- November 8, 2022

In Honor Of America Recycles Day, Let’s Learn How To Recycle Right In Austin


Since America Recycles Day is happening on Tuesday, November 15, this is the perfect time to review what you can and can’t recycle in Austin.

What started as Texas Recycles Day in 1994, became a national observance in 1999. Thanks in part to America Recycles Day events, the U.S. recycling rate has increased to 32% today. However, the current rate in Texas is only 27.5%.

Perhaps that’s because many Austinites aren’t sure what can and can’t be recycled. So, let’s dig in.

Here’s what you CAN recycle if you live in single-family households up to four-plexes in Austin.


  • Glossy paper
  • Junk mail/envelopes
  • Catalogs/magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Non-foil wrapping paper

Boxboard and cardboard:

  • Cardboard (All cardboard boxes should be broken down into roughly 2’x2′ squares. Use the lid of your recycling cart as a size guide.)
  • Toilet paper/ paper towel rolls
  • Boxes


  • Steel and tin cans
  • Aluminum foil baking pans
  • Aluminum foil (balled 2 inches or larger)


  • Jars and caps (labels can be left on containers)
  • Bottles and bottle caps (labels can be left on containers)

Hard Plastics:

  • Water/soda bottles
  • Jars/tubs
  • Non-battery toys
  • Buckets/baskets
  • Lawn chairs

Here’s what you CAN’T recycle in Austin.

  • Plastic film and bags
  • Styrofoam
  • Water hoses
  • Textiles
  • Wood
  • Medical waste (e.g. syringes and sharp containers)
  • Lightbulbs, strings of lights and electrical cords

You CAN recycle detergent bottles, milk cartons and most plastic containers but it helps to dispose of them clean and dry. And here’s a very important thing to remember; do not bag your recyclables! Leave them loose in the blue cart. Bagging your recyclables causes contamination.

America Recycles Day

Plastic bags, wrap and other stretchy packaging can be taken to a recycle and reuse center or back to retail stores to be recycled. Schedule an appointment to drop off hard- to-recycle items at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center HERE!

If you’re unsure about how to dispose of an item, download the “Austin Recycles” app or use the What Do I Do With… website tool. 

So, let’s do this Austin! Let’s recycle right for America Recycles Day and every day.