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Recycling Cheat Sheet

America Recycles Day: November 15

Did you know that since 1980, the recycling rate in America has gone from less than 10% to 35%?[1]

As more people make the commitment to recycle, we move closer toward the goal of reducing waste and conserving energy and natural resources.

But did you also know there’s a right way and a wrong way to recycle? Before you throw something in the recycle bin, be sure to follow these recycling best practices.

Recycling guidelines vary by location. Check with your local recycling authority FIRST!


Items should be clean and dry, or they may contaminate the other materials and end up in the landfill.

Do you want to recycle other items that aren’t listed here? has an expanded list of materials and recycling guidelines for each.


November 15 is America Recycles Day: a day to learn more, motivate others, and participate in recycling initiatives in your community. Whether you’re already a dedicated recycler or just starting out, take the pledge to up your recycling game and find an event near you at

Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve than any other time of year.[4] That’s an extra 1 million tons of garbage per week! Reduce your waste this holiday season with these tips:

  • Send holiday cards made from recycled paper

  • Bring reusable bags when you shop, or reuse/recycle shopping bags from the store

  • Buy sustainably made gifts or gifts that don’t require wrapping

  • Use recycled wrapping paper, and save used wrapping paper for next year

  • Swap plastic bows for reusable cloth ribbons

  • Recycle your Christmas tree — don’t throw it in the trash!


When we all commit to reduce, reuse, and recycle, our individual efforts add up to a much larger impact. Let’s do our part and make a difference — together.



[1] EPA, Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2015 Fact Sheet

[2] EPA, Municipal Solid Waste Infographic

[3] EPA, America Recycles Day

[4] Stanford University, Frequently Asked Questions: Holiday Waste Prevention.

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