Accepted for Recycling

Learn more about common recylable categories and recycling tips before ordering to-go food. Finally our Waste Directory helps determine if an item goes into a particular cart or how and where to dispose of it appropriately.

Common Recyclables


Plastic Containers

  • Rigid plastic bottles, jugs, jars, tubs, cups and containers marked with the #1 through #7 in the recycling symbols.
  • Examples include: Soda, water, shampoo, & soap bottles; milk, laundry detergent, & cat litter jugs; yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, & butter tubs; Peanut butter & mayonnaise jars; "To-go” & “take out” plastic drinking cups; Plastic trays like those used for microwave dinners; Clear "Clam-Shell” containers like those used to package strawberries, bakery goods & salads (remove as much of the price sticker from the plastic as possible); and Plastic egg cartons & cookie divider shells.

Not accepted

  • NO Plastic bags - Denver's #1 recycling contaminant.
  • NO Bubble wrap or envelopes with bubble wrap inside.
  • NO Candy or food wrappers. 
  • NO Cassettes, DVD's, CD's or plastic cases.
  • NO Containers larger than 3 gallons.
  • NO Garden hoses or plastic tubes.
  • NO Juice pouches.
  • NO "K-cups" or individual coffee creamers.
  • NO Plastic containers marked as “Compostable” or “PLA”.
  • NO Plastic flower pots.
  • NO Plastic shrink wrap
  • NO Plastic tubes (such as toothpaste or hair gel tubes).
  • NO Potato chip bags.
  • NO Styrofoam® or packing peanuts.
  • NO Toys.

Steel and Aerosol Cans

Steel and aerosol cans

  • Aerosol cans must be empty.
  • Labels are okay.
  • Remove plastic caps unless they are part of the can.
  • Spray nozzles are okay.

Not accepted

  • NO scrap metal
  • NO fuel canisters (camping tanks)
  • NO full or partially-full aerosol cans
  • Do NOT puncture cans


Glass bottles and jars

  • Food & beverage glass bottles and jars only.
  • Remove lids.
  • Large metal lids can be recycled, but still must be removed.

Not accepted

  • NO Glassware (such as vases or drinking cups)
  • NO Window glass
  • NO Ceramics


Aluminum cans, foil, and pie plates

  • Aluminum cans, foil, trays, and pie plates .
  • Remove as much food residue as possible.
  • Do not crush aluminum cans.

Not accepted

  • NO Foil bags (such as potato chip bags).
  • NO Foil "yogurt" lids.



  • Flatten and cut to pieces no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet.
  • Only broken down boxes inside the cart will be collected for recycling.
  • Pizza boxes accepted, if not greased through to the other side.

Paperboard boxes

  • Flatten or cut into pieces no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet.
  • Remove plastic bags, plastic film or wax paper bags.
  • Acceptable items include: Boxes for cereal, tissues, beverages, food, soap, etc.; Gift, shirt & shoe boxes; Hanging file folders; Paper egg cartons; Paper towel & toilet paper tubes; Frozen food boxes (but not the ones that have a waxy, white coating on the inside).

Not accepted

  • NO Foil-coated paperboard
  • NO Waxed cardboard


Cartons and hot/cold paper cups

  • All food and beverage cartons including: Milk (dairy, soy & almond), juice, cream, egg white & egg substitute, soup & broth, protein drinks, eggnog, wine, tofu, small juice boxes and ice cream & frozen yogurt.
  • All cold paper cups and hot coffee cups: Paper cups must be clean and empty. Paper cups must be bare — all sleeves, lids, straws and stirring sticks must be removed.
  • Be sure to empty all food & liquid, and remove straws & caps.
  • Do not flatten cartons

Newspapers, magazines, and catalogs

  • Remove plastic bags and wrap.
  • Discard non-paper inserts such as magnets or sample packets.
  • Includes phone books.

Office paper and junk mail

  • Window envelopes are okay to recycle.
  • Paperclips, stamps, staples, tape and sticky notes are okay.
  • Acceptable items include: Opened mail,  greeting cards (non-foiled coated), Postcards, index cards & file folders, Loose leaf & legal pad paper, Stationary, letterhead, copy & typing paper; Paper envelopes (plastic windows okay); and Brochures & glossy ads.

Paper bags

  • Remove food wrappings and any food.
  • Department store "non-glossy" type paper bags are okay, but remove rope handles.

Not accepted

We are NOT accepting any wrapping paper this holiday season and until further notice.

  • NO tissue paper, ribbon or bows.
  • NO bubble envelopes or Tyvek® (polyethylene fiber) envelopes, such as some overnight mailing envelopes.
  • NO shredded paper.
  • NO Paper plates.
  • NO Paperback or hardcover books.
  • NO Paper Towels, Tissues, or Napkins.

Ordering Take-out? Here are Some Recycling Tips:

Take-out Recycling Tips

  1. Before you order:
    • If you're eating at home, let the delivery service or restaurant know that you do not need plastic utensils or condiment packets. Use your own instead.
  2. Reuse
    • Is your plastic container reusable? Repurpose the sturdy ones for food storage.
    • Plastic bags can be repurposed as small trash bags or pet waste bags. Use them for the smaller trash bins in bathrooms and bedrooms. You can also use them for mini litter clean-ups!
  3. Recycle right:
    • Accepted:
      • Rigid plastic containers, labeled #1-7, can be recycled. Empty and rinse. Plastic lids can be placed back on the plastic container for recycling.
      • Hot or cold beverage cups can be recycled. The lids and straws are trash. This includes paper soup containers. 
      • Pizza boxes (not greased through to the other side)
      • Aluminum trays/containers
    • Not Accepted:
      • Condiment packets      
      • Food
      • Paper clamshells
      • Paper take-out boxes
      • Plastic bags 
      • Plastic utensils 
      • Styrofoam
      • Straws
      • Small plastic containers and lids (less than 2"x2"), such as sauce  and condiment containers.
  4. And remember, when in doubt, throw it out! Let's keep contamination out of our purple carts.


Still not sure if it is recyclable?

Check the Waste Directory to see what paper products, like cardboard and office paper, should go in the recycling cart!