This directory of common recycling terms can help with understanding what recycling symbols mean and just what exactly can be recycled. After gaining an understanding of what is recyclable, the next step is to determine where to recycle these various materials.
Your Recyclable Materials Dictionary:
- Used ethylene glycol/water mixtures. There are two types of recycling businesses, those that filter and chemically treat and those that distill.
- Scrap automobiles. Many scrap metal recyclers require that air conditioning gases, batteries, anti-freeze, oil, transmission fluid, gasoline, and tires be removed before accepting vehicles.
- Nylon fibers from used carpet and/or pre-consumer nylon derived from the carpet manufacturing process are recycled to produce new carpet. Carpet backing and nylon can also be recycled into new backing.
- Construction/Demolition (Asphalt Pavement/Shingles):
- Materials containing asphalt or shingles can be used to make new asphalt.
- Construction/Demolition (Concrete):
- Materials containing Portland cement, mineral aggregates (such as sand and gravel) and water; used in the construction of buildings, highways, sidewalks, curbs, and gutters.
- Construction/Demolition (Gypsum/Drywall):
- Material used in wall construction, containing gypsum or calcium sulfate; (wall board).
- Construction/Demolition (Other):
- Miscellaneous waste generated from construction and demolition sites, such as crushed stone and soil, brick, brick rubble, and mortar.
- Cooking Oil:
- Cooking oil or grease, commonly generated by restaurants. It is generally handled by rendering operations for processing into other products.
- Electronics (Computers):
- Recoverable materials include glass (cleansed) from cathode ray tubes (CRTs), circuit boards, computer chips, plastic, precious metals, etc.
- Electronics (Other):
- General appliances such as stereos and stereo components, telephones, facsimile machines, VCRs and other general consumer electronic equipment.
- Electronics (Televisions):
- Recoverable materials include glass from cathode ray tubes, plastic, and precious metals.
- Food preparation wastes and uneaten food from households, commercial establishments, institutions, and industries. Food discards can be donated, used for animal feed, rendered, or composted.
- Glass Containers (Amber):
- Brown or amber colored glass used for beverage containers and food jars.
- Glass Containers (Clear):
- Colorless glass used for glass beverage bottles and food jars. The material is called "flint glass" by the glass industry.
- Glass Containers (Green):
- Green and blue colored glass used for beverage containers.
- Glass Containers (Mixed):
- Mixtures of clear, green, and brown container glass.
- Glass (Other):
- Includes forms of glass not otherwise classified, such as ovenware, drinking glasses, mirror, plate glass with solar shield coatings, etc. These glasses are contaminants to container and window glasses.
- Glass (Plate Glass):
- Window glass.
- Household Hazardous Waste:
- Known as HHW (Household Hazardous Waste), consists of hazardous waste generated by households.
- Ink Jet Cartridges:
- Cartridges can be refilled and reused or the plastic can be recycled.
- Used leather goods or scrap leather can be made into new leather products.
- Lead-Acid Batteries:
- Automotive batteries.
- Unwanted or unused
- Metals (Aluminum Cans):
- Post-consumer aluminum beverage cans.
- Metals (Aluminum Foil):
- Aluminum foil.
- Metals (Ferrous Scrap):
- All scrap iron and low carbon steel, including galvanized steel.
- Metals (Non-Ferrous):
- Includes all scrap aluminum, copper, brass, bronze, and other non-ferrous.
- Metals (Steel Cans):
- Includes steel food, beverage, aerosol and paint cans.
- Metals (White Goods):
- Appliances; these items can no longer be handled simply as scrap metal. Several components, including Freon, PCB-containing capacitors and ballasts, mercury switches, and oil from refrigerant compressors, must be handled according to state and federal regulations.
- Motor Oil:
- Used motor oil; should not be mixed with anything.
- Oil Filters:
- The recommended best management practice for used motor oil filters generated by businesses and institutions is to properly hot-drain and crush the filters to remove as much oil as possible, and then have the oil and metal recycled.
- Paper (Books):
- School or instructional textbooks, consisting of coated bleached sulfite or sulfate papers, printed or unprinted.
- Paper (Cardboard):
- Known as OCC (old corrugated cardboard). OCC is clean cardboard made from unbleached, unwaxed paper with a fluted (corrugated) inner liner. Waxed cardboard, chipboard and foreign corrugated may be contaminants.
- Paper (Cartons - Milk, Juice):
- Milk cartons (gable-top containers) and drink boxes (aseptic packaging).
- Paper (Double-Lined Kraft):
- Known as DLK (double-lined kraft corrugated cuttings). DLK consists of cuttings from corrugated box converting operations.
- Paper (High-Grade Office):
- Sorted white ledger consists of white and colored office paper free of ground wood.
- Paper (Magazines):
- Known as OMG (old magazines). OMG consists of printed and bound publications that are usually sold by subscription or at newsstands. May be made with coated or uncoated paper.
- Paper (Mixed Office):
- Depends on market specifications. Consists of most paper found in offices; includes the white ledger, computer print out along with various low-value types of paper, such as newspaper, neon colored paper, fax paper, envelopes adhesive labels, and old mail.
- Paper (Mixed Residential):
- Residential paper collected from households, may include boxboard, cardboard, catalogs, coated/glossy paper, kraft paper, magazines, newsprint, packaging and stationery.
- Paper (Newspaper):
- Known as ONP (old newsprint). ONP has two major sub-grades. No. 8 is sorted newspapers only. No. 6 may have some magazines mixed in and may be tied in bundles or gathered in brown bags. This is material typically generated from curbside collection.
- Paper (Paperboard):
- Chipboard, used for cereal boxes, beverage can carriers, showboxes, and other food and product packaging.
- Paper (Phonebooks):
- Outdated or unused phonebooks.
- Paper (Pulp Substitutes):
- The majority of pulp substitutes are pre-consumer waste, such as cuttings from converting plants. Examples include soft and hard white shavings, envelope cuts, unprinted bleached sulfate, and printing plant scrap.
- Plastic #1 (PETE):
- Polyethylene terephthalate. Soft drink bottles and other blow molded containers. Increasing use in sheet applications.
- Plastic #2 (HDPE Natural):
- High-density polyethylene, natural color. Used to make milk bottles and water jugs.
- Plastic #2 (HDPE Color):
- High-density polyethylene, mixed color. Used to make detergent, shampoo and other household product containers.
- Plastic #3 (PVC):
- Polyvinyl chloride (flexible or rigid), commonly called vinyl. Household items include bottles for cooking oil, water, health and beauty aids and household chemicals. Other uses include siding, pipe, carpet backing, windows, floor coverings, film and sheet, synthetic-leather products, etc.
- Plastic #4 (LDPE/LLDPE):
- Low and linear low-density polyethylene. Used in film applications such as laundry, grocery, and retail bags.
- Plastic #5 (PP):
- Polypropylene. Commonly used for yogurt and margarine containers, caps for containers and large molded parts for automotive and consumer products.
- Plastic #6 (PS):
- Polystyrene – Commonly used for compact disc jackets, aspirin bottles, cutlery.
- Plastic #6 (EPS):
- Expanded (or foam) polystyrene – Commonly used in food service applications, grocery store meat trays, egg cartons, cups, and plates.
- Plastic #7 (Other):
- For example, non-industrial polycarbonate (PC), middle density polyethylene (MDPE), etc.
- Plastic (Multi-Layer):
- Plastics containing several different types of plastic resins
- Plastic (Industrial Scrap):
- There are many types of plastics used for industrial purposes. ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), used in a wide range of ways including office business machines, camper tops, etc. PC (polycarbonate), a rigid high performance plastic used in automobile parts such as bumpers, body panels and exterior trim. Acrylic is used in swimming pool enclosures, skylights and lighted signs. Trimmings and scrap form manufacturing processes are often recyclable.
- Plastic (Other Films):
- The Plastic Film Recycling Organization provides information on which types of plastic film may be recycled and which cannot.
- Rechargeable Batteries:
- o Rechargeable batteries are commonly found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless phones, laptop computers, camcorders, digital cameras, and remote control toys. Types of rechargeable batteries include: nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH), lithium-ion (Li-ion) and small sealed lead (Pb)-acid.
- Rubber (Industrial Scrap):
- Scrap rubber from manufacturing operations.
- Rubber (Passenger/Truck Tires):
- Scrap passenger tires; may also include light truck.
- Rubber (Heavy Machinery Tires):
- Includes: semi-trailer, agricultural, and other tires.
- Used clothing in good condition and other usable fabrics can be donated for reuse through charitable organizations. Torn or scrap textiles are typically sold to rag companies for processing into wiping cloths to be sold to gas stations, etc.
- Wood (Lumber):
- Used lumber; includes plywood, wood particle board, and shredded lumber.
- Wood (Other):
- Such as sawdust.
- Wood (Pallets):
- Used wooden pallets; some markets only accept certain sizes.
- Yard Debris (Grass, Leaves):
- Leaves are banned from Indiana landfills. They should be composted.
- Yard Debris (Brush—Limbs):
- and branches less than 6" in diameter.