Many of us are required to recycle our trash using a brown bin for garbage, blue bin for paper and green bin for food and yard waste. It make's us feel good, it's easy to get used to doing, however, many of us are recycling improperly. When there is stuff in the wrong bins that shouldn't be there, it makes the market value per ton of recyclables plummet. As long as we are doing it and contributing to our environment, let's do it RIGHT!

Things NOT To Toss In The BLUE (Recyclables) BIN:


For 35+ years, Patty Rogers, Broker Associate, BRE#00669968 at Abio Properties, has been previewing and matching stylish homes to satisfied Bay Area homebuyers and breaking sales records with her listings. She is known for finding and selling unique homes with a "Modicum of Charm" and is a shrewd negotiator who understands how to successfully orchestrate deals.

1. Paper Towels

Dirty paper towels that belong in the trash may contaminate other paper products that can be recycled. They belong in the GREEN (compost) bin with organic waste products; along with paper napkins and tissues.

2. Wrapping Paper

Any paper that is metallic, shiny or laminated, even paper with foil on the reverse side doesn't go in the bin. It's not recyclable and can also contaminate other recyclable paper.

3. Plastic Sandwich Bags

Little sandwich baggies, and snack baggies don't belong in curbside recycling. Otherwise, many grocery stores accept sandwich bags, plastic grocery bags, bread bags and bubble wrap, and even plastic film. Gather your bag of bags and drop them at your markets' plastic bag recycling bin.

4. Metal Paint Cans

The disposal of paint cans are regulated by every state. Leftover paint is toxic and can hurt the environment and shouldn't be mixed with other recyclables. Locate your hazardous materials drop off for paint cans, oil can, household products or chemicals for safe disposal of these hazardous items.

5. Window Glass

Window glass melts at a different temperature than beverage or food containers, so it can't be recycled into new containers. Same for drinking glasses, plates and mirrors. Those belong in the trash.

6. Styrofoam

It sure seems like it should be recyclable, but it isn't. It absorbs food and dirt which can't be removed and is mode from styrene, a petroleum product which makes it hard to break down and its' flammable.

7. Plastic Bottle Caps

The bottle and the cap are made of 2 different types of plastic and many recycling centers take the bottles and not the caps. Throwing the caps in means more resources for the recyclers to sort the items before processing.

Keep up the good work! The San Francisco Bay area is renowned for their successful recycling program and acts as a model for many other communities throughout the United States. You don't need fancy bins to recycle in your home. For your BLUE bin recyclables, use an open plastic bin to discard paper, plastic and glass. For your GREEN bin compost, use a small step can with biodegradable bags for your food waste, coffee grinds, soiled paper towels with yard waste going directly into the big bin. For your Brown Bin, a garbage can does the trick for trash.