The 5 most common items mistakenly recycled in Franklin County


COLUMBUS, OHIO - What's accepted for household recycling in one community may not be the same in the next. And, just because an item is plastic, doesn't necessarily mean it can be recycled even if it has a recycling mark on it.

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) has put forth efforts to better educate Franklin County residents on the 5 most common items that people mistakenly put in their household recycling bin.

1. Plastic bags

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2. Clothing

3. Yogurt containers

4. Disposable coffee cups/lids

5. Plastic food containers

These items listed are not accepted either because they tangle in the recycling equipment leading to complications and additional costs or they are composed of materials that aren't able to be recycled with SWACO.

Hanna Greer-Brown, Communications Manager SWACO said, "Just because an item we want to dispose of has a recycling symbol on it or is made out of plastic, doesn't automatically mean it can be recycled in our household recycling program here in Franklin County."

SWACO is not responsible for what can and cannot be recycled but rather the Recycling Center.

"Those decisions are driven by economic factors," said Brown. Materials that are easily sorted and processed are favorable as well as having a demand for the specific material.

Greer-Brown said that certain materials such as plastic yogurt containers are not accepted in the household recycling program because of the different plastic material composition and the special process that is required in order to recycle it.

A quick and easy way to determine whether an item is able to be recycled is to look at bottle shape. You want something where the neck is smaller than the base.

Items such as plastic bags can be recycled at virtually all grocery stores. Clothes should be donated to a local nonprofit or Goodwill.

Plastic food containers and disposable coffee cups and lids should be reused or simply placed in the trash after use. Yogurt containers cannot be recycled with SWACO, but they are accepted at any Whole Foods for recycling as a part of the national "Gimme 5" plastic recycling program. This program uses yogurt cups and hummus containers to create new products such as toothbrushes, silverware and many other items.

Five items you can recycle with SWACO's household recycling program in Franklin County.

1. Plastic bottles & jugs

2. Paper and cardboard

3. Metal Cans

4. Cartons

5. Glass bottles and jars

SWACO's household recycling program in Franklin County is consistent from home-to-home which makes it easier and more convenient to recycle right.

For more information on what you can and cannot recycle in Franklin County, visit for more details.