When it comes to recycling, making sure that items you want to have recycled instead of dumped as trash takes a little bit of work on your part- and there are a few rules you should follow to make the recycling process easier.
Check the number that is stamped on the item. #1 and #2 can be recycled. Type #4 often is if in bag form. #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 need to be discarded. Caps are typically not the same plastic as the bottle and should be tossed if unmarked. Plastic of different polymers cannot be recycled together. Types #2 and #4 in bag form are usually accepted by the store that hands them out and can be returned to collection containers if clean and dry (torn are ok).
Paper fiber can be recycled seven times before it becomes too small to reuse. Because of this it makes sense to recycle paper. Clean dry newspapers can be recycled in large brown paper sacks or tied with plant fiber twine. White office paper can be gathered and recycled- staples are OK but remove tape and sticky items from the stack. If you happen to have a lot of white paper then bundle it separately. Mixed paper including junk mail, magazines, thin boxes, cardboard or phonebooks may be recycled- the major rule is “when in doubt throw it out”. Always ask the recyclers what they will or will not take.
Bottles and Jars should be recycled. Unbroken is best, and sorted by color is appreciated. Clear glass is particularly valued. Make sure you do not include broken glass, ceramics, pyrex, mirrors, window glass, lightbulbs, or tableware. Glass can be recycled over and over again.
Metal should be sorted by type. Any empty metal can should be recycled, as well as lids, caps, bands, and foil. You should consider recycling scrap aluminum from any source- lawn chairs, window frames, pots and pans among other things. Other metals may or may not be accepted, although copper can be worth a lot when taken to the correct recycling program. Do not attempt to recycle full cans, spray cans, or cans that contain hazardous waste or paint.
Various organic items:
things that cannot be accepted by recyclers might be accepted by composters. Some cities have compost pickup, for things like yard waste, ‘paper’ milk cartons, and other similar materials. Think too about making your own compost pile for various kitchen scraps, dryer lint, and similar things. Remember though to not recycle pet or human wastes in any form.
Used Motor oil can and should be recycled- check with the nearest auto parts store to see if they accept used oil. It can be stored in a plastic milk container until such time you return it. Never contaminate used motor oil with other chemicals. Tires and automotive batteries can be recycled too and many times the auto parts store where you purchase a replacement will take the old ones.