As we give thanks with family and friends, we also increase our waste by more than 25 percent! We’ve put together a simple Thanksgiving Waste Guide to recycle as much as possible:
Aluminium Foil, Trays and Pans: Remove ALL food/liquids and recycle in your single stream bin (a tiny bit of residue is OK but scrape any chunks you can with a spatula and empty all liquids). For foil, crumple up in a ball to help our equipment recognize it.
Vegetable Cans and Other Tin Cans: Remove ALL food/liquids and recycle in your single stream bin.
Plastic Food Tubs (Sour Cream, etc): Remove ALL food/liquids and recycle in your single stream bin.
Glass Food Jars (Gravy, Pickles, Jams, etc): Remove ALL food/liquids and recycle in your single stream bin.
Aerosol Food Cans (Whipped Cream): Empty ALL food contents and recycle in your single stream bin.
Beverage Glass and Plastic Bottles: Recycle these! Just empty the liquid and remove the cap first.
Beverage Cans: Recycle these! Just empty the liquid.
Disposable Plates: Usually trash, but if COMPLETELY clean of food and liquid and truly made of ONLY paper (no plastic film or layer – think of the hard surface on the top of the plate- that is a plastic coating), you can recycle in your single stream bin.
Disposable Silverware: DO NOT RECYCLE! These types of plastics are not recyclable, reuse as much as possible for all your snacks, meal and dessert, and then throw away.
Napkins, Paper Towels and Tissues: DO NOT RECYCLE! These cannot be recycled, click here to learn why. They may be composted though if you want to keep them out of the trash! Otherwise, these belong in the trash bin.
Other Paper Waste from Cooking: Usually trash, but if truly made of ONLY paper (no plastic film or layer), recycle in your single stream bin. Make sure no food residue or liquids have contaminated it.
Other Plastic Waste from Cooking: All plastic bottles, tubs and jugs can be recycled if clean of food residue (see our guide on how clean is clean). Any type of plastic film like saran wrap or ziplock bags, if clean, can be included in your tied bag of plastic bags to recycle! Any type of plastic that’s not a bottle, tub, jug or film… throw away.
Leftover Food: DO NOT RECYCLE! Food contaminates everything in your recycling bin, the recycling truck and the recycling facility! Instead, donate your delicious leftovers to families that will enjoy it through a local food pantry, or save them in your fridge or freezer to enjoy later.
Food Scraps: DO NOT RECYCLE! Try composting food scraps to keep them out of your trash. Otherwise, these belong in the trash bin.
Decorations: DO NOT RECYCLE! Decorations like ceramic turkeys, candles, plastic flowers, etc are often made of non-recyclable material or a mix of many materials. These can either be donated to a thrift store, saved for future use, or belong in the trash if broken. Remember, the only plastics that can be recycled are bottles, tubs, jugs and bags; the only glass that can be recycled is bottles and Jars.
Table Cloths: DO NOT RECYCLE! Cloth or fabric is NOT recyclable, instead donate to a thrift store so it can be reused. Plastic table cloths have many different additives/chemicals added to them that make them water resistant and cannot be recycled. These belong in the TRASH.