Recycle Right WF

Recycle Right

In 2021, the Town of Wake Forest launched a comprehensive public education campaign on proper recycling behaviors. #RecycleRightWF introduced a series of easy-to-understand messages aimed at simplifying the recycling process and improving the quality of materials residents place in their rollout recycling carts.


Rules of Recycling Have Changed

The rules of recycling have changed. Did you know that not all items marked with the recycling symbol are recyclable as part of the Town’s waste reduction efforts?

As it turns out, some items actually create a greater environmental detriment and cost to recycle than to throw them out in the trash. Another challenge for the recycling industry is that many items that wind up in the mix actually impair the efficiency and safety of handling legitimate recyclables. These unwanted materials can make the whole lot unusable, thereby making contamination a costly obstacle for recycling.

While it feels good to reduce landfill volume and help the environment, attempting to recycle the wrong things—or wishing they could be recycled—can actually negate recycling efforts. It’s less important to fill the bin with a mix of things we think may be recyclable as it is to put in things we know are recyclable.


It's All About Shape & Size 

Today’s recycling is all about shape and size. To help the process, remember to keep recycling in its original form. For example, stop crushing cans, or tearing paper into small pieces, as modern recycling equipment separates items based on their intact shape.


You Can Make a Difference

If it feels like you are putting too much in the trash, consider what you are tossing out and seek other ways to make an impact. For example, make a point to choose alternatives to single-use consumables. Products like reusable mugs instead of single-use cups, and reusable shopping bags instead of plastic or paper, are easy ways to make a big difference. Do all you can to avoid contributing to recycling contamination. One way is to rinse all items clean before adding them to a recycling bin. You are the first step to successful recycling that is cost-effective and environmentally-beneficial process. Thank you for caring and doing your part.


Waste Wizard

If you are not sure if an item is recyclable, check the Waste Wizard. Using the Waste Wizard, type in the name of the item and find out the proper disposal method for that item.



No To-Go Containers

Those takeout cups, containers and utensils belong in the trash. They never belong in the recycling cart.

Get Cart Smart - Pizza Boxes

Recycle or toss? When it comes to pizza boxes, only recycle the clean ones, but toss the greasy ones in the trash. Keep recycling right! Get Cart Smart! #RecycleRightWF

No Plastic Bags

Plastic bags and packaging wrap around the recycling machines, shutting down the facility several times a day. Take them to the grocery store, bring your own bags, and when possible, buy products that aren’t packaged in plastic. #RecycleRightWF

Wishful Recycling

What’s the biggest contributor to contamination in recycling? Wishful recyclers who toss items into the recycling bin hoping they are recyclable. Know your no’s and remember — when in doubt, throw it out! #RecycleRightWF

Never these 9

NOT EVERYTHING is recyclable! The nine items you should always keep out are: plastic bags, food waste, cups, to-go containers, paper towels, tiny things, plastic packaging, Styrofoam and gloves/masks. #RecycleRightWF

Stick with these 6

NOT EVERYTHING is recyclable. However, these six items are recyclable in most of NC: plastic bottles, jugs and jars; metal cans; paper; and cardboard. That’s it! That means all of those other plastic items (pouches, cups, to-go containers, etc.) are trash! #RecycleRightWF

Recycle Right WF
Sustainability Coordinator