What to Recycle: Details

Sugg Farm Tree

Prepare materials to be recycled before placing them in your recycling container. Recycling that is mixed with unaccepted items or improperly prepared may not be processed and may require disposal at the landfill.

Remember:

  • Lightly rinse glass, metal and plastic containers; recyclables should be free of food residue.
  • Paper or cardboard products with food on them should not be recycled. This includes napkins, plates and greasy pizza boxes.
  • Do not bag your recyclable materials; place recyclables directly in your bin.
  • Any item smaller than 2 inches should not be recycled in your curbside bin; these small items will become lost in recycling center sorting equipment.

Additional resources

Wake County Waste and RecyclingLearn where to recycle appliances, electronics, paint, oil filters and more.

Visit the Earth911 website, which offers a Recycle Search that lets you know how to recycle a variety of materials - even those not collected at your curb.

Cardboard

Accepted Not Accepted Curbside
Corrugated Cardboard: Remove packing material and flatten boxes. Boxes with food residue cannot be recycled. Waste Industries will collect up to 7 boxes, broken down and tied into a 3x3-foot bundle. To arrange payment for collection of additional boxes, contact Waste Industries directly at (919) 662-7100. Boxes with Food Residue: Food residue can cause contamination during the recycling process. Search the Earth911 website for the nearest location that accepts your material.

  Greasy Pizza Boxes: Because the grease from pizza boxes can ruin an entire batch of paper fibers during the recycling process, do not recycle greasy cardboard. If the top of your pizza box is free of grease and food materials, rip off that portion to recycle.
  Waxed Cardboard: Boxes with wax coating you can scrape off with a fingernail, such as those on some frozen food products are not recyclable in your curbside bin. Search the Earth911 website for the nearest location that accepts your material.

Glass

Accepted Not Accepted Curbside
Food and Beverage Bottles and Jars: Bottles and jars that once contained food or beverages can be recycled. Remove the lids or caps and rinse the container before recycling. Metal screw caps should be removed from glass jars, rinsed, and placed separate from the glass container inside the curbside bin to be recycled. Non-Food Glass Containers: Chemical stabilizers are used in some glass containers used for non-food products. Also, Pyrex and Corningware dishes, light bulbs, mirrors, window panes and ceramic pots cannot be recycled in your curbside bin.

 
Search the Earth911 website for the nearest location that accepts your material. 

Metal

Accepted Not Accepted Curbside
Aluminum Foil and Food Trays: Remove all food residue before recycling. Aerosol Cans: These can be dropped off at a Wake County facility; click here to visit the county website for more information.
Metal Cans: Rinse first; then recycle. Although flat metal lids should not be placed in your curbside bin, metal screw caps can be recycled from your curbside bin.  Non-Food Cans: Cans that held non-food products may contain chemicals. These can be dropped off at a Wake County facility; click here to visit the county website for more information
 
Metal Oil Cans or Metal Containers for Non-Food Products should not be recycled curbside. These can be dropped off at a Wake County facility; click here to visit the Wake County website for more information.
 
Hangers: Due to causing problems with recycling plant equipment, recycle these at a Wake County facility. Click here for more information.

Paper

Accepted Not Accepted Curbside
Aseptic Containers: These containers, often referred to as drink boxes, are used to package juice, milk, soup, wine and other liquids. Remove straws before recycling. No drink pouches, please. Checkbooks, carbon paper, paper with adhesive backing, used napkins and tissues, and used paper plates should not be recycled in your cart.
Gable-Top Cartons: Cartons, such as those used to hold milk, juice and detergent, should be rinsed before recycling. No caps, please. Waxed Paperboard: Paper cups and boxes with wax coating you can scrape off with a fingernail, such as those on some frozen food products, are not recyclable in your curbside bin. Search the Earth911 website for the nearest location that accepts your material.
Newspapers and Inserts, Magazines, Catalogs, and Paperback Books: Remove any plastic bags, which can be recycled at local grocery stores, before recycling the paper in your curbside bin.
Paper: Copy and fax paper, junk mail and envelopes (including those with windows) are accepted. While staples may remain on paper, remove paper clips before recycling. For junk mail, please remove any stickers or promotional products before recycling.
Hardback Books: Due to book bindings, donate these books instead of recycling them. If the books are not appropriate for a local Little Free Library, deliver them to the Wake County Convenience Center at the South Wake Landfill off Old Smithfield Road.
Paper: Copy and fax paper, junk mail and envelopes (including those with windows) are accepted. While staples may remain on paper, remove paper clips before recycling. For junk mail, please remove any stickers or promotional products before recycling.
Shredded Paper
Paperboard Boxes and Tubes: Tubes for toilet and wrapping paper, and paper towels, and boxes such as those that contain cereal and toothpaste, can be flattened and recycled.
 

   

Plastics

Accepted Not Accepted Curbside
Bottles: Rinse before recycling. Plastic screw caps can be recycled if they are left on plastic food containers. Bags: Plastic bags, which can jam sorting equipment, can be recycled at most grocery stores.
Clamshell Containers: Often used for packaging berries and baked goods, rinse and recycle containers marked "1" or "PETE."
Compostable Plastics: If your #7 plastic also is labeled with "PLA," "compostable" or "biodegradable," compost it; do not place it in your curbside recycling container with other #7 plastic materials.
Tubs: These containers that hold margarine, sour cream, yogurt and more are round and flexible. Please rinse the containers and discard the lids before recycling.
Cups Made of Thin, Brittle Plastic: While cups made of durable, flexible plastic (similar to the material of margarine tubs) are recyclable, cups made of thin, brittle plastic are not recyclable curbside.

Frozen Food/Deli Trays, Plates: These trays and other thin, flat plastic objects are not recyclable curbside because they cause a sorting problem at the recycling facility. Search the Earth911 website for the nearest location that accepts this material.
 
Lids: Flat plastic covers (such as those on tubs of margarine and cream cheese), cannot be recycled curbside. Since they are flat, they often are mixed with paper at the sorting facility by machinery.
 
Motor Oil Bottles & Containers That Held Chemicals: In addition to the following items, our recycling program does not accept plastic lids, pumps and items that previously contained a hazardous material. Items that contained chemicals, such as a pesticide, pool chemical, automotive fluid, or anything with the poison symbol on it, should be placed in the trash. If the container is not empty, drop it off at at the South Wake Household Hazardous Waste facility.
  Polystyrene (Styrofoam or #6 Plastic): Search the Earth911 website for the nearest location that accepts styrofoam.