Green Thought Thursday: The Rules of Recycling

By Posted in - Sustainability on November 10th, 2011

Our giant recycling bin at the Longview Center -- a thing of beauty!

Green Thought Thursday is a regular feature all about the baby steps we can take to protect our Mother Earth.

I can’t tell you how many Post-it Notes I’ve picked out of recycling bins. Hundreds, at least.  And no, it’s not because I have some weird obsession with them (though, we do love them at Clairemont). It’s because in the city of Raleigh and everywhere else, you cannot recycle them.


I think you’d be surprised to learn what you can and cannot recycle here in Raleigh — I know I  was. And that’s why I wanted to dedicate this Green Thought Thursday to listing those things out. According to the Raleigh Recycling Division, you can recycle the following:

  • Newspapers and inserts
  • White and colored paper (that’s not too bright)
  • Open junk mail
  • Old phone books
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Paperboard, chipboard, SBS board and tubes (think cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, shipping tubes, etc.)
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Glass bottles and containers
  • Plastic items (coded No. 1-5 and No. 7)
  • Plastic bottles with a neck (soda bottles, peanut butter jars, laundry detergant bottles)
  • Gable-top cartons (milk cartons and the like)
  • Juice boxes
  • Aluminum foil and food trays (that are clean!)
  • Plastic beverage rings
  • Cans, of course!

Things you cannot recycle:

  • Post-it Notes (and other paper with adhesive backing)
  • Bold- or neon-colored paper
  • Paper with staples
  • Checkbooks or books
  • Carbon paper
  • Napkins, tissues or paper towels
  • Plastic bags
  • Boxes with wax coatings
  • Aerosol cans
  • Auto batteries
  • Containers that once contained hazardous materials (like fertilizers, auto fluids, etc.)
  • Egg cartons
  • Non-food cans and non-food glass containers
  • Pizza boxes
  • Frozen food trays
  • Containers made of thin, brittle plastic (these can really mess up the sorting process)

For a more complete list, visit the Raleigh Recyling Division’s website by clicking here. The site also does a great job of listing out alternative drop-off locations for your unwanted items so that they won’t end up in a landfill. A final thought from our friends there: “You can help recycling markets by buying products MADE from recycled materials. We have to close the loop, BUY RECYCLED!”

What are some of your favorite post-consumer recycled products? We sure do love our Staples recycled copy paper (and we don’t even mind paying a little extra for it)!



(2) awesome comment(s)...

  • Kate Payne - Reply

    November 11, 2011 at 8:45 am

    It still pains me to have to trash colored paper (especially Post-It-Notes!), Solo cups and frozen dinner trays.

  • Dana Hughens - Reply

    November 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Well that sure does clarify some things! Where is my staple remover?

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