The University of Toledo Office of Sustainability


After all other waste minimization options have been used, disposal is the last resort. Proper waste management is important to avoid contamination and to reduce the amount of waste that will end up in landfills. We often talk about all the things that we can recycle. Lets look at a list of a few common products that cannot be recycled. Products that cannot be recycled should be disposed of for proper waste management.

1. Anything With a Glossy, Plastic Coating: (paper coffee cups, shopping receipts, juice boxes, zip-lock bags, candy wrappers, chip bags, etc.). cups

2. Plastic Grocery Bags: Plastic grocery bags cannot be put into the recycling bins as they require different processing equipment. You can recycle plastic grocery bags by taking them to retail locations that collect them such as Target, Walmart, or Goodwill.

3. Anything With Food Sticking To It: Materials stained with food contaminate the recycling system process and jam up the machines used in recycling facilities. This can be avoided by taking out the greasy bottom layer of a pizza box or by rinsing out used jars or take out containers. Items that cannot be rinsed should be thrown into the trash (paper towels, napkins).  Pizza box
4. Foam Polystyrene: Foam polystyrene is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam. It is the foam packaging used for shipping products.  packing peanuts

5. When In Doubt, Throw It Out: If you do not know if a product can be recycled, and you do not have time to look up the proper waste management procedure in your area, just throw it into the disposal bin. Recycling is only effective if it is done right. When an item is thrown into the recycling bin that cannot be recycled, it is called contamination. Contaminated items hamper sorting facilities, reduce commodity prices and affect remanufacturing markets leading to lost production time and increased labor costs.

landfill disposal

Last Updated: 6/27/22