Have a Recycling Question?  Consult the RTS website, with its many details about what can and cannot be recycled, and check out our FAQs below.  When in doubt, avoid contamination in the recyclables, and put the item in the trash.

Still have a question?  Submit it at the bottom of the page, and we’ll get the answer for you.

Recycling FAQs: Use the search box to filter the list

CategoryQuestionAnswer
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersShould caps and lids be left on plastic bottles and milk jugs?Yes. Caps and lids from all plastic bottles and jugs may now be LEFT ON for recycling.
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersShould metal lids be left on jars and glass bottles?
Yes, leave the lids on. Make sure the jar/bottle is clean. Labels do not have to be removed.
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersI bought some fruit in a clear plastic container that has no recycling number. Can I recycle it?
No, because it has no number. Unless the food container has a Recycling Symbol/Number 1-7, (and is clean), it is trash and cannot be recycled.
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersHow clean do recyclables need to be?
Food residue should be removed. For many bottles and jars, a quick rinse is adequate. (To save water, use leftover dishwashing water.) If there is sticky residue, swish the water around inside or use a brush or rag to remove the residue. If you can't clean the container, it's better to throw it away.
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersMy tennis ball container has a recycling number. Is it recyclable?No. Tennis ball containers are trash, not recyclable. In order to be recyclable, a container must have a number, and it should be a container for food, beverages, or household products such as shampoo, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap. An exception: Plastic flower pots that have been cleaned out are also recyclable (but flimsy plastic pots should be disposed of as trash). Not recyclable: tape dispensers, dental floss dispensers, plastic packaging for non-food products like watches.
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersI see that the RTS accepts large plastic items for recycling such as laundry baskets, trash barrels, recycling bins, lawn furniture, plastic children's toys, 5 gallon pails, pet carriers. Where is the container located where I can drop off those items?Bulky plastics recyclables may be placed in the open-top, bright blue bin across from the scrap metal pile, next to a yellow cardboard recycling container. (Do not put bulky plastic items in with the commingled recyclables.) As a rule, bulky rigid plastic should be one single type of plastic -- look for the triangle recycling symbol with the number 1, 2, 4, or 5 inside the triangle. Things like PVC pipe, garden hoses, CD cases, or a kid’s car seat are not acceptable. For more information, see "Plastic - Large Items" on the RTS website or ask an RTS staff member.
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersCan I recycle my small pill bottles?No. Please put them in the trash.
Glass, Metal & Plastic Household ContainersI have tea tins and cookie tins (i.e., the round butter cookie tins). Do these go in scrap metal or should I put them in commingle with the regular tin cans? These specialty tins should go in the scrap metal section in the North Area.
Mixed PaperCan I recycle paperboard boxes from frozen food, like veggie burgers or frozen pizza?No, frozen food packaging is not recyclable, because the paper is coated with plastic to prevent it from getting soggy.
Mixed PaperCan I recycle paper coffee cupsNo. To make them leak resistant, they are coated with plastic that is tightly bonded to the paper. Please put them in the trash. You can avoid paper cups by bringing your own reusable travel mug or asking for a mug if you are going to drink your coffee at the cafe.
Mixed PaperCan I put shredded paper in with mixed paper at the RTS?Yes, you can include shredded paper in the mixed paper bin at the RTS. If you use a private hauler, however, you should check with them -- they may not want shredded paper in the single stream recycling.
Mixed PaperI get advertising cards in the mail that feel plastic coated. Can I put them in mixed paper?No, plastic coated cards are not recyclable. If you're not sure, try tearing the card. If it's plastic coated it won't tear easily.
Corrugated CardboardHow do I know if a box is made of corrugated cardboard?Corrugated cardboard has three layers. The outside layers are flat the middle layer is wavy or ruffled.
Corrugated CardboardSometimes I put corrugated cardboard in with the mixed paper in the green bins. Is this OK?No. It is more valuable than mixed paper, so it should be separated. Flatten the corrugated cardboard and put it in the yellow container just for corrugated cardboard.

Don't find the information you need? Submit your question in the box and Green Needham will check with the RTS and get back to you.

Share