Salt Lake City


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Recycling Can

What Can I Put in My Curbside Recycling Container?

Accepted recycling materials: boxes, cans, cardboard, paper, plastic containers, paper bags, books

Download the full Salt Lake City curbside services brochure.

Recycling bin flyer

Maintaining a robust recycling program is a core function of Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department. However, in 2018, the recycling world was shaken up by changes announced by China, which has affected recycling facilities worldwide. This includes local Utah processors used by Salt Lake City (read more on the SLCgreen blog).

The principles of 1) Reduce 2) Reuse and then 3) Recycle are more important than ever.

Please help us by only putting the correct items in your blue container. While additional changes may be announced at a later time, the following restrictions are now in effect for Salt Lake City curbside bins.

  • Please do not put plastic bags, films, or wraps of any kind in the blue container. (Learn more)
  • Do not enclose recyclables in plastic bags or kitchen bin liners (i.e. do not “bag your recyclables.”) This will prevent your items from being recycled.
  • No expanded polystyrene (“Styrofoam“)
  • No shredded paper.


  • Newspaper and newspaper inserts
  • Cardboard boxes, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, paper tubes
  • Magazines and phone books
  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel (tin) food cans
  • Plastic containers
  • Plastic-coated cartons
  • Junk mail, office paper, envelopes
  • Aerosol cans – please make sure they are drained by turning them upside down and releasing the pressure.


  • Glass (Sign up for curbside glass recycling or take yours to a community drop-off location.)
  • Food and food wrappings
  • Napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates
  • Aseptic cartons (“TetraPaks”)
  • Clothing
  • Electronics, computers, small appliances
  • Yard waste
  • Toys, garden hoses, plastic swimming pools
  • Home improvement/construction materials
  • Plastic bags (learn why here)
  • Styrofoam
  • Shredded paper

Why Recycle?

Salt Lake City collects recyclables from an estimated 45,000 residential homes, and 1,100 small businesses and multi-family complexes every day, five days per week.  An average of 750 tons of material are recycled each month.

Recycling this amount of material each month saves the equivalent of:

  • 7,379 mature trees (91,427,200 sheets of copy paper)
  • 3,030 cubic yards of landfill space (the annual space needed for 3,891 people)
  • 2,353,583 kWh of electricity (enough to power the needs of 225 homes)
  • 2,604 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 4,011,430 gallons of water (enough to meet the daily needs of over 50,000 people).

(Source: Waste Management, May 2018 stats)

The City currently recycles or composts 42% of the waste collected from residents. Our goal is to reach 50% in the next several years.

Thank you for Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling!