When talking to environmental experts in the area about how we can do more to move towards a sustainable future, the one thing they ask is for more people to practice proper recycling procedures. One bag of garbage thrown into a recycling bin, either on purpose or by accident, can contaminate a whole recycling load. Reviewing the recycling guidelines and rules will help us Californians get a better handle on proper recycling. 

If we have the luxury of continuously taking from mother nature’s resources, paper, food, glass, and other materials, it’s part of our responsibility to give back. Follow along in this easy guide to see if you are recycling properly in California.

  • Step number one: proper sorting. This ensures your curbside recycling actually gets recycled, instead of ending up in the landfill. Full details below. 
  • Containers with liquid or food can spoil everyone’s recycling in a collection truck.
  • Gunk on plastic makes it less likely to get recycled.
  • Shake or wipe liquid or food out of containers (no need to rinse them).
  • Let them dry right side up in your recycling bin.
  • Plastic shopping and garage bags are not recyclable! Do not bag up your recyclables and toss them into the blue bin. Drop them out of your bags into the bin.
  • Garage bags are not opened at recycling-sorting facilities. So, if your recycling is in a black trash bag, it will go to a landfill. 
  • Non-recyclable materials can cause the equipment to jam up or break down.
  • Items such as hoses, wire hangers, plastic bags, and string lights work their way into the belts and joints of the machinery. 

Recology’s, the recycling service provider in C.A., mission represents a fundamental shift from traditional waste management to resource recovery. They seek to eliminate waste by developing and discovering sustainable resource recovery practices that can be implemented globally.


NOTES: About Recycling in California

Cardboard: food boxes, shipping boxes, tubes (breakdown boxes).

Cartons: empty juice, milk, and soup in cartons or boxes.

Cassette & VHS tapes: Please remove the film portion before placing hard plastic in the recycling bin.

Glass: jars and bottles, caps and lids OK to include.

Metal: aluminum trays, aluminum foil bits- save them all into a ball; CD’s and DVD’s; scrap metal like broken pots or pans; spray paint cans- remove lid & nozzle.

Paper: envelopes with plastic window OK; magazines (glossy material ok); clean paper bags; coffee cup, sleeve, and lid; wrapping paper; shredded paper can be recycled if placed in a brown paper bag, stapled shut, and labeled “SHREDDED” on the outside. Otherwise, please put shredded paper in the composting bin.



Compostable containers: bags, cups, plates, bowls, and utensils must be labeled “compostable”; waxy cardboard, wax paper.

Dirty paper:  napkins, greasy paper bags, paper plates, paper towels, tissue paper, and tissues.

Food containers: greasy pizza boxes, paper food containers, paper take-out boxes, chopsticks.

Food scraps: coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, meat bones, seafood shells, paper tea bags, and spoiled food.

Organic material: cotton balls, cotton swabs (no plastic stems), animal fur, hair, wine corks (no plastic ones)

Wood: popsicle sticks, chopsticks, toothpicks. No stained or treated wood pieces.

Yard trimmings: Cut to less than 4 feet long and 6 inches wide.



Broken glass: broken bottles can go in the blue recycle bin. Broken glasses, mugs, and stemware go in the trash.

Ice packs: Reuse when possible. If your ice pack came with a meal delivery kit, contact the meal kit provider to see if they have a take-back program.

Mixed materials: such as padded envelopes or coffee bags go in the trash.

PPE: disposable gloves and masks and any kind of baby or disinfectant wipes go in the trash.

Shiny food wrappers: potato chip bags, protein bars, and any other mylar wrappers go in the trash.

Styrofoam: cups, packing blocks, or peanuts need to be reused or go into the trash.

Toothpaste tubes: and any other type of tube, ointment, or cream go into the trash.


Every item on this list has a clickable link that will provide directions and information on where and how you can recycle items in each of these categories. For example, Automotive includes tires, oil, antifreeze, and filters.


Reusing, selling, donating, and recycling unwanted items is an important component of growing a Circular Economy which is a large part of preserving the world’s environment and part of keeping our environment safe.

If you have several larger household items, jewelry, electronics, sporting equipment, or such that you no longer want AND don’t feel like dealing with, there is a simple stress-free solution with Remoov. Their service does it all. 

  1. Send them photos of your unwanted items (all categories). 
  2. You’ll receive an estimated price, then they pick up and sell, donate, or responsibly recycle it for you. 
  3. Other advantages include:
  • Multiple Platforms- Your item is listed on all their sales platforms- finding the “right” channel to sell a variety of items. Remoov uses its own consignment store and e-commerce platform, The Local Flea, as well as dozens of other potential resale channels to ensure your items are marketed to the largest audience possible and sold for you at the best price possible
  • Low Cost– You pay a pickup fee based on your item volume, but no additional storage fees after!
  • Value– Mint condition items are priced at around 70% of retail. Remoov can range from 20-70 % return on the original value, with a median of 45%. 
  • Professional Advantage– Integration with different marketplaces, and appraisers are all part of Remoov’s services and an advantage to you. Professional appraisers on staff provide accurate resale estimates as well as the best sales channels for each item.  These trained experts examine pieces to assess their value, determine authenticity, and as a result, can often uncover hidden gems.

The All-In-One Service! Get started today and get a free estimate for your pickup! And for quick answers to all your questions check out the FAQ Page.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: Check out this guide on “How To Responsibly Recycle Everything” including books, clothes, and electronics HERE.

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