Global Blog
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5 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Recycling in San Diego - What You Can and Can't Recycle

Published on
August 31, 2023
September 21, 2023
Global Disposal
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Recycling is more than just a trend—it's a responsibility we all share to preserve our planet for future generations. While most of us are aware of the importance of recycling, the nuances of what can and can't be recycled can be confusing. This guide aims to clarify recycling guidelines in San Diego, so you can make informed decisions that benefit both you and the Earth.

Importance of Recycling

Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, and reduces pollution. By recycling materials, we minimize the waste that goes to landfills, thereby reducing harmful emissions and groundwater pollution.

Challenges of Proper Sorting

A common hurdle many face is the proper sorting of recyclable materials. Incorrectly sorted items can contaminate recycling batches and may end up in landfills, negating the good intentions behind recycling.

What Can Be Recycled


This includes newspapers, magazines, cardboard, and other paper products. Make sure to remove any plastic wrapping or liners and flatten cardboard boxes before putting them in the recycling bin.


Glass bottles and jars can be recycled. Rinse them out and place them in your recycling container. Lids, however, should be removed.


Aluminum cans, steel cans, and other metal food containers are recyclable. Rinse and, if possible, flatten these items before recycling.


Plastics labeled with recycling numbers 1 through 7 are generally recyclable. However, plastic bags, wraps, and styrofoam usually need to be taken to special collection points.

Special Cases: E-Waste and Hazardous Waste

Electronics and items like batteries, paint, and other chemicals should never be placed in regular recycling bins. These items require special disposal methods. Check your local guidelines for drop-off locations and recycling events.

What Can't Be Recycled

While it's easy to assume that all plastics or papers can be recycled, that's not the case. For example, plastic bags, wraps, and styrofoam are typically not accepted in curbside recycling programs. Other non-recyclable materials include:

  • Waxed paper or cardboard
  • Ceramics and Pyrex
  • Window glass or mirrors

Local Recycling Programs

San Diego offers a range of recycling programs designed to make it easier for residents and businesses to recycle. Programs include curbside pickup, drop-off centers, and specialized programs for items like e-waste and hazardous materials. To find out how you can participate, visit San Diego's Recycling Programs.


Understanding the ins and outs of what can and can't be recycled in San Diego is essential for effective waste management. By following these guidelines, you're not only helping your community but also contributing to a more sustainable world. If you need assistance with waste management, whether residential or commercial, feel free to contact us for personalized solutions tailored to your needs.

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