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Recycling Right: What Materials Are Actually Accepted

Group of Children Gathering Recyclable ItemsAs a Boston renter, you may be thinking about what you can do to live more sustainably. For several people, sustainable living begins with recycling plastic, cardboard, or other materials. Though what various people don’t perceive is that not all of these materials can be recycled. Just because something is made up of plastic, glass, metal, or cardboard doesn’t imply that it is recyclable. And placing non-recyclable items into a recycling bin is a great waste of time for you and the processing center, too. Here are just a few practical guides to aid you to recycle the right way.


To identify which plastic materials are recyclable and which aren’t, experts advise going by container shape. Generally, plastic bottles, jugs, jars, and tubs can be recycled. Just ensure to rinse out and dry each container prior to putting it in the recycling bin.

In addition, the list of plastic items that cannot be recycled is fairly long–and various kinds may amaze you. For instance, plastic utensils, and straws are not recyclable, but on the contrary, most plastic food containers and water bottles are. Other items that cannot be recycled include Styrofoam, plastic shower curtains, syringes, and medical waste.

Moreover, plastic shopping bags, shrink wrap, and other kinds of plastic wrap should not be sent to your recycling center. These items clog up the machines and just end up in the landfill anyway. Rather, they can typically be recycled separately at drop-off locations in grocery stores. Also, do not put recycling in bags – the bag will produce problems and dilemmas at the processing center.


Recycling glass can be a little bit more difficult than most people suppose, only because processing centers don’t accept many types of glass. In certain places, the centers don’t accept any glass at all. In others, only certain types of glass are accepted. Make sure to verify the guidelines at your local processing center just before putting glass items in the bin.

On the other hand, some varieties of glass are just not recyclable at all. These involve windows and mirrors, eyeglasses, vases, oven-safe ceramic cookware or dishes, and fluorescent light tubes. Since this stuff has been treated with coatings or contains hazardous chemicals, it cannot be safely recycled and may be disposed of in other forms.


Same as with glass, not all processing centers can accept metal for recycling. Generally, if you have metal items you’d want to recycle, you’ll need to see a place specializing in metal recycling. Various regular processing centers will not allow metals like car parts, propane cylinders, aerosol cans, clothes hangers, and so on.

Likewise, old televisions and electronics cannot just be transported to your local recycling center. The electronic components of these items make them more and more complex than many recycling centers can deal with. On the other hand, try to go in search of a local electronics shop that will receive your old electronics. Certain companies will take your old electronics, including cell phones and tablets, that are damaged or no longer desired.

Cardboard, Paper, and Wood

Countless sorts of cardboard, paper, and wood can be safely recycled, while others should be thrown in the trash bin instead. Newspapers, notebook paper, and magazines are all accepted at various processing centers. The same happens for flattened packing boxes, cereal boxes, and food delivery boxes. Untreated wood items are also commonly okay, dependent on what items your local recycling center can take.

But still, it’s significant to note that certain cardboard, paper, and wood types are not recyclable. This covers grease-soaked pizza boxes (a little bit of oil is okay), waxed paper cartons, and treated wood, consisting of painted or stained furniture. Books and some types of paper are also definitely not recyclable, so it’s necessary to separate your paper items securely before placing them in your bin.


As a renter, you can accomplish a lot to aid your community by recycling correctly. However, if your current neighborhood doesn’t aid your ultimate desire for more sustainability, Real Property Management Boston can help! You can check out our listings online or call at 617-522-0099.

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