TV, VCR, video game player or wireless device. These items are considered hazardous waste and should not go in the recycling cart. There is mercury in LCD TV screens and lead in computer monitors. Dispose of these items at a Home Chemical Collection Center.

Electronics, non-hazardous: 
Air purifier, blender, bread machine, blow dryer, camera (film), can opener, clock, coffee grinder, coffee maker, curling iron, dehumidifier, frying pan (electric), fan, fondue maker, food processor, heater, ice cream maker, iron, juicer, mixer, paper shredder, popcorn popper, pressure cooker, razor/shaver (electric), sandwich maker, slow cooker, steamer, toaster, toaster oven, toothbrush (electric), vacuum cleaner, waffle maker, etc. These items are not accepted recyclables. While these items are normally safe when disposed of with your household trash, if you are unsure if the item is hazardous waste, take it to a Home Chemical Collection Center.

Eyeglasses:
Used eyeglasses or sunglasses for adults or children including reading glasses, bifocals or non-prescription sunglasses (plastic or metal frames) are not accepted recyclables. Put these items in the trash bin.
Tip: Check with your eye doctor, Goodwill and Salvation Army to donate glasses to people in need.

(Back to Top)

F


Fencing: Fence materials such as chain link, wood panels or gates. These items are not accepted recyclables. If materials fit in your trash bin, they will be collected as waste. Otherwise, schedule a bulky waste pickup for proper disposal.
Tip: Reuse or donate to a neighbor, church or school. 

Foam produce trays and products: Polystyrene foam trays used by grocery stores to package fruits, vegetables and meats and other Foam products are not recyclable and should be placed in the household trash bin.
Tip: Buy loose produce and bring your own reusable bags to transport. Inquire with your grocery store manager whether or not they recycle foam trays. Ask food establishments if you can use your own to-go container for leftovers and takeout.

Furniture: Broken, unusable household or office items such as chairs, tables, beds, file cabinets, etc. are not accepted recyclables and should not be placed in the trash unless they fit neatly in the bin. Non-commercial residents who receive waste collection services from the Department of Solid Waste Management can dispose of unusable furniture at a Trash and Recycling Center, request a bulky waste pickup or dispose of it at a Solid Waste Management landfill.

(Back to Top)

G


Garden hoses: Garden hoses are not accepted recyclable. Hoses are considered "tanglers" and cause significant problems at the recycling facility. Place unwanted or broken houses in your household trash bin. Note: items must fit completely inside the trash bin for collection.

Gas cans: Small metal or plastic containers used to store gasoline for home use such as for lawn mowers or generators. Gas cans should not go in the recycling cart. Empty cans can be disposed of in the trash; Cans with gas should be dropped off at a Home Chemical Collection Center - maximum 10 gallons, two 5-gallon containers will be accepted.

Glass beverage bottles (clear, brown or green):
This item is an accepted recyclable and is included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Glass food containers: This item is not an accepted recyclable and should be disposed of in the trash. For large glass items, contact your local Miami-Dade Department of Solid Waste landfill.

(Back to Top)

H


Hangers: Wire or plastic clothing hangers are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in the trash.
Tip: Consider donating your hangers to a thrift store or charity or give metal hangers back to your dry cleaner.

(Back to Top)

I


Ink printer cartridges: Used inkjet or laser toner cartridges and ink cartridges used for office machinery such as printers, photocopiers and fax machines should not be placed in the recycle cart nor the trash bin. These items contain hazardous chemicals and should be taken to a Home Chemical Collection Center or recycled at Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Walgreens (inkjet only - check with store), Target or mailed back to the manufacturer for proper recycling.

(Back to Top)

J


Juice boxes or cartons: Polycoated beverage containers such as juice boxes or cartons (also called aseptic packaging) are accepted recyclables.

Juice pouches: Juice pouches are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in the trash bin.

(Back to Top)

K


Kitchen appliances: Kitchen appliances such as blenders, bread machines, can openers, coffee grinder, coffee maker, electric frying pan, fondue maker, food processor, ice cream maker, juicer, mixer, popcorn popper, pressure cooker, sandwich maker, slow cooker, toaster, toaster over and waffle maker are considered non-hazardous materials. They are not accepted recyclables but can be placed in the household trash bin. If you are not sure whether or not your electric appliance is hazardous, drop it off at a Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal.
Tip: Donate unwanted, working appliances to family and friends or a charity or homeless shelter.

(Back to Top)

L


Latex gloves: Used synthetic or rubber gloves are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in the trash bin.

(Back to Top)

M


Magazines and mixed paper: Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, telephone books, printer paper, copier paper, mail and all other office paper without wax liners are accepted recyclables and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Medicine bottles, empty: Plastic medicine bottles, e.g. prescription medicine and aspirin bottles are not accepted recyclables and should be discarded with your household trash if bottles are empty. Loose medication should not be flushed down the toilet as this can harm the environment. Keep pills in the original container, add water or soda to contaminate contents so they are unusable, wrap in old newspaper and discard with your household trash.

Motor oil: Motor oil should not go in your recycle cart or your trash bin. Take used motor oil to a Home Chemical Collection Center.

(Back to Top)

N


Newspapers: Loose, dry newspapers and inserts are accepted recyclables and are included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

(Back to Top)

O


Oil filters: Oil filters used in cars are considered hazardous materials and should be disposed of at a Home Chemical Collection Center.

Oil-based paint: Oil-based paint should be taken to a Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal. Do not put in the recycling cart and only put in the trash can if cans are empty.

(Back to Top)

P



Packing materials: Polystyrene foam, "peanuts" or bubble wrap. These materials are not accepted recyclables. You can throw these items in the trash.
Tip: Reuse or donate to a friend or mailing store. 

Paint, oil or latex: Paint is toxic and should not be thrown in the recycling cart or the trash bin. Bring unused or old paint to a Home Chemical Collection Center for proper disposal. Empty cans can be disposed of safely in the trash.
Tip: The Home Chemical Collection Center offers free chemicals and paint at both locations - West Dade Center and South Dade Center.

Paper and paperboard: Dry, single-layer paper such as newspapers, magazines, cataologs, telephone books, printer paper, copier paper, mail and other office paper without wax liners; and paper packaging such as cereal boxes, cracker boxes, tissue boxes, gift boxes, shoe boxes, paper egg cartons and empty paper towel or toilet paper rolls are accepted recyclables and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

Paper shopping bags: Empty, dry, brown paper bags are accepted recyclables.
Tip: bring your own bag to do your grocery, clothing and pharmacy shopping.

Phone books: While phone books are becoming a thing of the past, some people still receive them. Phone books are accepted recyclables. Remove plastic wrap or bag first before putting it in the recycling cart.
Tip: Opt out of receiving phone directories in the future at
www.YellowPagesOptOut.com.

Pizza boxes: Pizza boxes are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in trash bin. Even though pizza boxes are made of cardboard, they contain grease, which makes them a non-recyclable item.

Plastic bags: Plastic bags used for groceries and general shopping; also plastic dry cleaning bags. These items are not accepted for curbside recycling and should be recycled elsewhere or placed in the trash. A common mistake people make is to put recyclable bottles, etc. in plastic bags and then toss it all in the recycling cart. Plastic bags jam the machines at the facility and cause significant delays and problems.
Tip: Reuse your plastic bags several times and look for plastic bag recycling containers at the grocery store or big-box retailers. Bring your own cloth or canvas bag for shopping.


Plastic bottles: 
plastic (narrow neck only) containers such as milk jugs, beverage containers, water bottles, detergent containers and shampoo bottles are accepted recyclable and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list. Remove cap or lid, flatten bottle and placed in the recycling cart. Caps and lids should be thrown in the trash.
Tip: Consider purchasing 5-gallon water jugs for your home or office and use washable containers instead of plastic water bottles. This will save you money and help the environment.

Plastic cups: Plastic cups are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in with your household trash.
Tip: Invest in a good water bottle to refill and reuse. 

Plastic plant pots: These items are not accepted recyclables. Dispose of with your household trash.
Tip: donate to a local nursery or garden center for reuse.

Plastic plates: Plastic plates are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in the trash bin.

Plastic utensils: Plastic utensils, like forks, knives and spoons are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in the trash bin.

 (Back to Top)

Q


 

(Back to Top)

R


Rubber gloves: Used synthetic or rubber gloves are not accepted recyclables and should be disposed of with your household trash.

(Back to Top)

S


Steel cans: Clean, empty steel "tin" soup, bean and vegetable cans (cans only, no bottles) are accepted recyclable and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list.

(Back to Top)

T


Tea bags: Teabags are not acceptable recyclables and should be placed in your household trash bin.
Tip: tea bags are high in nitrogen and a good "green" material to add to your home compost.

Toilet paper rolls, empty: Empty toilet paper rolls are accepted recyclables and included in Recycle Right - the Simple 5 list as a paper product.

(Back to Top)

U


USB cords: USB cords are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in your household trash bin or brought to a Home Chemical Collection Center where they will be recycled.
Tip: Donate your unwanted USB cords to friends and family or a charity or shelter.

(Back to Top)

V


Vacuum bags: Vacuum bags are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in your household trash bin.

(Back to Top)

W


Wax paper: Wax paper is not an accepted recyclable and should be placed in your household trash bin.

(Back to Top)

X


 

(Back to Top)

Y


Yard waste: Biodegradable waste from a garden or backyard such as leaves, tree branches, grass clippings and hedge trimmings are not accepted recyclables. If you can fit yard waste inside your trash bin, it will be collected as waste.
Tips: Use yard waste for compost or mulch. 

Yogurt cups: Yogurt cups are not accepted recyclables and should be recycled elsewhere or placed in the trash bin.
Tip: Some grocery stores recycle yogurt cups. Check with your local store.

(Back to Top)

Z


Zip lock bags: Zip lock bags are not accepted recyclables and should be placed in your household trash bin.
Tip: Rinse out and reuse zip lock bags or consider using reusable Tupperware to transport items.

(Back to Top)