Climate Action Collaborative

The Trickiest Materials to Recycle

Posted by Nina Waysdorf on Jan 31, 2020 10:18:47 AM

Recycling can be tricky. The rules can and do change depending on markets, where you are, and how you recycle (dual stream or single stream). It’s important to recycle right, as too much contamination can cause a lot of recycling problems down the line, and may result in fines or rejected loads. Here in Eagle County you might recycle differently at home than you do at work or at school.

√ If you take your recycling to the Community Drop Sites, or if you have curbside pickup in the Towns of Eagle and Minturn, then you have dual stream recycling, meaning you separate your paper products from your comingle (plastics, glass, and metals).

√ If you have curbside recycling anywhere else in the County you probably have single stream, meaning all of your recycling goes into one bin.

√ At work you probably have single stream recycling unless you take it to the Community Drop Sites.

While that may seem confusing, recycling rules are actually pretty similar between the two types of service. There are just a few tricky items that are different between single stream and dual stream. But once you learn those, you’re ready to recycle right!

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil can be accepted in single stream recycling only. It should be clean (no food residue), and balled up. Please do not recycle if you have dual stream recycling.

Starbucks Coffee Cups

Starbucks white cups (for hot coffee) can be recycled in single stream recycling only, but please remove the lid. Please do not recycle if you have dual stream recycling.


Cardboard is recycled in both single and dual stream, but only picked up from curbside single stream recycling. If you have dual stream curbside pickup, please take your cardboard to the Community Drop Sites and it will be recycled from there!

Plastic Cups

Plastic cups can be recycled in dual stream recycling only! If you have single stream recycling, please stick to the “bottles, tubs, and jugs” rule for plastics. And in general, only recycle plastics that have the chasing arrows symbol.

Shredded Paper

Shredded paper can be recycled in dual stream only, but please be mindful of containing it! Try putting it in a paper bag, which is also recyclable. Never put any recycling in plastic bags!

Aseptic Cartons

Aseptic cartons (tetra paks, milk and broth cartons) can be recycled in single stream recycling only.


Similar to plastic cups, clamshell containers can only be recycled in dual stream recycling. Again, stick with the “bottles, tubs, and jugs” rule for single stream!


If you’re still confused or forget the rules download the Eagle County Waste Wizard app, where you can search by material and know before you throw!

Waste Wizard Banners v1-05-1

Topics: Climate Action Collaborative, Sustainability Tips, Recycling, Zero Waste

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