Curbside Recycling FAQs

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Who is required to have recycling service?

All residents and commercial businesses are required to subscribe to recycling service through the IWMA Recycling Ordinance No. 2008-3 Establishing Mandatory Recycling. Please contact San Luis Garbage at 543-0875 to arrange for service.

What household items can I recycle at my curbside?

Paper products: newspaper, magazines, mail, paper bags, cardboard, pizza boxes (clean, no food), cereal boxes, paperback books, and office paper.

Plastic products: rigid plastic bottles with necks (plastics #1 and #2).

Glass products: bottles, drinking glasses, and jars.

Metal products: aluminum foil, aluminum trays and pans, and clean food cans, soda cans, and pet food cans.

Should I bag my recycling?

NO. No plastic or compostable bags are allowed in the recycling system because they are difficult to separate and get wrapped up in the sorting machinery potentially causing damage and contamination. *Sustainable City tip: Plastic bags aren't recyclable curb-side, but may be recycled at a drop-off location! Find your closest drop-off location by clicking the link.

Do I have to flatten aluminum cans?

No. However, they must be emptied and can be flattened.

Can aluminum food containers, especially pet food containers, be put in recycling with aluminum soda cans?

All aluminum cans and aluminum foil will be collected as long as they are relatively clean.

Since recyclables have to be clean, how do I support water conservation efforts? Isn’t this a waste of water?

Major washing is not necessary. A light rinse to remove food is enough. Using water meant for other purposes such as dish water before you drain it out is a great way to conserve. Remember, recycling saves water and energy and reduces pollution in the manufacturing process. *Sustainable City tip: To really conserve, you might consider purchasing durable goods which can continually be reused instead of recyclables/disposables!

Should I bag or bind my magazines and newspapers?

No. Set them in a the container loose, flat and uncontaminated by debris.

Can household snail mail be recycled?

Yes, office paper of all types is collected for recycling. *Sustainable City tip: Use junk mail with print on only one side as scratch paper!

Where can I dispose of my mattress? 

Learn about free mattress and box spring recycling on our Mattress Recycling page!

My recycling bin lid won’t shut because I have too many recyclables. Can I leave it partially open?

No. According to the City’s Municipal Code Section 8.04.020(A), all solid waste receptacles must have close-fitting lids that are completely shut up until the moment of service. Open containers allow litter to fly out of, or moisture to come into the load of recyclables. *Sustainable City tip: Hold onto recyclables for the next service and make sure to breakdown boxes to maximize bin capacity.

Although I know what is being collected, sometimes I have items that may or may not fall under one of the acceptable categories. How can I tell for sure whether something is acceptable?

Call the IWMA at 782-8530 or visit and use their Recycling Guide tool to look up specific items and updated recycling information. You may also contact the Utilities Department at

I’m still not sure if my item is recyclable, should I just throw it in the blue bin and hope for the best?

No. When in doubt, throw it out. Do not dispose of non-recyclable items in the blue bin unless you are certain they can be recycled. Wishful recycling comes from a good place, but can be damaging to the recycling system.

Thanks for recycling!