What Products Can be Recycled and How to Recycle Them

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What can be Recycled?

Recycling is a great way to protect our environment, but many people do not know which products can be recycled. Products such as paper, plastic, computer printers and printer ink cartridges, batteries, glass, toxics, automobile tires, aluminum, motor oil, steel and refrigerators can be recycled. Some products such as batteries and motor oil are a bit harder to recycle than the rest so they require special circumstances.


Plastic is one of the most important products to recycle because if it is not recycled it just sits in landfills forever. When recycling plastic it is important to check the markers on the bottom of the container and separate different types of plastic accordingly. Not all types of plastic can be recycled so it is important to contact your local recycling agency and ask what types of plastic they will accept for recycling.

Metal & Glass

Glass, steel (also tin) and aluminum are easy to recycle. When it comes to glass it is encouraged to recycle whole, clear glass and avoid recycling glass that is mixed color or broken. Mixed colored glass can rarely be reused and broken glass can be difficult to sort through. Aluminum cans will be be marked with a “C” so they are easy to distinguish from cans made from other materials. Aluminum foil can also be recycled as long as it is not completely burned from activities such as barbecuing. Steel and tin is also accepted for recycling. Common steel and tin cans are soup and vegetable cans. It is important not to mix steel and aluminum cans because this can damage equipment in recycling plants.


Paper is a major product to recycle. Most types of paper are able to be recycled as long as it is clean and dry. Paper products such as white office paper, newspapers and phone books are acceptable forms of paper to recycle. Corrugated cardboard can also be recycled, but not all areas will accept it. To recycle cardboard it is important to remove all tape and other non-cardboard components. It is also important to remember that cardboard that has things such as greasy pizza stains will not be accepted.


Refrigerators, microwave ovens, heat pumps and air conditioners are important to recycle because many of them contain freon and freon is very harmful to the environment. It is important to drain and recycle the freon before recycling the machine. Many places will do this for you and they will also haul away the item.


Recycling old car batteries is important and easy. Most states allow old car batteries to be taken to a local scrap yard for recycling or they provide a service to pick them up. The same goes for old car tires and motor oil. Many oil-change shops will also accept motor oil for recycling.


Computer printers and their ink cartridges can be easily recycled. Many places will take these items for recycling and some will even pick them up. It is recommended to remove the ink cartridges from the printer prior to recycling.

Recycling these products makes a major difference in the environment. Knowing what products to recycle and how to recycle them is essential. All states provide information on what products they recycle and can be contacted for a list.