For better or for worse, what we can and can’t recycle is driven by market demand for recycled materials. Because polystyrene (the generic name for Styrofoam) is so light, it is not cost-effective for the recycling industry to ship and process.
Why did this county ban plastic bags?
Check out our page about shifting to reusable bags.
Where can I get a worm bin?
You can purchase a ready-made worm bin, or make your own. Learn more »
Can you send someone to my house to pick up ______?
The SLO County IWMA does not offer services to pick up goods for disposal.
Can I recycle ______ ?
Use our search tool at the top of this page to find out if you can recycle just about anything. You can also check out our lists of Most Requested items, Top Troublemakers (things you should not recycle), and Special Programs (things that you need to dispose of in a specific way, like electronics).
Why should I recycle?
Recycling reduces the amount of valuable materials that end up in our landfills and conserves limited natural resources. Get informed about the importance of recycling with these facts and statistics.
Why is recycling different everywhere?
Under US law, recycling programs have to be run at the state and local level, so there is no national standard. What can and cannot be recycled — and how you recycle — can vary even between adjoining towns and cities. This is due to what hauling services and sorting facilities are used, and the economics of transporting and selling recyclable materials into the marketplace.
I’ve heard that my recyclable materials don’t actually get recycled, they get hauled to the dump. Is that true?
Rest assured that your recycling is headed for the sorting facility, not the dump. It costs money to deliver trash to the dump; conversely, recyclable materials are valuable and can be sold for profit.
That said, some items that are deposited in recycling bins ultimately end up in the trash after they are sorted out at the recycling center, simply because they are deemed not recyclable in the first place and are rejected by sorting machines. Also, occasionally, a load of recyclables is so heavily contaminated with hazardous materials or non-recyclables that it must be thrown in the trash.
What is single-stream recycling?
Single stream recycling is a sorting method that makes recycling easy for residents. All recyclable materials (glass, plastic, paper, etc.) go into a single cart or bin at the curb, rather than getting separated into multiple bins. Then, sophisticated equipment sorts everything out at the recycling center.
To see how single stream recycling works, watch this video:
Should I bag up my materials before placing them in the recycling bin?
No. Bags can jam up sensitive equipment at the recycling facility and are difficult for workers to deal with.
When in doubt, which is the better option: recycling or garbage?
If you’re unsure what to do with something, you can always use our search tool to find out. But if you don’t have a mobile device or computer handy, throw the item out. Putting non-recyclable items in the recycling can be expensive (labor cost of sorting out non-recyclables and/or lowered resale value of contaminated recyclables), and also even potentially dangerous (workers having to extract items from machinery).
Where can I submit complaints of non-compliance to the IWMA?
Complaints for alleged violations of local, regional, or statewide regulations can be submitted using the IWMA’s Complaint Form.