How to Sort at Home

Where does it go? Know what goes in recycling, compost, and garbage. Follow these tips and you'll be sorting like a pro in no time.


Recycle icon
  1. All recycling must be empty, clean, and dry to be ready for recycling. No foods or liquids, because they ruin other recyclables.
    • Give your items a quick rinse to get food residue out. Let them dry.
    • For food containers, empty all food out, rinse and let dry.
  2. Focus on these five categories:
    • Paper: newspaper, magazines, paperboard cereal boxes, and office paper
    • Cardboard: flatten cardboard so it takes up less room. Labels and tape are okay
    • Plastic containers, bottles, jug and tubs: milk jugs, plastic soap bottles, yogurt and sauce tubs
    • Glass bottles and jars: no drink glasses or window glass
    • Metal cans and scrap: aluminum cans, steel cans and clean foil trays
  3. Items need to be bigger than 3 inches. Things that are smaller can fall through the sorting equipment at the recycling sorting facility, so they are not able to be sorted for recycling. Small stuff goes in the garbage.



Compost icon
  1. All food scraps and waste: if at one point you could have eaten it, it's compostable
  2. Food soiled and shredded paper: napkins, paper towels, greasy food wrappers, pizza boxes, and dirty plain paper plates
  3. Approved compostable food packaging: it must say "Compostable" on it
  4. Yard waste, plants and clean wood: branches, leaves, and unpainted wood

No plastic, metal or glass. No plastic or shiny coating on paper plates and food packaging.



Garbage icon
  1. Plastics and paper that don't belong in the recycling or compost: frozen food bags, candy wrappers, produce sticker, dirty food containers and plastic bags
  2. Other garbage: broken dishes, hoses, dryer lint, bubble envelopes and mailers, loose bottle caps
  3. Pet waste, diapers, used tissues and hygiene products
  4. Foam: trays, instant food container, and foam blocks
  5. Kitchen grease: leftover bacon grease and cooking oil

Do not put electronics, hazardous, and medical waste in the garbage.