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Watch our video on how single-stream recycling works at one of our facilities.

The Dirty Dozen

Why the Dirty Dozen?

When placed in your recycling cart, the Dirty Dozen upset the recycling process. For instance, they:

  • Jam the sorting machines. Loose plastic bags, wires and cords wrap around and stop the moving parts.

  • Destroy the recyclability of other materials. Food and liquids spoil paper and cardboard so they can't be recycled.

  • Pose a risk to recycling workers. Needles and diapers pose a health risk to the workers who pull non-recyclable materials from the sort lines.

  • Harm the environment. CFL blubs, batteries and electronics require special handling to ensure they are properly recycled and managed for disposal.
Where do the Dirty Dozen go? There are four options: Landfill, Recycling, Compost or Special Handling. Check out the Dirty Dozen below to find the best solution for the materials based on the service offerings in your community.


Landfill or Compost
Depending on your city, I belong in the trash or green cart for composting. I never belong in recycling because I am too weak to be recycled into new paper but I am perfect for composting.


Landfill
Please take me to your local REUSE store or drop box so I can have a second life with someone else or be RECYCLED into insulation for homes. If you don't have time, put me in the trash.


Landfill
Even if I am made of metal and plastic, I belong in the trash because I coil around and break the machinery used to sort your mixed recycling.



Landfill or Compost
Depending on your city, I belong in the trash or green cart for composting. I never belong in recycling; I ruin paper and cardboard so they can't be recycled.


Special Handling
I am special because I contain materials that are potentially hazardous when thrown in the landfill! Check with your city, hauler, or household hazardous waste facility for safe, local, disposal options near you.

Special Handling
Hazardous is in my name because if I am not managed properly I am dangerous. Check with your city or county for a drop off site near you so that I can be managed safely.


Special Handling
I don't want to prick you! Contact your local pharmacy or household hazardous waste facility for safe, local, disposal options near you.

Landfill
I belong in the trash. Like cords and wires, I break the machines used to sort recyclables.


Landfill
Put me in the trash. Disposable diapers do not compost or recycle. If you want to REDUCE waste, use cloth diapers.

Landfill
I belong in the trash. Or REUSE ceramics to make a mosaic for your home or garden.



Special Handling
Try not to use me but if you do, REUSE me as a trash can liner or lunch bag. Check if your city has a bags in bag program or take me back to the grocery store to be RECYCLED.


Landfill
I belong in the trash along with other bags that fuse together foil, paper or plastic. REDUCE waste by buying bulk and packing snacks in reusable containers.


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