Recycling FAQ

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What should I do if I can’t fit my recycling into my recycling cart?

All recycling must fit inside your Town-issued recycling cart. If you have material for recycling that doesn’t fit, please:

  • Drop it off at the Citizen’s Convenience Center, 313 N. Dixon Ave.
  • Call (919) 469-4090 or submit a request to schedule a special pick up (fee may apply) OR, to receive an additional recycling cart if you regularly need more space.  

Do all accepted materials go into one cart for recycling?

Yes. The Town uses a single stream recycling process that allows all acceptable materials to be put together in your curbside cart or bin.

Can I recycle plastic bags OR plastic wrap/film in my recycling cart?                           

No. We do not accept plastic bags OR plastic wrap/film in your recycling cart. 

In order to recycle plastic bags/wrap/film it needs to stay clean and dry and go through their own recycling process. Many grocery stores have on-site plastic bag recycling collection boxes for this purpose. You may also consider taking plastic bags back to the store you received it from and ask what options they have for recycling. Or, consider purchasing items with little to no plastic packaging or use a reusable shopping bag.

Why must I placed lids (metal and plastic) back on the bottle, tub, jar or gable top carton for recycling?

To comply with processing requirements, all lids must be placed securely back on the original container before placing it in your cart/bin or taken to the Citizen's Convenience Center. Loose lids might not be captured on the recycling line and have the potential to get stuck in machinery. 

Can I recycle plastic "clamshell" containers (hinged) if I cut them in half?

Unfortunately, no, cutting and separating the “lid” to your hinged clamshell container will not make it recyclable in our community. Although most clamshell containers are labeled PET with a #1 code like a bottle, the majority of them contain multiple additives/resins in the mold that cause it to have different melting points in the recycling process.

Can I recycle drink/food pouches?

No. Drink and food pouches such as Capri-Sun pouches, are not accepted for recycling. They require a specific process for recycling/reuse; visit TerraCycle for options.

Can I recycle tissue paper/gift wrap?

Yes. You can recycle tissue paper and gift wrap as long as it does not contain any metal/foil. 

Can I recycle greeting cards?

Yes. You can recycle greeting cards as long as they do not contain any audio/metal devices.

Can I recycle photo paper?

No. Both new and used photo paper is not accepted for recycling due to the chemicals contained in the paper. 

Does residential mixed paper include books for recycling? 

No. Residential mixed paper does not include books or the following items:

  • Food contaminated papers
  • Napkins, tissue, paper towels
  • Wax paper
  • Carbon paper
  • Parchment paper or synthetic fiber envelopes such as Fed Ex envelopes
Why does shredded paper have to be placed in a clear/transparent bag and tied closed before putting it in the recycling cart or taking it to the Citizen’s Convenience Center

To ensure processing of shredded paper it must be contained in a clear/transparent plastic bag that is tied closed so that it can be visually identified and removed by the manual sorters at the recycling facility. This is the only item we accept in a bag for recycling. The shredded paper will then be correctly recycled and the plastic bag will be disposed of in the trash.  

There is little chance of loose shredded paper being captured for recycling since since it may fall in between and off the recycling line. Loose shredded paper also has the potential to litter our community by blowing out of carts/bins or recycling trucks.

What kind of clear/transparent plastic bag can I use to hold my shredded paper?

We will accept shredded paper in any clear/transparent plastic bag that you can secure close. Clear/transparent plastic bags made specifically for shredding machines work well. Please check with your local office supply store for options. Unfortunately, a plastic grocery bag is not preferred as they are difficult to see through and will be thrown away as trash. 

Can I recycle chipboard such as egg cartons and empty paper towel rolls?

Yes. Chipboard can be recycled in your curbside cart/bin, at the Citizen’s Convenience Center,  313 N. Dixon Ave. and at a Wake County Convenience Center.

Can I recycle SBS board curbside?

Yes. SBS (Solid Bleached Sulfate) board is accepted for recycling. It is a white paperboard that when torn has white edges. Many cosmetic and pharmaceutical packaging is made from SBS. This can also be taken to a Wake County Convenience Center.

Can I recycle corrugated cardboard?

Yes, you can recycle corrugated cardboard by :

  • Placing it in your recycling cart/bin. Remove any packaging paper, tape and polystyrene/packing peanuts. Flatten and cut cardboard to fit loosely inside your cart, lid closed. 
  • Dropping it off at the Citizen's Convenience Center, 313 N. Dixon Street. Flatten the boxes and remove any packaging paper and peanuts.
  • Schedule a special curbside pickup when you have too much cardboard for your cart; submit a request or call (919) 469-4090. Boxes must be flattened and follow proper set out as detailed in your appointment schedule. 

Can I recycle pizza boxes?

No. Even though pizza boxes are corrugated cardboard, they are contaminated with food and grease that could interfere with the recycling process. 

Can I put a metal pot or pan with a plug in my recycling cart?

No. We only accept metal pots or pans without a cord/electric plug. For example, we do not accept an electric crock pot, but we will accept the metal pot inside if it is removable.

My metal pot has other materials on it: Teflon and rubber handles. Can it be recycled curbside?

Yes. All plug-free metal pots and pans are accepted with or without Teflon or ceramic coating. It also does not matter what type of material is on the handle. Glass or Corning Ware type pots and pans are not accepted.

Why do I have to rinse my bottles and cans?

Containers that have not been properly rinsed attract bees, animals and can reduce the quality of the item or other recyclables in the cart. 

How do I dispose of household hazardous waste (HHW)?

Take HHW to a  Wake County household hazardous waste center or Chatham County HHW collection event. 

How can I dispose of used motor oil/filters? 

Submit a request or call  (919) 469-4090 to arrange for a free curbside pickup. Please make sure that the containers are no larger than five gallons and are tightly capped. Label the container "USED MOTOR OIL". Oil filters must be triple-bagged for collection. Used motor oil can also be disposed of at no charge at a Wake County multi-material recycling facility.

How do I make compost?

Visit the Compost Education Center in Bond Park off High House Road. The center has samples of compost bins and a collection of native plants that tolerate drought. Read more about composting.

What can I do with my used appliances?

If the appliance still works, consider donating it to charity. Many organizations will arrange free pickup. Other recycling options through the Town of Cary or Wake County.

What can I do with scrap tires?

See Wake County Multi-Material Drop Off.

(919) 469-4090 
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