Living Columns & Blogs

How do you recycle lids, caps and paperback books? CCRRA answers your questions

Last month my column described how to prepare the perfect recycling bin. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the responses, comments and feedback that I received either through email, phone calls or in person. I realized that I may not have been clear on some of my points, so I wanted to clarify some items in this month’s column. I hope this helps!

Q: When you say “rinse items,” what does that mean, exactly?

A: When we say rinse, we ask residents to rinse the food particles out of their recyclable items. We realize that peanut butter and mayonnaise jars are difficult to get clean, but as long as there is a good faith effort to rinse, our crew will take it for recycling. When items have food particles left in them and arrive at our facility, they can cause a smell as well as attract unwanted creatures. A nice rinse is very helpful to our operation. If a collection crew member feels that an item will attract rodents at our facility, they may leave that item in your curbside bin with a note to rinse. I hope this explanation helps.

Q: What is the proper way to recycle my lids and caps?

A: We do collect lids and caps from acceptable curbside items in our curbside bins. If you have a lid or cap from a bottle, jug or jar, you may simply leave the lid or cap on your acceptable curbside item or just place the lid or cap in the bin itself. Many glass bottles have metal caps. It is helpful to our crew to remove metal caps from glass bottles and place both the glass bottle and the metal cap in the bin separately. We do not want lids or straws from paper or plastic cups in our curbside bins or any of our bins.

Q: Can paperback books be recycled with mixed paper?

A: Yes, if you have a soft, paperback book to recycle, it may be bagged or bundled with your other mixed paper. If you have a hardback book, you must tear the hard cover off and recycle the paper along with your mixed paper recycling.

Q: Can I recycle my oblong, paperboard oatmeal containers?

A: Yes. If the oblong container has a metal bottom, place that item loose in the bin — if the oblong container is all paperboard (no metal bottom), place that in the bag with your mixed paper.

Q: How can I reach you?

A: Don’t ever hesitate to give me a call at 238-7005 or email at I am always here to help!

Thank you for recycling!

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