4 Items That Can and Can’t Be Recycled In Austin
A photo of the Austin skyline with the buildings colored a beautiful pinkish hue from the sunset. It is connected to a blog about 7 reasons to pickup trash in Austin, Texas.

One of the best and easiest things we can do to keep Austin clean is to recycle as much as possible. Recycling stops trash from ending up in landfills or littering our beautiful city and can go a long way to helping us protect the environment. Austin Resource Recovery provides curbside recycling collection to single-family households in Austin. So knowing what you can put into the house bin to be recycled and what you can’t will help us keep Austin clean and make the most of the service. Keep reading to find out what you can and cannot recycle.

Can Be Recycled


The good news is that any type of cardboard can be recycled, including cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls, and paper towel rolls. Chipboards, such as cereal boxes, paperboard, paper towels, tissues, and writing paper, are all made from recycled cardboard. Additionally, corrugated cardboard is also created from it, which is an excellent recycling material. Remember to break down and collapse the cardboard before placing the material in your cart.


Metals such as tin cans, aluminum baking pans, and aluminum foil can all be recycled. In fact, in the United States, almost 70% percent of all steel is recycled, which is more than paper, aluminum, plastic, & glass combined, making it a great way to help keep Austin clean and reduce waste. A large portion of the scrap metal that is recycled is used in the production of brand-new products like appliances and building supplies, construction, and manufacturing projects.


Glass jars and bottles can be recycled with caps on, making recycling these items at the curbside even easier. Non-recycled glass represents about 5% of the waste that goes into American landfills each year, which amounts to an incredible 7.6 million tons of glass annually.

Hard plastics

Around 91% of plastic in the United States is recycled, which is great news; however, many people often just toss all their plastics in recycling. Due to the material characteristics of plastics, sadly, not all of them can be recycled, so we need to separate them. Hard plastics can be recycled and include things such as soda bottles, jars, non-battery toys, buckets, and lawn chairs, and all of these things can be recycled curbside in Austin.

Can’t Be Recycled

Plastic Bags

Now for the things that we cannot recycle. You cannot put trash bags, plastic bags, or plastic film into the curbside recycling. Unfortunately, many of these items will end up in landfills, where it can take as long as 300 years to degrade. They can also decompose into minute poisonous particles that contaminate the earth and waterways and enter the food chain. So to avoid this, you can find a store in Austin that will accept clean and dry plastic and recycle them for you, or another easy way to help would be to make an appointment at the Austin Recycle and Reuse Drop-Off Centre.

Garden hose

It is important not to put garden hoses into the recycling as they are called “tanglers.” Recycling facilities encounter a sizable number of tanglers every day, and even one hose can cause a substantial inconvenience in the recycling process. It could endanger worker safety and cause mechanical problems for machines, resulting in downtime in the recycling process and additional costs. If you need to dispose of a garden hose, try to find a local organization that will collect garden hose for reuse or recycling.

String lights

There are many options when it comes to properly discarding your old string lights. You can either make an appointment to drop string lights off at the Austin Recycle and Reuse Drop-Off Center. Or you can find a company that allows you to mail your old lights to them and they usually offer a discount for your next order. If your string lights still work but you’re not sure what you can do with them, why not try finding ideas online showing you how others have used them in new ways?


There are plenty of people who are in need of clothes, so if you have any old clothing that is still in good condition, why not consider donating them to a charity? People who need them will undoubtedly be grateful and your old clothes will get a new lease of life! It is also a great way of helping the local community. If you have clothing that is not suitable for donation, you can simply schedule a free clothing curbside collection from the Austin government.

Could you help us Make Austin Clean? 

So many of these items that can be recycled or donated often end up in landfills or even as litter around Austin, which is bad for the environment but doesn’t help to show how beautiful Austin is. Unfortunately, we can’t stop everyone from littering, but here at Make Austin Clean, we are making a significant impact in clearing this trash from Austin and helping to make our city clean. If you would like to help us, sign up with our Givepulse link, get involved and join us one day for a few hours.