Unacceptable Items & Contaminants

Not everything belongs in your blue bin. Tossing items like plastic bags and clothing in the bin hoping they will be recycled is called "wish-cycling". Placing these unacceptable materials in the blue bin can damage equipment at the recycling facility and pose a danger to workers. Common items to never place in the blue bin include plastic bags (left), tanglers like hoses, chains, cords, clothing and hangers (middle) and plastic shipping materials (right).

Though they can't be recycled in your blue bin, many of the items below can be taken to other facilities. For donation, recycling and proper disposal options, please visit WasteFreeSD.org.
  • Bagged recyclables
    • Only exception is shredded paper - place in a large, clear bag and tie closed
  • Plastic bags, plastic film, and plastic shipping materials 
    • While these CANNOT be placed in your blue bin, they CAN be returned to retailers for recycling. Visit PlasticFilmRecycling.org for more info.  
    • Tip! Shipping materials made of paper, like cardboard boxes (flattened), packing paper and mailing envelopes CAN be placed in your blue bin. 
  • "Tanglers"
    • Hoses, chains, cords, tarps, hangers and tubing
  • Clothes, textiles and hangers (donate)
  • Hazardous materials
    • Batteries, light bulbs, propane tanks, needles/sharps
  • Electronic waste
    • Computers, keyboards, cables, phones, etc.
  • Diapers and pet waste (place in the trash)
  • Organics
    • Untreated wood and yard waste can be placed in your green waste bin and food waste can be composted
  • Scrap metal        



Have a recycling question? Email Recycle@sdcounty.ca.gov or Call the Recycling Hotline: