What Can and Cannot Be Recyled – Bad Choices Cost Us Money!

Putting items in the recycling bin that can’t be recycled contaminates the recycling stream.  After these non-recyclable items arrive at recycling centers, they can cause costly damage to the equipment, are not of any value, and must be removed from the single stream. After arriving at recycling centers they must be sorted out and then sent to landfills, which raises costs for the facility and those costs are passed on to the City!

  • Do not use your curbside containers for garbage
  • Do not include dirty, greasy, and unclean containers, plates, cups
  • Do not include styrofoam containers or cups, even if they are marked recyclable
  • Do not include plastic bottles with liquid contents – rinse and throw away the caps
  • Do not use plastic bags to hold recyclables
  • Do not include lawn clippings, leaves, or limbs and brush – they are not recyclable in Bellaire
  • NO Lightweight plastic bags from stores – take them to Walmart, they have an agreement with Georgia Pacific.  Most grocery stores have recycling bins, too.

Recycle Clean Items, including:

  • Rinsed, empty PET plastic containers #1 with screw tops only
  • Clean HDPE #2 with screw tops only – clean milk and water bottles; detergent, shampoo bottles, etc. – empty
  • Plastics with symbols #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 – empty
  • Clean glass bottles and jars – brown, clear, or green – empty
  • Aluminum food and beverage containers – empty and rinsed
  • Ferrous (iron) cans empty and rinsed
  • Newspapers/newsprint with no plastic wrap – keep the paper items dry
  • Junk mail and copier paper
  • Phone books and catalogs
  • Magazines without wrappers and glossy inserts
  • Flattened cereal/snack boxes
  • Flattened corrugated boxes
  • Remember to empty and rinse all cans and recyclable containers before putting them in the bin.

Do Not include:

  • Any Bagged Material – even containing recyclable materials
  • Styrofoam
  • Dirty pizza boxes
  • Soiled paper plates and napkins
  • Any wet fiber or fiber that has been in contact with food debris
  • Half full bottles in the recycle bin.
  • Cooking pots, toasters, microwaves, other household items
  • Broken glass
  • Ceramic  or porcelain items
  • Mirrors or light bulbs
  • Clothing
  • Hazardous waste
  • Scrap metal
  • Wire or metal coat hangers
  • Glass cookware or bakeware
  • Microwave trays
  • Window or auto glass
  • Cloth/clothing
  • Food/yard waste
  • Hazardous items
  • Shredded paper
  • Scrap metal
  • Non-recyclable plastics – unnumbered
  • Nothing less than 2 inches in any dimension
  • NO Lightweight plastic bags from stores – Take them to Walmart, they have an agreement with Georgia Pacific.  Most grocery stores have recycling bins, too.

PLEASERecycle lightweight plastic bags via the drop-off boxes at the many area stores.  If you are a resident of Houston the Westpark Recycling Center also accepts them.  Do not put them in your recycle bin, as the bags cause problems with the equipment at the recycling facility.  Carry reusable bags in your car for groceries, etc.

A Holiday Note: Did you know that MOST wrapping paper is NOT recyclable. Wrapping paper is often dyed or laminated. It can also contain non-paper additives, such as gold and silver coloring, glitter and plastics, in addition to having tape on it. Ribbon is also NOT recyclable and can damage the recycling machine. Please throw ribbon & wrapping paper in your garbage. Next Christmas, look for recyclable wrapping paper, which can be placed in your recycle bins.

Help our recycle centers operate efficiently.  Be sure all recyclable materials are clean, dry, and loose (not bagged).

  • Do not use your curbside containers for garbage or dirty, unclean containers and plates or yard waste.
  • Look for the triangular symbols on plastic items. If there are no symbols please do not put the plastic item in the recycle bin.  Put it in the trash.
  • If it looks like rain try to put off recycling paper and cardboard. (Moisture degrades the materials.)
  • Did you know that textiles – clothing, old linens, quilting scraps, other textile items – make up to 9 % of landfill? That the average American throws away 68 pounds of textiles each year, that a single cotton T-shirt takes 700 gallons of water to produce, and that 80 percent of items that Americans own get used less than once a month?
  • Most textiles can be recycled through other sources. Donate items to charity resale shops (who can market them to textile recyclers if the clothing is not serviceable enough to sell) or drop them off at dedicated recycle boxes .


For Houston residents the City of Houston is now accepting CLEAN metal-free Polystyrene Foam at the Westpark Recycling Center & the Environmental Service Center South. Mainly packing foam and clean Styrofoam food items. NO PACKING PEANUTS.  Bellaire cannot accept these items at this time.
Find more information here: https://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/styrofoam_q.html