5 items that don’t belong in your recycling bin… and what to do with them

5 items that don’t belong in your recycling bin… and what to do with them

To help you do your part for the environment, check out these items that don’t belong in the recycling bin and learn what you can do with them.

Black plastic takeout containers

Optical sorting machines at recycling plants can’t detect black pigment, so they are unable to sort black plastic items. That’s why it’s very important not to place your black plastic takeout containers in the recycling. Put these containers directly in your garbage.

Plastic furniture, storage bins and toys

Although they’re made of plastic, bulky items like tables, chairs and toys don’t belong in the recycling bin. Most communities have specialized depots that collect these items. If your community doesn’t offer this service and the item is in good condition, clean it thoroughly and donate it to a local not-for-profit or a friend.


Although batteries don’t belong in your municipal recycling bin, they can and should be recycled. Many batteries contain materials that can be harmful to the environment and wildlife if they end up in landfill, and the salvaged materials from old batteries can be used to manufacture new products like bikes, stainless steel water bottles and small appliances. To recycle your old batteries, Call2Recycle offers convenient battery drop-off locations across Canada.

Paint cans

Paint is considered a hazardous waste material in many provinces and should not be disposed of through the regular waste stream. But empty paint cans can be recycled in many communities. Check with your municipal recycling depot or local paint store for information on how to dispose of your old paint.

Household items

Common household items like pots and pans, drinking glasses and metal and plastic coat hangers should not be placed in recycling bins. If you’re moving or doing a renovation and are getting rid of items in good condition, be sure to donate or sell them. Anything that’s broken or damaged should be put in the garbage.

More information on battery recycling can be found at call2recycle.ca.

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