Don’t toss that out: Here are common recyclable items

There’s a right way to recycle

A city of Orlando recycling container downtown. (Image: Homer Salcedo/WKMG)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Deciding to recycle is just the first step in trying to be a conscious consumer. The next step is recycling items correctly.

Cities in Central Florida encourage people to recycle to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills. City officials stress that only certain items qualify for recycling, and residents who recycle incorrectly could jeopardize a neighborhood’s efforts and result in all of the items being tossed in the trash anyway. Officials encourage people to use the “Think 5” strategy which focuses on the top five recyclable items: plastic, metal, glass containers, cardboard and paper.

Read below to see what items can be recycled under the Think 5 method.


Common paper, newspaper, magazines and office paper can be recycled. The key is that they can’t be contaminated with food, liquid or other waste or it will be considered mix recycling.

Some cities also include paper bags, milk and juice cartons and cereal boxes as paper due to its material.

Shredded paper, paper plates and gift wrap is not recyclable and should be tossed in the trash.


If you order a lot of packages or need to toss out cardboard boxes, make sure to recycle them.

Most municipalities require boxes to be flattened before being tossed in the recycling bin. These also shouldn’t be wet or damaged with other material as it can harm the cardboard and no longer make it reusable.

This means old pizza boxes, juice boxes or cardboard food containers may be rejected depending on the organization collecting your recycling.

Recycling officials stress styrofoam is not recyclable and should be tossed in a trash bin.


Glass bottles and jars that are intact can also be recycled.

Cracked bottles are often OK, but shattered pieces should be tossed out. If a bottle shatters in the bin, the recycling center or curbside pick up often reserves the right to deny your recycling.

Other glass containers can often be recycled but it is recommended to clean or rinse the items before placing them in your recycling bin as to not contaminate other recyclable material like paper or cardboard.


Various metals can be recycled -- but not all.

Recyclable metals include tin, aluminum, steel and empty aerosol cans.

Batteries cannot be tossed in the recycling bin and cities often have a different process to recycle them. Old pots and pans also cannot be recycled and it is suggested to toss them out.


Plastic containers labeled with a recycling triangle with No. 1 through No. 5 label can be tossed in the recycling bin. Plastic without the recycling triangle and the correct number label is not recyclable and should be tossed in the garbage.

Note, plastic bags, toys, hoses, plastic utensils, plastic hangers or laundry baskets cannot be recycled.

Below are links to a list of acceptable items for recycling and how to recycle in Central Florida counties. Note, rules may vary city-by-city.

Orange County

Seminole County

Osceola County

Flagler County

Volusia County

Brevard County

Lake County

Polk County

Sumter County