Before you toss that hairspray can in the recycling bin, take a look at this list. There are a ton of things that are unable to be recycled, from coffee mugs to napkins to batteries. Things that you’d think belong in those orange blue boxes just don’t.
Most of these items have a designated location for someone to collect them. So check out this super handy recycling guide from the city of Gainesville. It has a huge list of items, complete with all the information to make recycling everything a breeze.
Courtesy of Mother Nature Network, here are some items that you (shockingly) can’t recycle! So think twice before you chuck any of these into your bins.
Aerosol cans: Sure, they’re metal. But since spray cans also contain propellants and chemicals, most municipal systems treat them as hazardous material. [That means no hairspray, shaving cream or PAM cans!]
Batteries: These are generally handled separately from both regular trash and curbside recycling.
Ceramics and pottery: This includes things such as coffee mugs.
: Window panes, mirrors, light bulbs and tableware are impractical to recycle. Bottles and jars are usually fine. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are recyclable, but contain a small amount of mercury and shouldn’t be treated as common household bulbs. For ideas on how to handle them, see 5 ways to dispose of old CFLs.
Juice boxes and other coated cardboard drink containers. Some manufacturers have begun producing recyclable containers. These will be specially marked. The rest are not suitable for reprocessing.
Napkins and paper towels: Discouraged because of what they may have absorbed. Consider composting.
Pizza boxes: Too much grease. While some compost enthusiasts steer clear of adding pizza box cardboard to their pile, others report no problems. It’s that or the trash.
Plastic bags and plastic wrap: If possible, clean and reuse the bags. Make sure neither gets into the environment.
Plastic-coated boxes, plastic food boxes, or plastic without recycling marks: Dispose of safely.
Plastic screw-on tops: Dispose separately from recyclable plastic bottles. Remember that smaller caps are a choking hazard.
Styrofoam: See if your community has a special facility for this. [We don’t, but you can ship it to a place that does!]
Tyvek shipping envelopes: These are the kind used by the post office and overnight delivery companies.
Wet paper: In general, recyclers take a pass on paper items that have been exposed to water. The fibers may be damaged, and there are contamination risks.