Who Knew? Surprising Household Items You CAN Recycle

RecyclablesMy husband likes to tease me because I'm an "over-recycler." Beyond the obvious, like pizza boxes, paper in any form, magazines, and plastic and glass bottles, I've been known toss in those zippered plastic bags that sheets come in and the plastic cover from inside yogurt containers, and yes, I even once placed some old binders in our recycle bin.

Apparently, I'm in need of some serious schooling in what can and cannot be recycled in the home, but I'm also not that far off the mark.

I live in eco-friendly Sacramento. There's a lot that can't be recycled. Like bottles that still have their caps and lids. If we don't remove them first, the recycle fairy doesn't either and those bottles end up in the regular trash.

But I found a lot of surprises in the CAN-recycle category, too. Read my list -- you might be surprised enough to place a call to your own municipality today.


Surprising things I can recycle:

Boxboard (i.e., shoe boxes, tissue boxes, and cereal boxes)

Egg cartons

Junk mail

Phone books and soft-cover books

Envelopes (labels or windows are okay)

Office paper (all colors)

Plastic tubs and containers (i.e., yogurt, margarine)

Plastic bags (stuff several bags inside each other)

Buckets, pails, and crates

Toys (i.e., plastic tricycles)

Clamshell trays and deli containers

Plant pots (no ceramic)

Laundry baskets

Empty aerosol cans

Small scrap

Pots, pans, and utensils

Loose lids from jars


Surprising things I can't recycle:

Electronic or computer equipment

Hardcover books



Paper with plastic coatings (such as photographs for label backing)

Food-soiled paper

Waxed paper

Foil-lined paper

Non-tearing envelopes

Styrofoam® or packing peanuts (packing peanuts can be taken to a UPS store)

Window glass or mirrors




Light bulbs or fluorescent lamps/tubes

What item on either list surprises you the most?

Image via anne.oeldorfhirsch/Flickr

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