If you're like most people, you've been recycling for years. But do you really know what you can and cannot put in your recycle bin and bring out to the curb?

I thought I did, but after looking at the list of non-recyclable items for New Hampshire, I had a few surprises.

Recycling is important not only to the environment, but the three R's of recycling (reduce, reuse, recycle) remind us to reuse first.

The site des.nh.com is a great resource, and that's where I learned about items I might toss into the recycle bin but are actually not recyclable. Another good site is pinardwaste.com.


1.) Clothes hangers are not recyclable, although they can be made of metal.  They have to be aluminum, tin, or metal, and most are not. Whether plastic or metal, they do not go in the recycle bin.

2.) Ceramics and porcelain are not recyclable, though you might think so because they are glass. Not all glass is recyclable.  If it doesn't have a lid or cap, then it goes in the trash.

3.) Pizza boxes should not go in recyclables, especially if they have a lot of grease on them.  Have you ever met an empty pizza box without grease?  Didn't think so.

4.) Certain papers like tissue paper, wax paper, coated paper, and wrapping paper are not recyclable in New Hampshire (or most other states). Birthday or holiday wrapping paper is also a big no.

5.) Plastic bags, styrofoam, bubble wrap, and plastic air pillows should never go into recycling.  Ever.

If you are not sure if an items is recyclable or not, go by this rule of thumb: when in doubt, cut it out (don't recycle it).

Another good habit is rinsing out everything before you throw it into the bin.  It's an extra step, but will make the recycling of the products much more efficient.

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