Recycling 101

Recycling benefits the environment and the economy

Recycling doesn't just save natural resources; it also saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, recycling is good for the economy. When you and other Minnesotans recycle, you make a big impact:

  • Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 7,000 gallons of water.
  • Recycling in Minnesota reduces emissions equal to taking 1.3 million cars off the road.
  • Over 37,000 Minnesota jobs are involved with recycling.
  • Each year, the recycling industry contributes $64 million in taxes to help pay for public services.

Recycling at your curb

Curbside collection makes it easy and convenient to recycle. Just put your recyclables out the night before collection, and your recycler will do the rest.

Recycling service providers are collecting new types of materials each year, as new markets for recyclable material become available. The list below is your guide to what types of materials are collected curbside by most recycling service providers in the Twin Cities metro area. For detailed information on materials currently accepted in your area, how the materials should be sorted, and when they will be picked up, call your City Recycling Coordinator or your recycling service provider.

 Paper: Recyclable

  • Mail, office and school papers
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Newspapers and inserts
  • Phone books
  • Shredded paper in closed paper bags
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Cereal and cracker boxes
  • Shoe boxes, gift boxes and electronics boxes
  • Toothpaste, medication and other toiletry boxes 

 Paper: Not recyclable

  • Paper soiled with food
  • Paper plates and cups
  • Paper napkins or towels
  • Gift wrap

Paper: Sometimes recyclable

Some cities/service providers recycle:

  • Pizza boxes
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Pop and beer cases
  • Refrigerated or frozen food boxes

Contact your City Recycling Coordinator or your recycling service provider for details.



 Cartons: Recyclable

  • Milk cartons
  • Juice boxes
  • Soup, broth and wine cartons

Preparation: Rinse.



 Plastic: Recyclable

  • Water, soda and juice bottles
  • Milk and juice jugs
  • Ketchup and salad dressing bottles
  • Dishwashing liquid bottles and detergent jugs
  • Shampoo, soap and lotion bottles

Preparation: Rinse.

 Plastic: Not recyclable

  • StyrofoamTM
  • Microwaveable food trays
  • Plastic wrap
  • Motor oil bottles and other containers that held hazardous products

 Plastic: Sometimes recyclable

Some cities/service providers recycle:

  • Plastic containers
  • Plastic caps and lids
  • Plastic bags
  • Clear packaging from toys and electronics
  • Yogurt, pudding and fruit cups
  • Disposable cups and bowls
  • Margarine, cottage cheese, and other containers
  • Produce, deli and take out containers

Call your City Recycling Coordinator or your recycling service provider for details.



 Glass: Recyclable

  • Food and beverage bottles and jars

Preparation: Rinse.

 Glass: Not recyclable

  • Drinking glasses, dishes, and vases
  • Window glass and mirrors



 Metal: Recyclable

  • Food and beverage cans

Preparation: Rinse. 

 Metal: Not recyclable

  • Cans that held hazardous products such as paint thinner

 Metal: Sometimes recyclable

Some cities/service providers recycle:

  • Scrap metal
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aerosol cans
  • Empty paint cans

Call your City Recycling Coordinator or your recycling service provider for details.



Drop-off recycling

Recycling drop-off options may also be available through your city or county.

Some local landfills or transfer stations accept recyclables. These facilities transfer recyclables to local recycling facilities.

Apartment recycling

If you live in an apartment or multi-family building, ask your building manager about recycling. If recycling isn't offered in your building, call your City Recycling Coordinator for help.

County Links for Residents


  • Anoka County
  • Carver County
  • Dakota County
  • Hennepin County
  • Ramsey County
  • Washington County