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20 Most Searched for Materials

Is this plastic bottle recyclable? Is this napkin compostable? Where does plastic wrap go? 

Deciding where your waste material should go — into your garbage, recycling or compost cart — can be confusing.

We know! 

We do our best to keep up and communicate what material goes where for proper disposal, but it's challenging. This is especially true in the volatile recycling industry that is being impacted by world markets, new regulations, and changing standards.

That is one of the reasons we introduced our “What Goes Where” online tool: so that we could give you an easy way to look up typical household materials and how to properly dispose of those products. When you put the right material into the right can, you help us deliver the "cleanest" streams possible to our processing partners. We are constantly updating the tool to make sure the most up-to-date disposal instructions are available to you.

Top 20 Material Searches

Since launching our “What Goes Where” tool has been used by more than 10,000 people and returned more than 25,000 material results. The following 20 items are the most searched for materials accounting for 27% of all the searches.

If so many people are curious about these items, we thought you may want to know about them too! Hopefully these will help you make the right choice as you sort your garbage, recycling and compost for pick up.

You may also download this list as a pdf here.


Gable Top Carton - Trash1. GABLE TOP CARTON

(i.e. milk carton, juice cartons etc.)

Where does it go? TRASH

Why? See this article. 

 


Plastic Bags - Trash2. PLASTIC BAG

(any size, any color)

Where does it go? TRASH or bring to a grocery store that accepts them. NOT suitable for curbside collection.

 

 


Plastic Take-Out Food Container - Recycle3. PLASTIC TAKE-OUT FOOD CONTAINER

Where does it go? RECYCLING

Rinse & wipe clean of food residue.

 

 


Plastic Wrap - Trash4. PLASTIC WRAP

(plastic cling, Syran wrap)

Where does it go? TRASH

 

 


Plastic Bottle - Recycle5. PLASTIC BOTTLE

Where does it go? RECYCLING

No need to remove lables or caps.

 

 


Plastic Storage Container6. PLASTIC STORAGE CONTAINER

With or without lid.

Where does it go? TRASH

Reuse if possible!

 


Paper take-out container - Compost7. PAPER / CARDBOARD TAKE-OUT FOOD CONTAINER

Where does it go? COMPOST

 

 

 


ALUMINUM CAN - Recycle8. ALUMINUM CAN

Where does it go? RECYCLING

Rinse and empty before recycling. No need to remove labels.

 

 


Aluminum Foil - Recycle9. ALUMINUM FOIL

Where does it go? RECYCLING 

Wipe clean of food residue.

 

 


Plastic Food Tub - Recycle10. PLASTIC FOOD TUB & LID

(i.e. yogurt, cottage cheese etc.)

Where does it go? RECYCLING

Rinse & wipe clean of food residue.

 


Paper Napkins - Compost11. PAPER NAPKIN

Where does it go? COMPOST

 

 

 


Paper Towel - Compost12. PAPER TOWEL

Where does it go? COMPOST

 

 

 


Paper egg carton - Recycle13: PAPER EGG CARTON

Where does it go? RECYCLING

 

 

 


Metal Can - Recycle14. METAL CAN

(i.e. aluminum, tin)

Where does it go? RECYCLING

Rinse and empty before recycling. No need to remove labels.

 


Aseptic Carton - Trash15. ASEPTIC CARTON

(i.e. soy or almond milk container, soup box, juice box)

Where does it go? TRASH

Why? See this article.

  


Paper Ice Cream Container - Compost16. PAPER ICE CREAM CARTON

Where does it go? TRASH

 

 

 


Metal Lids - Recycle17. METAL LID

From a glass jar.

Where does it go? RECYCLING

  

 


Greasy Pizza Box - Compost18. PIZZA BOX

(food-soiled, greasy)

Where does it go? COMPOST

 

  


Shredded Paper - Compost19. SHREDDED PAPER

Where does it go? COMPOST

 

 

  


Plastic Milk Jug - Recycle20: PLASTIC MILK JUG

Where does it go? RECYCLING

Rinse.

 

  


  

Use our What Goes Where Tool

Have a question about where a certain item should go? When in doubt, check it out with the Mill Valley Refuse service “What Goes Where” tool. It will tell you how to properly dispose of the item.

Try the What Goes Where Tool