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  • Writer's pictureSame Day Dumpster

How to Recycle (Almost) Anything in Salt Lake

The most soul-satisfying way to declutter, recycling anything you possibly can. But recycling rules are also pretty confusing—which is one reason Americans recycle only about 35 percent of the trash that could be kept out of landfills. This guide explains the rules for recycling and disposing of hard-to-get-rid-of items here in Salt Lake County. You can clear out your junk, help someone in need and maybe save the planet while you’re at it.

"The 3 golden rules of recycling are empty, clean, and dry. That said, a quick rinse will suffice with most containers. Make sure they are drained of any liquids and scraped free of any food left in containers. We recommend rinsing with dirty dishwater to conserve water when additional rinsing is necessary." - Salt Lake County

Recyclable Items include:


Loose printer, notebook, and glossy paper can be recycled along with newspapers and advertising inserts. Even colored wrapping paper and envelopes with cellophane address windows can be tossed in. Telephone books and paperbacks are recyclable, but you may need to cut off the book bindings first; some municipalities can’t process the heavy glue.

"Paper makes up 23 percent of municipal solid waste (trash) generated each year, more than any other material. Americans recycled about 68 percent of the paper they used in 2018. This recovered paper is used to make new paper products, which saves trees and other natural resources. Most community or office recycling programs accept paper and paper products. Check what your community or office program accepts before you put it in the bin. Look for products that are made from recycled paper when you shop. Better yet, consider if you really need to print in the first place."


Shipping packages, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, clean pizza boxes and the sleeves of disposable coffee cups. TIP: Flatten boxes and stack them together to save on space between pickups.

Common Questions about paper and cardboard recycling:

  • Can I recycle newspapers? -Yes, newspapers can be recycled.

  • Can I recycle magazines? -Yes, magazines can be recycled.

  • Can I recycle pizza boxes? -Yes! Pizza boxes can be recycled, even if they have a little grease in them. Make sure to remove all food scraps from the box and flatten it before placing it in the bin. If the top of the box is clean of grease, cheese, sauce, or other food residue, you can tear the top off and recycle it. If the bottom is saturated in grease, it should be thrown in the garbage. If you're in any doubt as to whether it is clean enough, throw it out.

  • Can I recycle mail? -Yes! Even envelopes with plastic windows can be recycled.

  • Are paper and cardboard takeout containers recyclable? -It depends on how much food is left on them. Try rinsing or scraping the residue off to clean it. “Spatula-clean” is clean enough to recycle! Otherwise, containers contaminated with food cannot be recycled.

  • Can books be recycled? Yes, If the book is still in good condition, try donating it! Schools, places of faith, charities, and non-profits will often accept book donations. If the book is not in usable condition, it can be recycled. Paperback books can be recycled as-is; remove the cover from a hardcover book before recycling it.

  • Can gift wrap be recycled? No, paper gift wrap often is not recyclable when it has a shiny or laminated coating. If you use gift wrap, purchase a type that can be recycled or is made from recycled content. EPA encourages consumers to reuse gift bags, boxes, and tissue paper. Newspaper is an excellent alternative to gift wrap.


Glass containers go in the bin, but not all lids should. You have to toss small metal bottle caps into the trash since they’re too small to recycle and can clog the center’s equipment.

"Glass, especially glass food and beverage containers, can be recycled over and over again. In the United States in 2018, 12.3 million tons of glass were generated, 31.3 percent of which was recycled. Making new glass from recycled glass is typically cheaper than using raw materials. " -EPA

  • Can I recycle different glass colors/types together? -Yes, most curbside recycling programs accept different glass colors and types mixed together and then sort the glass at the recovery facility.

  • Can I recycle broken glass? -No, broken glass should not go into the recycling bin. Glass shards can harm workers and damage equipment.

  • Can I leave my metal bottle cap on my glass bottle when I recycle? -No, metal bottle caps should be recycled separately from glass bottles.


Steel food cans can be recycled with their labels still attached. So can aluminum beverage cans and food-free tinfoil. Just rinse off the foil and wad it up before putting it in the bin.


To recycle plastic correctly you should turn over each container and check for the small triangle with a number inside, if it doesn't have one, it is likely not recyclable. Salt Lake County accepts any plastic bottle, tub or jug - as long as it is clean and dry - regardless of the number or chasing arrows.

Containers no longer need to be spotless to be recycled. Use a rubber scraper to get out the worst of the residue before putting them in the bin. Don’t bother soaking them or running them through the dishwasher, It’s a waste of water.

How To Recycle Everything Else:

You can recycle many of the items gathering dust in your garage or attic—you just might have to make a call to Same Day Dumpster or reserve a roll-off bin online.

Appliances (small)

If your old microwave or blender still works, donate it to a homeless shelter or other charity that can put it to good use. Same Day Dumpster makes recycling small appliances easy when you rent a dumpster, just let us know what small appliances you'll be placing in the dumpster.

Appliances (large)

If it’s still in working order, your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore will likely pick up your old refrigerator or washing machine for free ( If not, Same Day Dumpster gladly accepts your appliances for a small fee per item. We provide an easy pay option for any extra items you plan on placing in the dumpster. Batteries

Check the manufacturer’s website; many companies now have take-back programs and will let you mail them in or drop them off at a participating retailer. Most auto shops and auto supply stores will accept larger batteries for a disposal fee. Same Day Dumpster allows small household batteries, but not any large boat, RV, or truck batteries.


Have an obsolete camera, cell phone, computer, DVD player, tablet, or television? Ask if you can trade in your old device when buying a new one—it may even net you a small discount on the purchase. Electronics contain many hazardous materials, so it's important not to dump these items. Same Day Dumpster accepts electronics for a small fee. Ink Cartridges

Check with your local Costco; some locations will refill your ink cartridges in the photo department so you can use them again. If not, take them to Staples or Office Depot. Both take back used cartridges and give you customer rewards.


Many Ikea and some Home Depot stores take back CFL bulbs. Check with your local store for details.


Same Day Dumpster provides mattress, box springs, and furniture disposal services when you rent one of our dumpsters. You just need to let us know if you have mattresses or boxsprings to dispose of. We charge a flat rate so a King size won't cost you more than a crib mattress! All of our large item pricing is transparent. We recycle and donate used furniture when possible. Spring Back Utah is one great program that accepts used mattresses.

Paint and Other Household Chemicals

They are too toxic to go in your regular bin! But Same Day Dumpster will accept these items, pricing is based on the gallons.

MAKE IT SAFER Items like wire hangers pose a hazard to workers at the recycling plants, return them to your dry cleaner to reuse. The same rule applies to any item that could injure a worker. When renting a dumpster you will declare all of your items that may be hazardous to help keep everyone safe.

Here are some items that can’t go in your recycling bin—but you can still get rid of them responsibly:

Coffee Pods

Most coffee pods are not recyclable through curbside pickup. Consider buying a Break Room Zero Waste Box (starting at $126; to collect used coffee pods, plastic packaging, and disposable utensils, then ship it back for free and everything will be recycled.

Glass Kitchenware

Most of the glass cookware in your kitchen (like Pyrex) either has been treated or is too thick for the recycling plant to handle. Donate anything in decent shape to a homeless shelter or charity organization.

Greasy Pizza Boxes

The oil can contaminate the sorting and pulping processes at recycling plants. If your community accepts food waste for curbside pickup, it may take pizza boxes in a compost bin.


Because the glass has been treated, old mirrors should be donated to charity. Broken ones will have to be put in your regular trash or in a rental dumpster.

Packing Materials

Take foam peanuts and other packing materials to a local shipping store or small business that ships items often and can reuse them.

Plastic Bags, Wrap, or Packaging Film

Plastic grocery bags are recyclable, but not in your curbside recycling bin. The best way to recycle grocery bags and other plastic films is to take them back to the grocery store with you and place them in the bag-recycling box provided. Many grocery stores will accept other types of 'plastic film' as well - including clean and dry #2 and #4 plastic film such as dry cleaner bags, newspaper bags, bread bags, Ziploc bags, bubble wrap, and more - so check with a manager at your store today to see what they're accepting!

Shredded Paper

Once the paper has been shredded, it’s too small for most recyclers to handle. Check with your municipality about how to package it for pickup or ask if there is a local drop-off location that accepts it.

Stuffed Animals

Large charities generally don’t take them for hygiene reasons. But your local fire department or animal rescue shelter may collect gently loved toys. Firefighters hand them out to kids in need of comfort; animal shelters may use them as pet toys. For stuffed animals that are truly past their prime, we send them to the textile recycling center in Salt Lake.

Wine Corks

They’re too small for your recycling bin, but genuine cork can be recycled into new corks and products like flooring or bulletin boards. Check to find a drop-off location.


If it’s too far gone for a dealer trade-in, your car can be donated to a charity like Vehicles for Veterans (, which will pick it up for free and sell the parts to fund programs for vets around the country. (They also take boats, trucks, motorcycles, and RVs.) Water Filters

These are made from composite materials that municipal recycling centers aren’t able to handle. Check with your filter manufacturer for a take-back program.

Same Day Dumpster accepts water heaters, water softeners, and larger filtration systems, just let us know if you have a water heater, water softer, or similar item.

When you try to recycle the unrecyclable, you gum up the whole process. It’s a waste of time, money, and other resources when recycling centers have to deal with things they don’t accept. If you are ever unsure about how to dispose of ANY item, contact Same Day Dumpster at 801-935-0297, we accept items most waste disposal and recycling programs don't accept.


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