San Diego: You Can Recycle More Plastics Now

When we bought our house, I was told by San Diego Environmental Services that they did not have the capability to recycle anything that wasn’t a type 1 or 2 plastic.  It pained me to throw away the other plastics.  However, I’m happy to report that things have changed.

New Additions To Allowed Recycling Include:

  • Plastic tubs and pots: I used to take my empty plant pots back to select nurseries for recycling.  Now, I can toss them in my blue can.
  • Plastic toys
  • All plastic bottles and jars
  • Frozen food boxes: These were not allowed previously due to the film that protects them from moisture.
  • Clean plastic food packaging: No compostable plastics or PLA, Styrofoam, plastic film, bags or utensils.

Some Notable No’s Still Include:

  • Plastic cutlery: I read online that some recycling programs do allow you to recycle plastic cutlery. However, a lot don’t because it’s number 6 plastic and just not cost effective. I buy biodegradable cutlery from Whole Foods when I need to use it.
  • Packing peanuts: Take these back to your shipping store for recycling. These are also typically number 6 plastic and subject to the same issues as plastic cutlery.
  • Milk cartons: Again, these are accepted in some recycling programs, but not San Diego. Milk cartons typically have a plastic lining on the inside. We can and do recycle the plastic milk jugs.
  • Ceramics or drinking glassware: Your drinking glasses are likely made of different materials than glass food containers. Combining the two will make for an inferior recycled product.

If you happen to forget if it’s trash or trash/garden waste/recycling day, you can check your collection schedule online.

Here is the full list of what is and is not allowed:

City of San Diego Curbside Recycling

I’m proud to say that we have two blue recycling cans (you can buy another one, if you need to) that are usually full, and very little in our actual trash can.

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  1. March 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm — Reply

    Time to update! We recently got a new flyer from the city that says milk cartons are ok to put in the blue bins now.

  2. June 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm — Reply

    I was just recyling a plastic container today and was thinking about this blog post and realized that I said “was it in the bill insert?” and felt kinda silly cause trash is “free” and there is no bill.. LOL

  3. michelle r
    April 11, 2011 at 12:40 pm — Reply

    awesome, how did you hear about this? was it on the bill insert or something?

    • April 12, 2011 at 10:34 pm — Reply

      I just happened to check the website. Someone had mentioned recycling construction waste so I went to Environmental Services to see what they were talking about. And that’s how I found the info. I wonder if it went out in a mailer and I missed it!

  4. April 8, 2011 at 9:12 am — Reply

    Oops… we throw the almond milk cartons in the recycling bin. Too bad they can’t get recycled here. We seem to go through so many of them!

  5. April 8, 2011 at 8:37 am — Reply

    Good info, thanks! I’ve been unknowingly including milk cartons in there. Oops! It’s too bad they can’t take those.

  6. April 8, 2011 at 8:06 am — Reply

    Thanks for posting this, Katie. I wish they would let us recycle the plastic silverware. I end up washing and reusing it, which is good, but it would be nice to be able to recycle it when it breaks.

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