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 Recycle?
  • You are abiding by state law
  • 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.
CT Bottle Bill

In 2022, with the passage of Public Act 21-58, An Act Concerning Solid Waste Management, Connecticut went through a significant transformation of its beverage container redemption program – also known as the Bottle Bill – since the program was first implemented in 1980.

The most significant changes  included 1) an increase in the handling fee paid to retailers and operators of redemption centers; 2) an expansion of the types of beverages covered to include several new item categories – including sports drinks, energy drinks, and juices – beginning on January 1, 2023; and 3) an increase in the deposit amount from $0.05 to $0.10 beginning on January 1, 2024.

NOTE: Bottles may now show “Redemption Value” or the abbreviation “CTRV” on labels to signify that they can be redeemed instead of listing “CT” and “$0.10”



  • Carbonated beverages
  • Beer and Malt Beverages
  • Non-carbonated water (including flavored)
  • Hard seltzer and Hard cider
  • Juice
  • Tea and Coffee
  • Sport and Energy Drinks
  • Kombucha
  • Plant-infused drinks

More FAQs can be found on CT DEEP’s Bottle Bill webpage.

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.

Election signs?

Campaign signs are a recycling challenge because they’re made from multiple materials, such as paper, plastic and metal. Disposing of them requires taking them apart and disposing of each portion based on its material.

For towns within the HRRA region (Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, Roxbury, Sherman, Weston and Wilton) Here is your guide.

Here’s what you can do:

1.) Break down the sign by detaching the metal wire stand from the sign itself. The metal wire is made of steel. Steel wire CANNOT be recycled with your curbside recycling but it CAN be taken to your local recycling center and recycled with scrap metal.

2.) If the sign is sturdy, corrugated plastic, that means it cannot be recycled and goes in the trash. WHY? Because for something to be recyclable, it must have someone willing to purchase it and make it into something new. The Material Recovery Facility (MRF) where HRRA recyclables go, does not accept them.

3.) If the sign is a very thin, flexible plastic, that means it’s made from film. This also cannot be recycled curbside, HOWEVER, it CAN be recycled with plastic bags and film at a collection site, either “return to retail” or your local recycling center that collects plastic bags and film.

Before tossing your campaign sign, consider saving it for future use. You could attach a new message to the board and use it to promote a special event. A local school or nonprofit organization may be able to use the sign, too. If you don’t want to save the entire sign, you may be able to reuse the wire stand for future signs.

Plastic lids and straws?

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.

Small Items?

Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), where our mixed recycling goes to be sorted, bailed and sold, have 2″  holes throughout the system to capture the broken glass.

Items that can fit through a 2″ hole are too small to be sorted properly and fall through the conveyor belt contaminating the glass separation stream.

Small items, even if they are made from plastic, glass, paper or aluminum that fall into the 2” rule they must go in the trash.

Shredded paper?

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.

Recycling Responsibility
  • 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 Multi-Family Housing
  • 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.
Additional items to recycle

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.
  • Waste Oil Crankcase
  • Used Cooking Oil
  • Scrap Metal

If you have questions regarding these items email HRRA at

Recycling symbols 1-7?

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