What Not To Recycle

Not everything that you collect for recycling has a market. Keep in mind that recycling is like any other business and is driven by the economics of supply and demand. Factors that impact the market include manufacturer/mills demand for the material, proximity to manufactures and mills, their willingness to pay for the material, etc.

Things that influence manufactures' and mills demand is consumer demand for the product they make. This is why it's important to also buy products made from recycled material. By buying products made from recycled content, we are closing the loop; therefore, creating the very market needed for the collection of materials for recycling. In short, in order for anything to be recycled, it must have a market for it to be sold to.

Aspirational Recycling

While most people are aware of the importance of recycling and the benefits it can provide to the environment, not everyone understands that there is a difference between what can and cannot be recycled. If you're interested in going and green and stepping up your recycling efforts, you may be surprised at what types of things you can't send to the recycling bin. Understanding what can be recycled will help you to avoid 'aspirational recycling'.

Aspirational recycling is the act of placing items into your blue, recycling bin that you believe can be recycled, should be recycled or believe the processor will see the item and consider finding options for recycling it, with disregard for any expressed/known list of what is accepted.

Let's work together to Number RecycleRight!

What You Should Not Recycle

Plastic Shopping Bags

Many people think that if something is made out of plastic, it can be recycled but this does not apply to plastic bags, since they have a tendency to get caught in the recycling machinery and potentially damage the equipment. If you're interested in recycling your plastic shopping bags, check out your nearest grocery stores. Many of the stores in Las Cruces participate in plastic film recycling under the guidance of Plastic Film Recycling.


Styrofoam, or expanded polystyrene (EPS), of any kind cannot be recycled in your blue bin. This includes packing peanuts commonly used in moving boxes, Styrofoam coffee cups, coolers, etc. Since Styrofoam cannot be recycled and is not biodegradable, it's best to avoid using this item whenever possible.

Take-out Food Boxes

While your late-night pizza or Chinese takeout may come in cardboard containers, these types of boxes cannot be recycled. Any grease or food particles that may be present can potentially damage and/or contaminate the other materials that are to be recycled.