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Should I recycle this? Everything you need to know about what can and can't be recycled: 2 Wants to Know

Masey Demoss, with the City of Greensboro, answers questions about the city's recycling

GREENSBORO, N.C. — We all want to do our part to help the environment, which is why we recycle, but there are rules we have to follow to make sure everything ends up where it belongs. 

Masey Demoss, Greensboro's Recycling and Waste Reduction Educator, joined us on 2 Wants to Know to answer questions about the city recycling program.

Greensboro Recycling recently completed its recycle audit. Samples were taken from about 60 commercial and residential bins to see what people were recycling. 

The audit shows most residents are doing well in recycling paper, especially cardboard. That is actually the most recycled material there is in the city. When you do recycle cardboard, make sure you break down your boxes. 

The city does not accept plastic bags of any kind. Grocery bags get taken to the landfill and are considered contamination. Plastic cups and single-use plastics are also not recyclable. This includes silver ware and red solo cups. 

Do I have to wash out my containers? 

It's helpful, but if you don't get the material completely cleaned it's not the end of the world! 

What is 'Plastic Free July?' 

We're so glad you asked! The Greensboro Recycling Center is encouraging everyone to reduce their plastic usage by cutting one thing out of their life that is packaged in plastic. Demoss is trying to avoid plastic coffee cups and using her tumbler for coffee but, don't worry, she isn't giving up her coffee! 

Get wild with the Recycling Rodeo! 

 On September 18, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., anyone can drop off household hazardous waste (like batteries), chemicals, gasoline, and even foam! You can also bring in shredded paper. 

If you want to drop off electronic waste, you can do that too! 

Why would I bring in shredded paper when I could just recycle it? 

Such a great question! Shredded paper actually can't be recycled!

How do I get into composting? 

The recycling center is hosting its annual Compost Bin and Barrel sale right now! Purchase a compost bin or rain barrel through the city. 

This month, at Keely Park, an education center will be posted to inform people about composting. 

Should I leave the lid on plastic bottles when I recycle them? 

Yes. The rule of thumb is if the lid twists on or off, keep it on! If the lid pops off, take it off. 

If you need to contact the recycling center's field office, you can call them at

The city's recycling schedule is here