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General Questions

The numbers are used in industry to indicate the type of plastic it is. Unfortunately, it makes it confusing for customers to know what types of plastics are considered recyclable and what is, now, considered trash.

If something ends up in your recycle cart that shouldn't be there, the load becomes "contaminated". Currently, over 10% of everything put in blue recycling carts isn’t recyclable and is sent to the landfill as trash. Contamination increases labor costs at the sorting facility because workers have to remove the unwanted materials and send them to the landfill.

If you are unsure if the item is recyclable, visit our What Goes In, What Stays Out page, contact us, or throw it in your trash cart.

No. However, we offer curbside glass collection for residents and businesses. Curbside glass collection is a fee based service. Additionally, residential customers can take glass to any of the conveniently located drop-off sites around town for free.

No.  Loose plastic grocery bags and films clog the sorting lines and, in many cases, workers have to shut down the equipment to remove the unwanted items. Customers are urged to either take bags back to the grocery store to be recycled or throw them into your Hefty® EnergyBag™ orange bag. Plastic films can be thrown into the orange bag or into your trash cart.

These items must be thrown in your trash cart. Foil, glitter or plastic overlay is bonded to the paper so it stays on securely and, as a result, cannot be separated from the paper in the recycling process. 

Hefty® EnergyBag™Program

Plastics that can no longer go into the blue recycle cart and would otherwise go to the landfill will now be placed in Hefty® EnergyBag™orange bags and sent to Salt Lake City-based  Renewlogy, that turns the plastics into synthetic diesel fuel. All Boise residential recycling customers will receive the Hefty® EnergyBag™bundle of bags in the next few weeks. Collection for the program will begin as soon as orange bags are delivered to residents.

  1. Participating households will continue to place accepted materials in the blue recycle cart and place hard-to-recycle plastic materials that are empty, clean and dry into the Hefty® Energy Bag™. 
  2. Once the bag is full, it is tied tightly then placed in the blue recycle cart and collected the same day as recycling.
  3. The orange bags are delivered to a local materials recovery facility where they are pulled out and delivered to Renewlogy.
  4. Renewlogy converts the contents of the Hefty® Energy Bag into synthetic diesel fuel.

Only throw accepted items that are empty, clean and dry into the orange bag. If items are wet or not completely empty, they can contaminate the process.

Accepted items in empty tube packaging (toothpaste, lotion, etc.) can be thrown into the bag without being cut open and rinsed. The small amount of product left in the tube will be handled in the process.

The bags are 13 gallon, similar to a tall kitchen trash bag.

Recycling is unlimited. If you have extra recycling (and orange bags), place the material in a hard sided container and mark "Recycling".

Not at this time. We are looking into offering the Hefty® EnergyBag™Program to multi-family housing and businesses in the future.

No. The City of Boise is providing customers a supply of bags to collect plastics that are not allowed in the blue recycle cart. If a customer chooses not to participate, we ask that they give the bags to a neighbor, family or friend who is participating in the program. Non-participating customers should put hard-to-recycle plastics in the trash cart.

Recycling Restrictions

In 2017, China announced a ban on specific plastics and set strict standards on mixed paper. These restrictions have had serious impacts on the ability of U.S. communities, including Boise, to continue to recycle as usual. With the new restrictions in place, few overseas buyers are willing to buy many of the plastics that we now recycle. With no buyers for our used materials, we don't have any where to send them. 

The local materials recovery facility doesn't have the sorting equipment to process these items properly. Easily crushable, thin, lightweight water bottles and hinged-lid (clamshell) containers become flattened in the sorting process and get sorted incorrectly. These items end up in the paper stream, which lowers the quality of the recycled paper and makes it harder to sell.

Milk and detergent jugs, juice and soft drink bottles. These items must be loose in the cart. Do not bag accepted materials before placing into the recycle cart. If you're unsure whether something can be recycled, visit our What Goes In, What Stays Out page.