The Biggest Mistake You're Making When Recycling - San Antonio Magazine

When you’re not sure if that piece of plastic or used bottle is recyclable, throw it away.

That’s the message from the city of San Antonio, which doesn’t want to see plastic hoses, toys or bottles that once contained hazardous cleaning supplies in its blue recycling bins.

The Biggest Mistake You're Making When Recycling - San Antonio Magazine

So, what is recyclable? Cardboard (please flatten), newspapers and magazines, office paper or junk mail, water bottles, plastic cups, empty and cleaned out bath and kitchen bottles (think shampoo and soap containers or ketchup bottles), metal food cans, aluminum cans, glass bottles, and food jars (if recycled without the lid).

Plastic toys and hazardous waste bottles are just a few of the things that often mistakenly end up in the recycling bin. Customers also cannot recycle clothes hangers, aluminum foil, hard plastic (like you’ll find on a car seat), Styrofoam, napkins and paper towels, wood, or garden hoses. Pizza boxes and shredded paper should be placed in green compost bins rather than recycling bins. Diapers always go in the trash—a directive that when not followed can result in a $50 fine. The fee for placing other trash in the recycling bin is $25.

If you’ve placed the wrong item in the wrong bin before, you’re not alone. A 2019 study by the city of San Antonio, found that up to 30 percent of items placed in recycling containers should have been thrown in the trash or in organics bins while over 20 percent of items tossed in the trash could have been recycled.

Have other questions or need to request a recycling bin? Call 3-1-1 or visit