How To Properly Recycle

The recent rise in recycling and sustainability has become increasingly prevalent in our society, especially with California being one of the most progressive states. You may have noticed that many institutions, such as libraries and universities, have started to use green or blue recycling bins in combination with traditional trash cans. These bins are the beginning stages of San Diego being a zero-waste city by 2040, but I have also noticed many people are confused when encountering these bins. Today I want to clear up some confusion and talk about what is appropriate recycling material and how to properly recycle in your own home. For research purposes I will be using San Diego guidelines as they are similar, but I encourage everyone to figure out their own city's regulations on recycling.


What to recycle

According to the City of San Diego official recycling website, there are more items allowed in the recycling blue bin than you might think. The following image can help answer some common questions, but always check with you district for rules and regulations.

These items are allowed in the blue recycling bin; if you live in San Diego, you can follow these guidelines to help you understand what to recycle next time you encounter a blue bin in public.

In addition, San Diego also has a green bin for plant materials such as branches, leaves, untreated or painted wood, leaves, flowers, grass and undecorated Christmas trees.

There is also a home composting bin program for San Diego Residents where you can apply to have a composting bin at free or discounted prices. To find out more about this program you can click on the link below:


How to Recycle

The following guidelines are for residential homes and are officially made by the city of San Diego.

  • Place containers at the curb or collection point by 6:00 am and remove by 6:00 pm
  • Do not overload collection containers
  • Material must not obstruct lid from closing
  • Space containers three feet from each other, cars, and obstacles.
  • You do not have to wash aluminum or glass containers, but should discard any excess food from them. However, plastic food containers should be rinsed clean
  • There is no need to take off labels before placing in blue bin
  • You do not need to remove staples, paper clips, and plastic windows from papers

For more clarification, we have included a video from the city of San Diego.