Here’s a list of everything you can and can’t recycle in Connecticut.

Connecticut’s recycling program is in trouble and those problems are already costing local taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

One of the troubles is that residents continue to attempt to recycle things that shouldn’t be put in recycling bins. Items like single-use plastic bags and broken glass screw up sorting machines at recycling centers, costing time and adding to repair expenses.

Many non-recyclable items, such as prescription drug containers and mini-plastic bottles, are so small that they jam up sorting machines. Other materials, such as Styrofoam of any type, simply can’t be recycled with current technology. Those materials should be put in with regular garbage, which can be burned to generate electricity.

State and local officials and garbage hauling companies are continuing their attempts to educate consumers about what should and should not be put in those blue recycling bins. You can double check on what should or should not be recycled on the state’s website.

Plastic bags

Single-use plastic shopping bags shouldn’t be put in with other recycling. They can be returned to many grocery and retail stores that now have special separate containers for plastic bag recycling, or thrown away with regular garbage to be burned.

Broken glass, window glass, mirrors, light bulbs
Ceramics, appliances

Items like ceramic dishes, toasters, and irons must not be put in recycling bins.

Non-food aerosol cans

Aerosol spray cans used for non-food products such as bug spray and spray paint should not be recycled. Food aerosol cans such as those for vegetable spray or whipped cream that have any food left in them are also banned from recycling bins.

Prescription drug containers
Knives, syringes, needles
Household waste

Paper towels, tissue, sanitary products and other regular trash cannot be recycled.

Wax paper, wrapping paper, shredded paper
Dog and cat food bags
Greasy cardboard containers

While pizza boxes that are free of any food residue or heavy grease can be recycled, any cardboard pizza or take-out containers contaminated with any grease, oil or food remnants are prohibited.

Toxic fluid containers

Any bottles or cans that contained antifreeze, pesticides, motor oil, paint, household cleaners or other toxic materials must not be recycled.

Separate plastic container caps

Do not put separate plastic caps from containers for milk, soda or any other liquid in recycling unless they are screwed on to the original container.

Scrap metal

Metal pieces that aren’t part of any container, such as wire coat hangers, should not be put in recycling.

What materials are recyclable?
Clean food and beverage containers

All cardboard, glass or aluminum containers including and milk containers must be cleaned and rinsed before being put in recycling bins. Cardboard and clear plastic egg containers can be recycled if they are clean.

Empty food aerosol cans

As long as they are completely empty, such spray cans may be recycled.

Unbroken glass containers

Items that include wine and liquor bottles, glass storage jars and juice bottles can be recycled after being washed and rinsed.


Including newspapers, junk mail, magazines, catalogs, cereal boxes, office paper can be recycled.

Corrugated cardboard

Should be folded flat and no larger than 2 feet by 3 feet in size.

Plastic containers

Soda, juice, shampoo and other plastic containers can be recycled once they are washed and rinsed.