Items not listed on the City of East Lansing’s recycling guidelines as “acceptable” are considered trash (for recycling purposes) and if they cannot be reused or repurposed, they should be placed into the trash carts. Trash items contaminate the recycling stream, which is meant to be clean, residue-free and only made up of items meant for recycling curbside (paper, plastics, glass, etc.). Common trash items we see making their way into the recycling stream include plastic cutlery (wash and reuse), dirty pizza boxes (tear apart the clean cardboard for recycling), frozen food containers and more.
If I can't put it in the curbside recycling bin, where can it go?
If an item cannot be reused, repurposed or recycled, a good waste mantra to follow is “when in doubt, throw it out!” If it is not recyclable based on our guidelines, you should put the item into the trash cart. Wish-cycling – or placing something in the recycling bin in hopes that it is recyclable – is a major cause of recycling contamination. Some items may have recyclable symbols on them but are not accepted by our processor. Be sure that your item is accepted before placing it in the recycling bin.