Common Recycling Mistakes

Please help improve the efficiency, economy and effectiveness of the recycling program by avoiding these common mistakes:
  • Please don't put non-recyclable materials into your collection container. Download our list of accepted items, and, when in doubt, throw it out! (Or download our free MyWaste app at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/recycle.)
  • Do not place recyclable materials inside plastic bags for collection. Recyclables have to be loose to be sorted. Bags are difficult to open, and if opened, the pieces of empty plastic bag tangle up in the sorting machinery. (And, trash bags aren't even recyclable!)  Sorting staff are trained that if a bag looks like trash, it will likely be disposed.  (Please note that shredded paper should be placed inside a paper bag, and plastic bags marked with a recycling symbol should be gathered together inside a single recyclable bag. For everything else...keep it loose!)
  • No "styrofoam". If your coffee cup has a "recycle symbol" on it, it lies. And please do not leave "styrofoam" packing materials inside a cardboard box or other container set out for recycling collection.
  • No "tanglers".  Please do not recycle things that can bet wrapped up in  the mechanical equipment at the sorting center. This means no clothes hangers, wires, hoses, electrical cords, light strings and no loose, individual plastic bags.
  • Never leave food or liquids inside containers. All containers should be empty for recycling!
  • Don't recycle disposable cups or other dining waste No fast food bags, wrappers, salad bowls, coffee or soda cups, paper plates, plastic cutlery, etc. None of that is recyclable!
  • Don't recycle thin, brittle, or “clamshell” plastics. This includes fruit, bakery and deli containers as well as others, regardless of what number or symbol is imprinted on them.
  • Do not recycle soiled or soft/low-grade paper products. This includes tissues, paper towels, paper plates, greasy pizza boxes and waxed paper.
  • We want packaging. The curbside recycling program is primarily designed to collect packaging materials (think bottles, tins, cans, tubs, jars, boxes and paper) So, other random objects, scrap metal, electronics, yard waste can not be placed in a blue recycling cart or bin.