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Denver Recycles Acceptable Materials for Recycling

Denver accepts the following materials for recycling.  No sorting required!

Click on the panel for each material for detailed recycling guidelines


  • Aluminum cans, foil, trays and pie plates are all accepted for recycling
  • Remove as much food residue as possible

NO foil bags, such as potato chip bags

NO foid lids, such as off yogurt tubs

  • Flatten and cut to pieces no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet
  • Only broken down boxes inside the cart will be collected for recycling
  • Pizza boxes accepted, if not too greasy
NO wax coated cardboard

All food and beverage cartons

Examples of products commonly packaged in cartons include:

    • Milk (dairy, soy and almond)
    • Juice
    • Cream
    • Egg white and egg substitute
    • Soup and broth
    • Protein drinks
    • Eggnog
    • Wine
    • Tofu
    • Smal juice boxes
    • Ice cream and frozen yogurt



    • Empty all food or liquid
    • Remove straws and caps
- NO juice pouches
- Do NOT flatten cartons

  • Food and beverage glass only
  • Remove lids
  • Large metal lids can be recycled, but still must be removed
- NO windows glass
- NO glass vases or drinking cups

  • Remove plastic bags and wrap
  • Discard non-paper inserts such as magnets or sample packets

  • Window envelopes are okay to recycle
  • Paperclips, stamps, staples, tape and sticky notes are okay
  • Limit Shredded Paper.  All shredded paper must be placed in a closed paper bag
Acceptable items include:
- Opened mail
- Wrapping paper and greeting cards (non-foiled coated)
- Postcards, index cards and file folders
- Loose leaf and legal pad paper
- Stationary, letterhead, copy and typing paper
- Paper envelopes (plastic windows okay)
- Brochures and glossy ads

- NO plastic wrappers

- NO tissue paper, ribbon or bows

- NO bubble envelopes or Tyvek® (polyethylene fiber) envelopes, such as some overnight mailing envelopes

  • Remove food wrappings and any food
  • Department store "non-glossy" type paper bags are okay, but remove rope handles
- NO plastic bags
- NO microwave popcorn bags

  • Flatten or cut into pieces to no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet
  • Remove plastic bags, plastic film or wax paper bags

Acceptable items include:

- Boxes for cereal, tissues, beverages, food, soap, etc.
- Gift, shirt and shoe boxes
- Hanging file folders
- Paper egg cartons
- Paper towel and toilet paper tubes
- Frozen food boxes (but not the ones that have a waxy, white coating on the inside)
- NO foil coated paperboard
- NO paper cups

  • Remove bags, plastic wrap and magnets

Rigid plastic bottles, jugs, jars, tubs, cups and containers marked with the #1 through #7 in the recycling symbols.


Examples of acceptable items include:

  • Soda, water, shampoo, and soap bottles
  • Milk, laundry detergent, and cat litter jugs
  • Yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and butter tubs
  • Peanut butter and mayonnaise jars
  • "To-go” or “take out” plastic drinking cups
  • Plastic trays like those used for microwave dinners
  • Clear "Clam-Shell” containers like those used to package strawberries, bakery goods and salads
  • Plastic egg cartons and cookie divider shells
- NO plastic bags, plastic lids or caps
- NO Stryofoam, plastic shrink wrap
- NO plastic toys or plastic toothpaste type tubes
- NO "K-cups" or individual coffee creamers
- NO plastic marked as PLA, compostable or made from plant based materials
- NO plastic containers larger than 3 gallons in size

  • Aerosol cans must be empty
  • Labels are okay
  • Remove plastic caps unless they are part of the can
  • Spray nozzles are okay
- NO full or partially-full aerosol cans
- Do NOT puncture cans

If a plastic item doesn't have a recycling number on the bottom, how do I know what kind of plastic it is?

The resin identification code isn't required by federal law and is absent from some pieces of plastic, especially those that aren't easily recyclable, like dishes, toys or bottle caps.

Remember, only plastic containers with a resin code of #1 through #7 on it, are is accepted for recycling in the Denver Recycles program.


One Page Quick Print List

Download One Page List of Recyclables

(228 KB)

NOT Accepted for Recycling
  • NO Garbage
  • NO Plastic Bags
  • NO Styrofoam® of any kind
  • NO Foil "Yogurt" Lids
  • NO Microwave Popcorn Bags
  • NO Waxed Cardboard
  • NO Toys
  • NO Cassettes, DVD's, CD's or Plastic Cases
  • NO Garden Hoses or Plastic Tubes
  • NO Plastic Shrink Wrap
  • NO Plastic Tubes, such as toothpaste or hair gel tubes
  • NO Paper Cups or Plates
  • NO Paperback or hardcover books
  • NO Bubble Wrap or Envelopes with Bubble Wrap inside
  • NO Ceramics
  • NO Candy or Food Wrappers
  • NO Potato Chip Bags
  • NO Plastic containers marked as “Compostable” or “PLA”
  • NO Scrap Metal
  • NO Plastic Flower Pots
  • NO Glassware or Window Glass
  • NO Yard Waste