Recycling Information for New Homeowners

Moving into a new home is an exciting and challenging experience. As you decide how to manage your power, water, gas and garbage collection services, now is also a great time to establish your recycling routine. The City of Lincoln has made it easy for you to help conserve natural resources and divert waste from the landfill. Just follow this guide:

Getting Started:

When arranging your garbage collection service, know that garbage collectors also offer recycling pickup. It’s easy, convenient and affordable. The weekly cost for this service is less than a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop.

More info: Garbage and Recycling Collectors

Another option is to take your recyclables to one of the City’s conveniently-located recyclables collection sites for no fee. Find your nearest location on the map below  .

Recycling Basics:

Start by focusing on the basics: paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles and tubs. These essential items are the easiest to divert from the landfill and process into new products. Make sure everything is empty and clean, because soiled or wet materials can cause your entire load to be sent to the landfill.

Special Items:

Plastic bags and glass are recyclable, but they must be separated from other recyclables. Plastic bags can tangle up in sorting equipment, and broken glass in a recycling bin could cause your entire load to be sent to the landfill. Take bags to supermarket collection sites. Some recycling collectors do not accept glass (check with your collector). Clean glass bottles and jars can be recycled at city recyclables collection sites.

More info: Be a Recycling Champion

Corrugated Cardboard Disposal Ban:

Clean and dry corrugated cardboard is not accepted in the landfill. (Lincoln Municipal Code 8.32.040). Corrugated cardboard, an easily recyclable material, is three layers of paper with a corrugated or rippled middle layer. Residents must ensure that clean, dry corrugated cardboard is not placed in trash containers. This helps dramatically reduce the amount of material going to Lincoln’s landfill. Learn more about the cardboard disposal ban at

More info: Corrugated Cardboard Disposal Ban

Hazardous Waste:

Most refuse items can be recycled or placed in the trash, but some hazardous household items require special attention. Lincoln’s Hazardous Waste Center, 5101 N. 48th Street, is the convenient collection location for household toxic chemicals and hazardous waste. Visit for more details.

More info: Lincoln's Hazardous Waste Center

Managing Yard Waste:

From April 1 to December 1, grass and leaves (including crabgrass and pine needles) cannot be mixed with other waste or placed in plastic bags for general waste collection. Tree trimmings, garden waste and weeds can be included with regular household garbage. Consider mulching or composting your grass and leaves or taking yard waste to the North 48th Street Transfer Station, 5105 N. 48th St. You can also subscribe to yard waste collection through your local garbage collector.

More info: Backyard Composting

Recycling Guidelines:

Please check with your collector. While most will accept the items below, some don’t take specific items such as glass, plastic bags and more.

Cans (Aluminum, Steel, and Tin)

Acceptable: Aluminum cans; steel (tin) cans. Empty and clean. Liquids and food residue must be removed. Labels are okay.

Not Acceptable: Plastic film; aluminum pans and foil; metal objects; hangers; cans containing food or liquid residue; aerosol cans.

Recycling Tip: Metal lids from glass bottles and jars can be placed inside tin cans and top of the can crimped so the lids do not fall out.

Plastic Containers (numbers 1-5)

Acceptable: Rigid plastic bottles where neck is smaller than body (caps and neck rings are okay); food tubs 5 gallons or smaller; clear plastic clamshells (e.g. fresh berry packaging); empty and clean. Liquids and food residue must be removed. Labels are okay. (#1-7 plastics acceptable for curbside pickup, #1-5 acceptable at public recyclables collection sites .)

Not Acceptable: Plastic film; Styrofoam products; motor oil or chemical containers; plastic plates, cups or eating utensils; grocery sacks; metal of any kind; bulky, rigid plastics larger than 5 gallons; flower pots; K-cups.

Recycling Tip: The best approach to recycle plastic bags is to take them to local retail collection programs. In addition to plastic grocery sacks, you can recycle vegetable bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags, food storage bags, and newspaper delivery bags. Lids on plastic bottles and tubs can be recycled but need to be left on the containers after they are empty and clean. Small plastic bottles (smaller than 2 inches; e.g., prescription bottles) should be placed inside a larger plastic container for recycling.


Acceptable: Clean and dry newspaper and inserts; newsprint packing paper.

Not Acceptable: Plastic film; Styrofoam; product samples; newsprint with food residue; wet or soiled newsprint.

Recycling Tip: Do not place newspaper in plastic bags. Best approach is to have them loose in the recycling container.


Acceptable: Clean and dry paper; paper without food residue; paperboard, paper bags, mail, magazines, catalogs; telephone directories; paperback books; molded paper egg cartons; paper packaging (e.g., cereal, frozen dinner boxes). Flattening helps save space.

Not Acceptable: Plastic film; Styrofoam; paper plates; coffee cups; paper towels or tissues; soiled or wet paper.

Recycling Tip: Shredded paper should be placed in a brown paper bag and sealed. Do not place paper in plastic bags. Do not crush paper into balls because they can fall through sorting screens at processing facilities.


Acceptable: Clean and dry corrugated cardboard. Please flatten all cardboard to help save space.

Not Acceptable: Styrofoam; waxed cardboard; packing material; plastic of any kind; wet or soiled cardboard.

Recycling Tip: Pizza boxes can be recycled. A little grease is okay, but cheese and food waste is not. Staples and tape are okay.

Related: Corrugated Cardboard Disposal Ban FAQ

Glass (bottles and jars only)

Acceptable: Some curbside recyclers do not accept glass bottles and jars in their single stream recycling containers. Empty and clean. Labels are ok.

Not Acceptable: Plastic film, light bulbs, window glass; drinking glass; mirrors; dishes and cups; vases; ceramic products. Glass bottles and jars with liquids or food residue.

Recycling Tip: In order to maximize the amount of glass recycled, residents should take their glass bottles and jars to City-sponsored recyclables collection sites . The glass will be shipped to Ripple Glass in Kansas City to make new beer bottles and fiberglass insulation.

Recyclables Collection Sites Map

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