Recycling Starts With You


The recycling process starts when a consumer finishes a product and makes the conscious decision to recycle it. Unfortunately many consumers skip this step, which is why landfills are currently filling to the brim and Waste-To-Energy plants are at capacity. Other consumers, on the other hand, decide to do their part to help the environment by responsibly disposing of their used products. Learning how to recycle right is the first step.

Mixed Recycling

All your household recycling in ONE bin.

Connecticut now has a universal list of what belongs in your recycling bin and what doesn’t.  All items should be empty, rinsed, clean and open.  Do not shred, box, bag, or bundle material.

The items required to be recycled in accordance with State law include:

  • Glass & metal food and beverage containers
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Magazines & catalogs
  • Boxboard & chipboard (e.g. cereal boxes)
  • Electronics
  • Plastics containers
  • Office paper
  • Scrap Metal
  • Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries (from electronics)
  • Waste oil
  • Lead acid batteries (from vehicles)
  • Leaves (must be composted)
  • Grass is banned from disposal at landfills and resource recovery facilities (incinerators). Grass clippings should be left on the lawn or, if necessary, composted.
What can I recycle?

Here is a link to “What’s In and What’s Out” for recycling.

ONLY put items in your recycling bin that are listed in the “IN” category.  Adding additional items that are not on the list will contaminate the mixed stream.  The contaminated items reduce the value of the recyclables or sometimes can make an entire load of recycling become trash.  We call this wishful recycling.  If you have questions about what is “IN” or why something is “OUT” please email

Why can't I recycle black plastic?

Material recovery facilities (MRFs) use optical sensors to read the different types of material moving on the black conveyor belts.  Black plastic blends in with the conveyor belts and therefore are not seen by the senses or sorted properly. The black plastic items get mixed into other sorted streams and contaminate other materials.  Consider reusing black plastic take-out containers for storing items.  Consider returning black plastic flowerpots to a garden center or seeing if your local garden club could use them.

Otherwise, please place any black plastic item in the trash.

Why can't I recycle shredded paper in my blue bin?

Due to the size of shredded paper it cannot be effectively captured in a material recovery facility (MRFs). Shredded paper falls under the 2″ rule, meaning it falls through the conveyor belt holes and contaminates the glass separation stream.  Shredded paper should be brought to a local collection site such as your transfer station or place of business for recycling. You can also wait for a local community shredding/collection event to dispose of your shredded paper.


Otherwise, please place shredded paper in the trash.

Why can't I recycle my plastic lid and straw?

Plastic single-use cups are OKAY to put in your recycling, but you MUST THROW away your plastic single-use lid and straw.  Single-use straws, paper or plastic, and lids fall into the 2” rule – they are too small to be sorted properly and fall through the conveyor belt holes contaminating the glass separation stream.

Who is responsible for recycling?
  • It all starts with you “every homeowner, every renter, every business owner, every employee.”  CT law requires that YOU separate recyclables from municipal solid waste (garbage) before leaving it at curbside for your hauler or taking it to the local Drop Off Center.
  • Your hauler or municipal Drop Off Center is responsible for reporting any customer who does not separate recyclables from garbage per CT law and for maintaining your separation of recyclables from solid waste.
  • Your municipality is responsible for insuring that there is a legally permitted site available to its residents for properly disposing of solid waste and recyclables.
  • HRRA is responsible for helping member municipalities work together to meet their recycling obligations in the most cost effective manner and assisting with recycling education
Recycling at Apartments, Townhouses and Condominiums
  • Many apartment and condo complexes offer recycling and provide large bins for you to deposit your recyclables. When you are ready to drop them off at the designated recycling station at your complex, simply place the materials into the container labeled recycling.If you have any questions about recycling at your apartment or condominium, please call your property manager or Condo Board. You can also contact HRRA for recycling education flyers to distribute to all residents.
Besides complying with State and local laws, why recycle?
  • You will be protecting your health as well as the environment if you recycle.
  • Reduces the amount of waste that must be disposed which means less waste to incinerate or landfill.
  • Prevents or reduces air and water pollution.
  • Conserves precious natural resources since less raw materials need to be extracted and processed.
  • Saves energy in 1996 the energy savings from recycling in the U.S. equaled the energy used by 4 million households!
  • Makes us more sustainable because we are borrowing less materials and energy from our children’s future.
What additional items can be recycled in HRRA municipalities?

The following items CAN be recycled but NOT in your curbside bin!

  • Plastic bags and film can ONLY be recycled at retail stores.
  • Shredded paper can ONLY be recycled at participating town drop-off locations.
  • Rechargeable batteries can be recycled at HHW events or participating retailers.
  • Electronic Waste can be recycled at any town recycling center for FREE.
  • Paint can be recycled at participating retailers or at a HHW event.
  • Mattresses can be recycled at any town recycling center for FREE.

If you have questions regarding these items email HRRA at

What other items can be recycled that can NOT go in my recycling bin?
What do the recycling symbols 1-7 mean?

Have you ever wondered about those little numbers inside a triangle of arrows on the bottom of plastic containers? They tell you the kind of plastic used to manufacture the soft drink bottles, laundry detergent packages, milk jugs, and other plastic bottles that you purchase.

What to do with...?

There are many ways to reuse or recycle items that are no longer of use to us in our homes. As residents of Connecticut, reusing or recycling these items can reduce the amount and toxicity of the garbage that is disposed in our state. Click here to learn more.

Learn about Terra Cycle

TerraCycle offers free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste. Simply choose the programs you’d like to join; start collecting in your home, school, or office; download free shipping labels; and send us your waste to be recycled. You can even earn rewards for your school or favorite non-profit! Visit them here