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Recyclable Items

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What should you recycle in your blue bin? 

Recycling is not as easy as it seems. There is much confusion about what can be recycled and what should never be recycled. Putting things in the blue bin that do not belong causes contamination. Never bag your recyclables. Keep them loose in the bin. Bagging recyclables causes contamination. Contamination costs the city four times as much to process and those loads are sent to the landfill. 



Items not recyclable in Tempe recycling bins

Please do not put the following items in blue recycling containers.

  • Plastic bags - Please take your plastic bags to a Bag Central Station location.
  • Household and automotive products, electronics - Please bring to the Household Products Collection Center for proper disposal
  • Styrofoam (packaging and peanuts)
  • Shrink and bubble wrap
  • Plastic utensils (forks, knives, etc.)
  • Paper towels, napkins, facial and toilet tissue
  • Waxed coated fast food beverage cups
  • Six pack plastic beverage rings
  • Self-sealing or cardboard mailing envelopes with padding or bubble wrap
  • Stained glass, light bulbs, mirrors, porcelain and ceramics
  • Cereal box inserts
  • Empty chemical containers
  • Dog or cat food bags
  • Food waste or liquids of any kind

Shredded paper no longer allowed 

Due to changes in the recycling market, the facility that processes our recycling can no longer take bagged shredded paper in curbside recycling bins or at the five recycling drop-off locations throughout Tempe. (Shredded paper cannot be placed in your recycling bin separately because it simply falls through the machinery and is landfilled). Therefore, the City of Tempe has teamed up with The Centers for Habilitation/ASDD Document Destruction to offer solutions to this challenge. Residents can now:

  • Drop off bagged shredded paper or documents to be shredded at City of Tempe Zero Waste Days during April and November.
  • Drop off bagged shredded paper or documents to be shredded at The Centers for Habilitation/ASDD Document Destruction headquarters (225 West Lodge Drive, Tempe, AZ 85283) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Residents who want to watch their documents being shredded onsite at The Centers for Habilitation/ASDD Document Destruction ( can do so with a valid picture ID Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Drop off documents to be shredded (no bagged shredded paper) at the Household Products Collection Center (1320 East University Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281) during operating hours only on Friday from 7 a.m. – noon and on Saturday from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.