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

How to Prepare Blue Bin Recyclables

The CSWD Solid Waste Management Ordinance requires that every resident, business and institution in Chittenden County properly prepare and separate these items from the trash for recycling. Do not put any recyclables in plastic bags except shredded paper (in clear plastic bags).

All of these items can go together in your blue bin:


All items must be minimum 2" on any side. Maximum 2' on any one side. All containers should be rinsed clean.
Item or MaterialExamples/DescriptionPreparation
glass bottles and jarsfood and beverage containers only, no light bulbs, dishes, Pyrex, drinking glasses, window panes, or ceramicsRinse clean and re-cap. Neck rings and labels ok.
metal cansfood and beverage cans only rinse; put lids inside cans
aerosol cansmust be empty; do not punctureput caps in trash
aluminumrinsed cans, foil, and pie plates; no stuck-on foodrinse clean
rigid plastic containers & plastic bottlesBottles, jugs & trays for foods, beverages, beauty, and cleaning products & detergents; dairy tubs (yogurt, sour cream, etc.), 5-gallon pails, take-out containers, flower pots and trays, CD & cassette tape cases.

NO automotive fluid or hazardous waste bottles. Visit this page for disposal of these items.
Rinse clean and re-cap. No black plastic. Labels are OK.

Mixed Paper

All mixed paper should be kept clean & dry. Please take weather and other circumstances into consideration when preparing paper items for collection or storage.
Item or MaterialExamples/DescriptionPreparation
newspaperall sections (glossy okay)remove plastic; do not tie with string; must be kept clean and dry
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; must be kept clean and dry
white & colored paperpaper, letterhead, copy paper, file folders, index cards, brochures, construction paper, wrapping paper & gift cardsremove paper clips, no NCR (no carbon required) paper - staples okay; must be kept clean and dry
envelopes and opened mailenvelopes with windows okayremove any non-paper items (plastic cards, stickers, etc.); must be kept clean and dry
paper bagsany colorremove plastic or twine handles; must be kept clean and dry
boxboardcereal boxes, 6- and 12-pack beverage carriers, shoe boxes, paper egg cartons, tissue boxes, paper towel and toilet paper cores, frozen food boxesmust be kept clean and dry; NO milk or juice cartons, NO drink boxes, NO detergent boxes, NO cartons (juice, milk, or soup), NO ice cream tubs.
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; must be kept clean and dry
shredded paperconfidential documentsMust be contained in a CLEAR plastic bag.