Living Columns & Blogs

Recycling in Centre County: How to prepare the perfect curbside bin

Have you ever returned home on recycling day to find your bin upright with items remaining and a “Thank You for Recycling But ...” tag left inside? That just means you put something in your recycling bin that didn’t belong and the tag was left as an explanation.

I am here to help you — my job is to help. Check out my recycling tips below so you will be able to prepare the perfect curbside bin.

Plastic bottles, jugs & jars

There is an easy trick to preparing plastic items for your curbside bin. If the plastic item is a bottle, jug or jar — put it in the bin. This includes items such as: soda, water and shampoo bottles; milk, water and juice jugs; and peanut butter and mayonnaise jars. If your plastic item is not a bottle, jug or jar, such as a cottage cheese, deli or yogurt container, please do not put it in your curbside bin. These types of plastic “containers,” however, can be recycled at any of our six Miscellaneous Plastic recycling drop off locations in the bins labeled for these items. A list of all drop off locations can be found at As always, please make sure all plastic items are rinsed.

Plastic lids/caps

Plastic lids and caps may be recycled and can be left on or off your bottles, jugs or jars.


All clean/rinsed aluminum, steel, and tin food and beverage cans are accepted in our curbside program. In addition, we also accept clean aluminum foil, clean aluminum pie pans and empty aerosol cans (without the lids). Remember, we cannot accept food contaminated items in our bins.


Place clear, brown, green and blue glass bottles, jugs and jars in your curbside bin. Lids and caps from your glass bottles, jugs and jars can be placed in the bin or left on your item. Please rinse. Labels do not need to be removed. Do not place ceramics, light bulbs, window glass, lab glass, plates, drinking glasses, coffee or beer mugs in your curbside bin.


Paper recycled curbside should be either bagged or bundled. We cannot accept loose paper at the curb because the wind can turn your loose paper into litter. Plastic or paper grocery bags work great. You can also stuff all of your paper into cereal boxes (or a like item) and place in your curbside bin.

Corrugated cardboard

Corrugated cardboard boxes should be flattened and set next to or under your curbside recycling bin.

Thank you

I hope this helps you to prepare the perfect recycling bin. We at the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority really appreciate the time and energy that our residents put into our recycling program. This is why the people of Centre County share one of the best recycling programs in the country.

Remember, recycling is the law in State College and Bellefonte boroughs as well as in the townships of Benner, College, Ferguson, Harris, Patton and Spring. Please give me a call or email if you have any questions.

Amy Schirf is education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority. Contact her at