CSWD > How to Recycle in Chittenden County > Blue Bin Recycling

Recycling bin loaded with mixed recyclables.

Recyclable items have real value—if they’re prepared correctly. Companies that buy recyclable items have requirements about the condition of the materials that they accept. If we don’t prepare material to meet their requirements, they won’t take it.

General Rules

Empty, clean, and dry

All items should be empty, clean & dry. You don’t need to scrub out every container; just rinse it clean. Keep paper & cardboard out of the rain as much as possible. And don’t recycle an item with stuck-on food. If you don’t remove the food, that item is trash.

At least 2 inches

All items must be at least 2″ in two directions. Items like straws or airplane toiletries are too small (they can fall through gaps in our equipment and contaminate the glass stream).

What to Recycle

PLASTIC containers & packaging

Recycle rigid, single-use plastic containers & packaging only. Soda & water bottles, laundry detergent bottles, yogurt tubs, plastic milk jugs, etc. can all be recycled in your blue bin or cart.Things that don’t belong:

  • No Styrofoam
  • No bags or other filmy plastic
  • No durable plastic (e.g. toys, housewares, etc.)
  • No motor oil or hazardous waste containers
  • No black plastic

METAL cans & foil

Recycle metal cans & foil only. Soda cans, beer cans, steel vegetable cans, pet food tins, foil pie pans, food-grade aerosol cans, and 2″ or larger balls of aluminum foil can all be recycled in your blue bin or cart.Things that don’t belong:

  • No other metal objects
  • No propane tanks
  • No hazardous waste containers



Shipping boxes, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, tissue boxes, etc. can all be recycled in your blue bin or cart.

Things that don’t belong:

  • No wax- or plastic-coated cardboard
  • No milk, juice, or soup cartons


Office paper, mail (including window envelopes), newspapers, and magazines can all be recycled in your blue bin or cart.

Things that don’t belong:

  • No paper cups
  • No padded envelopes
  • No paper towels or napkins
  • No milk, juice, or soup cartons

GLASS bottles & jars

Recycle glass bottles & jars only. Wine bottles, beer bottles, soda bottles, olive jars, etc. can all be recycled in your blue bin or cart. Things that don’t belong:

  • No drinking glasses or dishes
  • No pane glass
  • No broken bottles or jars


Item or MaterialExamples/DescriptionPreparation
Glass bottles and jarsFood and beverage containers only. (Ex: wine bottles, salsa jars, etc.) Single-use only - No Pyrex or drinking glass cups that are designed for multiple uses.Rinse clean and re-cap. Neck rings and labels ok.
Metal cansFood and beverage cans only (Ex: soup cans, beer cans, pet food tins) Single-use only – No pots and pans, or other metal containers designed for multiple uses.Rinse and put lids inside cans
Aerosol cansFood and beverage cans (Ex: whipped cream and cooking spray) and bathroom products (Ex: hair spray and deodorant spray). Must be empty. Do not puncture. No hazardous materials like spray paint. Learn what to do with these items.
AluminumFoil and pie platesFoil must be rolled into at least a 2” ball. Pie plates must be rinsed clean.
Plastic containers, tubs, jugs, bottles and packagingContainers for foods (Ex: yogurt, sour cream, etc.), beverages (Ex: soda bottle, milk jug, etc.), beauty (shampoo bottle, deodorant, face wash, etc.), and cleaning products & detergents (laundry detergent, dishwashing fluid, etc.)Rinse clean and re-cap. No black plastic. Labels are ok. No automotive fluid or hazardous waste bottles. Learn what to do with these items.

Paper & Cardboard

Item or MaterialExamples/DescriptionPreparation
NewspaperAll sections (glossy okay)Remove any plastic, do not tie with string
Magazines, catalogs, soft-cover books and glossy paperGlossy paper, glue- or staple-bound publications, paperback books, phone books, brochures, flyers etc.Remove any plastic, do not tie with string
White & colored paperpaper, letterhead, copy paper, file folders, index cards, brochures, construction paper, wrapping paper & gift cardsRemove paper clips, staples ok
Envelopes and opened mailenvelopes with windows okayremove any non-paper items (plastic cards, stickers, etc.)
Paper bagsAll colorsRemove plastic or twine handles
Boxboardcereal boxes, 6- and 12-pack beverage carriers, shoe boxes, paper egg cartons, tissue boxes, paper towel and toilet paper cores, frozen food boxesNo milk, ice cream, soup or juice cartons. (When liquid-y food is being held in the boxboard, it soaks in and contaminates the material.)
Corrugated cardboardAny boxes with a wavy center sectionFlatten and cut to 2 feet by 2 feet for curbside collection. Up to one cubic yard accepted at no charge at CSWD Drop-Off Centers), up to 4 feet by 4 feet in size
Shredded paperConfidential documentsMust be contained in a CLEAR plastic bag.