A Quick-and-Simple List of Things That Can and Cannot Be Recycled

August 12, 2020

Recycling offers both environmental and economic benefits. By reducing the need to extract resources for production, it’s possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and preserve fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change, which threatens human habitats and may cause several species to become extinct. Recycling benefits the economy by creating jobs and reducing the cost of products.


Consumers money by recycling materials because they do not need to pay to dispose of those items. You may benefit financially and can help support the environment and economy by determining which items don't need to go to a landfill.


Recyclable Items

Recyclable items are items that are repurposed and reused. Facilities exist where the item can be recycled.



In 2016, electronic devices accounted for 44.7 tons of waste, and 80% of these devices were not disposed of properly. By repurposing electronics, it’s possible to significantly reduce the volume of deposited materials in landfills and enjoy the economic benefits of repurposing the functional components of those products.


Electronics companies, such as The Store, specialize in offering refurbished electronics for reduced prices. They refurbish digital cameras, smartphones, computers, e-readers, tablets, televisions, video game components, speakers, headphones, and smartwatches. All products are inspected to ensure they are in proper working order. These products are cleaned and certified as restored products. Restored electronics come with a one-year warranty, which allows consumers to save money on the purchase price with the peace of mind that comes from knowing they don’t have to worry about paying for costly repairs or acquiring a product that doesn’t work.


Scrap Metal

Scrap metal specialists, such as commercial scrap metal recycling in Mobile, AL, provide a convenient way to repurpose metals such as copper, zinc, lead, iron, bronze, and tin. Whether you have an old vehicle, you need to dispose of or buckets of tin cans, you will be able to safely dispose of those items at a scrap metal center and know that the materials will be repurposed. Some scrap metal dealers pay for donations.



Cardboard boxes are used to ship merchandise and package products. Recycling cardboard is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce the volume of waste in landfills. When cardboard is recycled, it can be used to produce chipboard, which is used to produce light boxes. For example, cereal boxes are made from chipboard. Cardboard can also be safely processed and converted into tissues, paper towels, and paper.



Non-Recyclable Items

Non-recyclable items cannot be reused safely. This is usually because of a lack of facilities where the items can be safely repurposed. It’s essential to check with your local plant to determine whether your recycling center can process the items listed here, because some facilities may be equipped for these materials.




Many everyday products are made of plastic. Unfortunately, not all plastic materials are recyclable. Some plants will take bubble wrap, while others will not. Ask before donating plastic shopping bags, plastic toys, hangers, and storage bins.


Styrofoam and Mirrors

Styrofoam isn’t biodegradable and cannot be repurposed easily. Mirrors are not recyclable because of the coating on the glass. Mirrors must be disposed of with regular waste.



Some plants can process rechargeable batteries and car batteries, but most plants are not equipped to handle batteries of any kind. There are mail-in programs that may accept single-use batteries.


Power Cords

The components inside your power cords are recyclable, but these items usually need to be separated before being repurposed. Some plants will not take cords, but plants that specialize in repurposing electronics may accept cords.

Aerosol Cans

Aerosol cans are considered hazardous because of the pressurized air inside the can. It doesn’t matter if they dispensed hairspray or whipped cream; many plants do not accept aerosol cans.

I am a professional writer and editor with a rich history of writing experiences. In the past, I've worked for glossy magazines, branding agencies, creative institutions, architectural and design firms, nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and health foundations.

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