What Recyclables Can Become

Just about anything in your home, office, or school that cannot be reused CAN be recycled into something else and used for many years.

Today a plastic bottle may contain juice or soda… but what it can become after you use it may surprise you!

Aluminum, Tin, and Steel

Aluminum foil, baking trays, cans, bottle caps and more can be recycled over and over without losing its quality or strength. Aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials on the market today! However, nearly $1 billion worth of aluminum is thrown away every year in the US.

What can they become?
  • Appliances
  • Bicycles
  • Airplane parts
  • Automotive parts
  • Building parts
  • Rebar
  • Wire and tubing
  • New cans and more
Rinse off food, sauces, and juices – washing isn’t necessary. Often items aren’t processed immediately at the recycling facility, so this helps prevent odors, mold, and rodents, which cause contamination.


The best way to recycle cardboard is to re-use or re-purpose it. Boxes are great for storage, packing groceries, or arts and crafts activities – endless possibilities for children – magic castles, pretend cars, fortresses, and whatever else their imagination has in store.

What can they become?
  • Paper
  • Paper bags
  • Sound-proofing material
  • Insulation
  • Paperboard
  • New cardboard and more
Keep cardboard recycling clean of food scraps, polystyrene, and plastic, which can contaminate the recycling process. Cardboard can be recycled up to 5 times, after which point it can still be used as compost or animal bedding.


Like aluminum, glass can be repeatedly recycled without losing its quality or strength. Glass is one of the longest-lasting man-made materials – great for recycling but not for the landfill. It’s estimated that it takes 1 million years for a glass bottle to decompose in the environment.

What can they become?
  • Countertops
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Flooring
  • Bricks
  • Highway marking beads
  • Landscaping stones
  • New bottles, jars and more
Fortunately, almost all glass containers are produced using some recycled material. In fact, green glass bottles generally contain about 70% recycled material! However, only 33% of post-consumer glass is currently being recycled in the US, so a lot more needs to be done to prevent glass from piling up in landfills.


Office paper, paperboard, magazines, newspaper, junk mail, and more can be recycled in your green recycling cart. Shredded paper cannot be recycled at the curb, however you can have your confidential documents shredded and recycled during the City’s semi-annual Shred for a Paws Cause.

What can they become?
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Toilet paper and tissues
  • Greeting cards
  • Egg cartons
  • Sheetrock
  • Kitty litter
  • Books
  • New paper, paperboard and more
Paper waste accounts for 40% of all waste in the US, and paper production contributes significantly to deforestation, as well as air, water, and land pollution. Avoid getting paper wet, as this significantly reduces the recycling market. Empty your cans, bottles, etc. before tossing them in the recycling cart so they don’t drain on your paper.


Milk Jugs & Other Plastic Containers – Bottles and containers used for milk, shampoo, laundry detergent, and household cleaners are lightweight and tough – but they usually are made from a different type of plastic than beverage bottles.

What can they become?
  • Playground equipment
  • Plastic lumber
  • Picnic tables
  • Lawn furniture
  • Recycling bins
  • New bottles, containers and more

Plastic Bags, Films, and Wraps – Although these are not accepted at the curb – dry-cleaning bags, bread bags, bubble wrap, and wraps from paper towels, bathroom tissue, diapers, and more can be recycled at many grocery and retail stores.

What can they become?
  • Plastic lumber
  • Backyard decks
  • Park benches
  • Fences
  • Playground equipment
  • New plastic bags and more

Beverage Bottles – Plastic bottles used for soft drinks, juice, and water are convenient when you’re out and about… but a recycling bin may not be. Resist the temptation to toss it in the trash, there are so many new things it can become!

What can they become?
  • T-shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Fleece jackets
  • Insulation for jackets and sleeping bags
  • Carpeting
  • New bottles and more

Plastic Bottle Caps – Even though they’re made with a different type of plastic than the bottles, the caps should be put back on bottles before you toss them in recycling bins.

What can they become?
  • Car batteries
  • Garden rakes
  • Storage containers
  • Reusable shopping bags
  • Brooms
  • Yarn and ropes
  • New bottle caps and more

Additional Information

What can be recycled curbside and at the Recycling Center?

How to dispose of paint and household chemicals

Back to top