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Recycling – what goes in the bin

Whether you’re at home or work, the materials you can recycle are the same. Mixed paper, plastic bottles and tubs, and metal containers and foil, are all allowed in the recycling bins together. Glass bottles and jars go in a separate “glass-only” labeled container.

On this page

Paper

A 2d graphic showing what types of paper can be recycled

YES!

Cardboard boxes, newspapers, magazines, catalogs, phone books, scrap paper, junk mail, cartons (milk, juice, soup), shredded paper (must be in paper bag, or large clear plastic bag with a few holes punched in it).

NO!

These items do not belong in the recycling: Coffee cups, take-out food containers, paper plates, paper towels, napkins, facial tissue, wax-coated cardboard, pizza boxes, frozen food boxes, label backing sheets; or paper coated with food, wax, foil or plastic.

Plastic

When sorting your plastics, ignore the recycle symbol and number: Plastics recycling in Portland is based on the size and shape of the item.

A 2d graphic showing what types of plastic can be recycled

YES!

Plastic bottles with neck smaller than base (6 ounces or larger), plastic jugs (milk, juice, etc.), plastic tubs (6 ounces or larger) and buckets (5 gallons or smaller).

Please rinse containers. They do not need to be perfectly clean, but should be free of food residue.
* Redeemable plastic beverage bottles with a 10-cent deposit can either be recycled in your regular recycling bin or, if you wish to collect your deposit funds, you can take them to some grocery stores or any BottleDrop Center.

NO!

These items do not belong in the recycling: 

  • Any plastic that is not shaped like a bottle, tub, bucket or jug. This includes:
    • Plastic bags. Plastic film of any type: pallet wrap, bubble wrap, stretch wrap.
    • Plastic caps and lids.
    • Plastic take-out food containers and disposable plates, cups and cutlery.
    • Prescription medicine bottles and other plastic containers under 6 oz.
    • Disposable plastic or latex gloves. 
    • Bottles that have come in contact with motor oil, pesticides or herbicides.

Metal

A 2d graphic showing what types of metal can be recycled

YES!

Aluminum, tin and steel food cans, empty dry metal paint cans, empty aerosol cans, aluminum foil, scrap metal (smaller than 30 inches and less than 30 pounds).

To recycle small metal pieces (under 2 inches), like metal lids, screws and nails, collect inside a soup can, crimp tightly closed, then put into mixed recycling.
* Redeemable metal beverage cans and bottles with a 10-cent deposit can either be recycled in your regular recycling bin or, if you wish to collect your deposit funds, you can take them to some grocery stores or any BottleDrop Center.

NO!

These items do not belong in the recycling: Aerosol cans that still contain liquids should be emptied (if non-toxic, like cooking spray) or disposed of at a hazardous waste facility (if toxic, like chemicals or paint). Not sure if it’s toxic? Call 503-234-3000.

Glass

Glass should always be collected separately from other recycling. Never put glass in your mixed recycling container. If glass ends up with other recyclables, it can cause harm to the staff and machinery at local recycling facilities.

A 2d graphic showing what types of glass can be recycled.

YES!

All colors of glass (labels are OK too).

* Redeemable glass beverage bottles with a 10-cent deposit can either be recycled in your regular glass recycling bin or, if you wish to collect your deposit funds, you can take them to some grocery stores or any BottleDrop Center.

NO!

These items do not belong in the recycling: Drinking glasses, flower vases, ceramics, dishware or drinkware of any kind, light bulbs.*

* Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility or other approved drop-off (call 503-234-3000 to find the nearest location to you).


Not sure if something is recyclable?

Look it up or call 503-234-3000: They’ll tell you if it goes in garbage, recycling or compost, or where to drop it off for donation or proper disposal.

Printable guides

Print a residential recycling guide

Print a business recycling guide