Make a difference in the new year and learn how to recycle right

Blog Post
Images of different types of containers with a checkmark or X over them
Use Recycle or Not to help answer your questions.

Because so many people in Portland recycle, together we are making an impact. However, trash in the recycling is causing problems here in Oregon and around the world.

Take a few minutes to learn what can and can’t go in your recycling bin

  1. Ignore recycling symbols on items. These symbols do not mean you can recycle the item in Portland.
  2. Check the recycling guide. Be sure to follow Portland’s guide, since recycling can be very different in other places.
  3. If you’re not sure, put it in the trash. It may feel wrong, but you’re protecting the environment by keeping trash out of your recycling bin.

Some things are better in the trash

These items can jam the recycling sorting machines or are too difficult to make into new products:

  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic lids
  • Take-out containers
  • Envelopes with bubble wrap

Caution: Don’t put these in your bins

  • Batteries and things with batteries in them — like tools, watches, toys and “singing” cards — can start fires or explode in trash or recycling, so they should be dropped off for safe disposal.
  • Electronics like old laptops, computers and TVs must be dropped off for safe disposal (it’s state law).

There are lots of drop-off locations — find one near you at

Not sure? Send a pic!

An illustration of two phones under a banner saying "Find on Instagram!"

Next time you aren’t sure about an item, send a photo to @recycleornot on Instagram. Or visit to see some of the most confusing items and find out where they belong. It’s new and made just for Portland-area residents.

Para español, visite o envíe una foto del artículo que usted quiere reciclar a @reciclarono en Instagram.

Play the game

Recycle or Not is also a game. Swipe right, swipe left in both English and Spanish.