Get to Know the Know What to Throw Guide

Posted on February 01, 2016
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Minnesotans are among the best recyclers in the country, and our region strongly believes in recycling. But there are still people who don’t recycle. has an updated, downloadable and easy-to-use guide to help pros and novices recycle more at home, at work or on the go. Download the Know What to Throw Guide and recycle with confidence!

Using the Guide

Share the Know What to Throw Guide with friends and family living in the Twin Cities to keep everyone up to date with what can be recycled in home collection programs. Use the guide in conjunction with free downloadable signs at your office or business to make recycling even easier for your coworkers and customers. You can even make your own signs with items more specific to your workplace!

Recycling at Home

Do you know what can go in your home recycling bin or cart? You can recycle more than you think! For example, a lot of the food in your home comes in recyclable containers. Be sure to recycle them!

What is Recyclable?


You can recycle water, soda and juice bottles. Empty the containers and give them a good rinse. Milk and juice jugs, ketchup and salad dressing bottles, and even yogurt and pudding cups can all be recycled. Just leave caps and lids on plastics.

Paper and Cardboard

Most paper is recyclable, including mail, office and school papers, magazines, catalogs, newspapers, and phone books. Cardboard and paper packaging can also be recycled, just break down boxes.

Glass and Metal

Glass bottles, jars, and metal food and beverage cans are all recyclable. You don’t have to remove labels - just remove the lids and rinse them out. Remember: don’t crush cans before recycling.

What Can’t be Recycled Curbside?

Some items can’t be recycled at home, but they are accepted by other programs. Plastic bags are recyclable, but not in your home bins since they can get tangled in the machinery at recycling facilities. They can be recycled at many retail stores or It’s in the Bag drop-off locations. You can also check for other drop-off location options.

The following paper items should also be kept out of your curbside bins:  paper plates and cups, paper soiled with food, napkins, and gift wrap. However, it’s worth seeing if you can compost items that had food on them.

Glass items, like drinking glasses, ceramic dishes, vases, windows, and mirrors can’t be recycled. Try to reuse or donate these things to keep them out of the waste stream.

Alternatives for Hazardous Waste

Many items in your home are considered household hazardous waste. They can’t be placed in your home recycling or garbage bin and should be disposed of at other locations.

Check with your county’s drop-off facility to see if they  accept cans or jars that contained hazardous products like motor oil, paint, paint thinner, automotive fluids, or aerosol cans. Light bulbs can’t be recycled in home recycling programs, but fluorescent bulbs can be brought to drop-off locations.

Resources for Better Recycling

Rethink Recycling offers a variety of resources to help you recycle at home, work and wherever else you go. The Know What to Throw Guide provides an easy snapshot of what can be recycled in your home recycling program. The materials pages in the resident recycling guide are newly updated and aim to help you manage many items in your home. There are resources for all sorts of materials including batteries, electronics and propane tanks.  Check with your city recycling coordinator if you have any questions.


What do you do with small

What do you do with small pieces of wood? Are they recyclable?

Treated or un-treated wood?

Small pieces of untreated wood can be placed in the garbage; large pieces of untreated wood can potentially be sold or donated. Treated wood must be taken to a landfill or transfer station; do not burn it.

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To go containers

What about to-go containers - paper and/or plastic?

Re: To go containers

Hi, Laura: we recommend keeping the following advice in mind: Paper - needs to be free of food residue. Plastic - contact your hauler to see if they accept this item or not. Styrofoam - not accepted.

Leading waste recycle machine in India

Great information about daily use products waste which can be recycled to be reused. I agree with the ways explained moreover If we can plan proper waste management timely then it will not be a big problem but will emerge as benefit from waste material.

Waste Reduction

Great tips! We have to educate ourselves and create habits to keep the environment. The annual numbers of produced waste worldwide are increasing very fast. Most of our daily used items can be recycled. We must learn how to collect and recycle our waste effectively and environmentally friendly.

It’s important that recyclables aren’t soiled

It’s important that recyclables aren’t soiled. Bottles, jugs, tubs and cans should be rinsed if they had food in them, and paper boxes with food grease need to go in the garbage. With a pizza box for example, toss the grease-stained corrugated cardboard that laid under the pie and recycle the clean box.

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