Recycling Guide

Here in Eugene, we all work together for a sustainable future. Here’s how to do your part so we can do ours to keep Eugene clean and green. Keep your whole household in the know— download and print the recycling guide.

FILL YOUR BIG GREEN CART

Filling your cart right keeps recyclables out of landfills. That’s a great big win for one mighty green cart. But don’t contaminate those recyclables! If any of the prohibited items make their way into your green cart, we’ll need to send everything in the bin to the landfill and charge you a disposal fee.

YES: Plastic beverage containers

Milk jugs and clear plastic beverage bottles; make sure you rinse them out!

Yes: Cardboard

Smaller (flattened) cardboard items can go right in the cart (so break down those boxes!). But if you have a heap of cardboard, here’s what to do: break it down, cut it into pieces less than 3' x 3' (about the length of a guitar), and stack it next to your cart at the curb.

Yes: Paper

Newspaper, scrap paper, printer paper, junk mail—don’t throw it out, recycle it!

Yes: Tin cans

Make sure they’re clean as a whistle—wash them out before taking them to the cart.

Yes: Aluminum foil

Tinfoil is gold for the recycling plant! Just make sure it’s free of any food debris.

NO: Other plastics

If it’s not a clear plastic beverage container or milk jug, leave it out—we can’t accept other plastics.

No: Yard Debris

Save all the yard debris for your grey debris cart!

No: Food-contaminated paper products

Anything that has food residue (like pizza boxes) goes in the trash, not the recycling.

No: Most frozen food boxes

Paper that has a waxy coating—used in most frozen food boxes to protect against moisture—can’t be recycled.

No: Garbage

Garbage in the green bin? No way! That includes everything from paper towels to dryer sheets to old clothes and linens.

No: Electronics

Don’t toss that trashed TV out with the recyclables. For all your old electronics, call us for disposal options.

No: Clothing and personal items

While you can’t recycle old backpacks or button-downs, consider donating them to local nonprofits. Scroll down for options!

No: Miscellaneous junk and refuse

Pet litter, doggie droppings, full bottles of liquid, food scraps, lumber, and household items cannot be recycled. Have a question about something not listed here? Reach out and let us help you find the correct bin or disposal method for junk of every kind!

No: Six pack ring holders

These can't be recycled. Snip the rings (turtles will thank you) and put these in the garbage.

No: Bubble wrap and plastic packaging

We can't recycle bubble wrap and packaging—but your local shipping store might take it off your hands.

No: Plastic storage containers

If it’s not a clear plastic beverage container or milk jug, leave it out—we can’t accept other plastics. Plastic containers that can't be recycled can go out with the regular trash (as long as they fit in your bin).

No: Prescription medicine bottles

Empty pill bottles must go in the regular trash, not your recycling cart. And FYI, if you have leftover meds to dispose of, those are hazardous waste (yes, even over-the-counter stuff)! Contact your pharmacy or call Lane County Waste Management at 541-682-4120 for options. And please, don't flush them down the toilet—that's bad news for our local waterways.

No: Empty metal paint cans

Empty paint cans can go into your normal trash bin. Just make sure any residual paint inside is totally dry before you toss them. Need to get rid of paint-filled cans? Give us a ring and we'll help you get it sorted.

No: Alkaline batteries

As long as they're not rechargeable, you can dump dead alkaline batteries into the trash, but not the recycling.

No: Other batteries

All non-alkaline batteries need special handling—including batteries for your laptop or other devices. To recycle button, rechargeable alkaline, ni-Cad, lithium, and silver oxide batteries, contact Lane County Waste Management at 541-682-4120 or check with battery and electronic stores.

No: Plastic bags

These can't be recycled, so go ahead and put them in your trash cart.

No: Shrink wrap

Shrink wrap can't be recycled, but you're free and clear to throw it out in the trash.

No: Rechargeable batteries

Sorry, rechargeable batteries need special handling, so keep them out of your recycling and your trash bins. To dispose of them safely, contact Lane County Waste Management at 541-682-4120 or check with battery and electronic stores.

FILL YOUR LITTLE RED BIN

Small but mighty, your red bin keeps special items out of the big recycling fray so our drivers can carry them to the recycling plant safely. But be sure you don’t include prohibited items—those are safety hazards that will contaminate the whole bin (and you may be charged a disposal fee).

Yes: Glass jars and bottles

Make sure they’re rinsed and clean!

Yes: Motor oil, transmission fluid, or hydraulic oil

Put your cast-off car fluids in an unbreakable one-gallon container with a tight screw-on lid. No more than two gallons a week, please.

No: Broken glass and ceramics

Sweep sharp shards into the trash—they can’t go to the recycling facility. Safety first!

No: Mirrors

These contain material other than glass, so if you’re tired of your own reflection, donate your mirror to a thrift store instead of the recycling bin.

No: Light bulbs

The stuff inside that glass globe is not recyclable! Recycle bulbs safely by contacting Lane County Hazardous Waste Disposal.

No: Antifreeze, solvents, and gasoline

These are hazardous materials we can’t recycle—Lane County Hazardous Waste Disposal can handle them for you.

No: Cooking oils and other oils

Other than the three car fluids listed above—motor oil, transmission fluid, or hydraulic oil—all other oils must stay out of the recycling.

The why behind the how

Recycling is a no-brainer for the health of Eugene’s ecosystem. But it pays to be a recycling brainiac! Here are a few facts to help you remember why sorting your recyclables is the smart move (and to give you a leg up at trivia night). 

  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for three hours

  • Only around 27% of plastic bottles are recycled

  • Recycling one glass bottle or jar saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours

  • Recycling one ton of cardboard saves over nine cubic yards of landfill space

  • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour, and most are not recycled

Want more recycling know-how? Download our detailed dive into the recycling landscape in Eugene. 

Before you recycle, reuse! 

Way back when Samuel Miller started this business, he noticed that folks would put perfectly good stuff out for his trash truck. And as the saying goes, one person’s trash is indeed another’s treasure—that’s why he sorted out anything that could be reused. 

So don’t toss out your old kid’s books, last season’s sweater, or slightly sagging sofa! Many local organizations would be thrilled to take your cast-off stuff. 

Call or click below for details on local drop-off locations, hours, and accepted items for places to donate used items in Eugene. Reusing helps our community and the planet. Good work!  

Clothing
Books

Many used bookstores accept books. You can also donate some books to the Eugene and Springfield public libraries.

Building materials
Computers and electronics
Furniture

WHAT’S RECYCLABLE?
DON’T GUESS, CALL APEX!

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