Recycling Basics for Phoenix, AZ

Simple recycling!

For Phoenix and most of the surrounding metro area. Remember to check your city’s page for their recycling rules! Recycling "Big Four"

Need a reminder? Download Phoenix’s rules in English & Spanish (PDFs). Here in the valley, you can recycle “The Big Four” (as we like to call it): Paper/cardboard, Glass, Metal, and Plastic.

Paper & Cardboard – We all grew up knowing that you can recycle old papers and boxes, but here are some other useful tidbits:

  • make sure to reuse papers by printing or writing on both sides
  • post-it notes, junk mail, and envelopes (even with the little clear windows) are recyclable.
  • paperboard cereal boxes, cartons, and other cardboard boxes are more easily processes when they’re flattened.
  • if you have have shredded paper, place it in a clear bag before adding it to the recycling bin so help the sorters identify it.
  • photography paper, sticker sheets, tissues, paper towels, and greasy cardboard are not recyclable.


Glass – Glass can be confusing, but here is an easy trick:

  • recyclable glass containers are those you might find holding food in a grocery store – those bottles and jars are recyclable!
  • remove and recycle the lids separately.
  • other household glass like mirrors, picture frames, and glass tableware are not recyclable.


Metal – Metals are extremely recyclable!

  • aluminum cans, foil, and stainless steel are all recyclable.
  • get out as much of the residue as you can – make sure nothing will drip from a can on to the rest of your recycling.


Hard Plastic – This is a biggie! When in doubt, throw it out!

  • hard, or rigid plastics are recyclable – that means sturdy stuff!
  • examples of hard plastics are bottles, cups, jars, jugs, lids, and tubs.
  • good recycling is always clean, dry, and empty – and when it’s a plastic container with a plastic lid, leave the lid screwed on.
  • the numbers on the bottom of many plastic containers don’t tell you if it’s recyclable.
  • soft or mushy plastics: plastic bags, air pillows, zip top bags, or styrofoam are not recyclable.