To protect worker safety and improve the value of Vermont’s recyclables, the Agency of Natural Resources has launched a campaign to reduce recycling contamination. The Agency worked with Chittenden Solid Waste District and Casella Waste Systems to identify the top four contaminants at their recycling facilities and created advertisements to let people know these items don’t belong in blue recycling bins: plastic bags, batteries and electronics, food-contaminated recyclables, and scrap metal.

“We want Vermonters to know that when their recyclables arrive at the facilities, workers need to sort it. When the wrong things end up in the recycling bin, it makes the sorting gross or dangerous. Plastic bags, and other tanglers like rope, get caught in the rotors and cause the machines to stop or break down. Then someone has to climb in and cut them out,” says Cathy Jamieson, Solid Waste Program Manager with the Department of Environmental Conservation. “And that half-full bottle of soda will spill onto the paper and cardboard, ruining the chance for them to be recycled into new paper products.”

On America Recycles Day and every day, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources reminds Vermonters to recycle only clean and empty containers, jugs, bottles and cans and dry paper and cardboard. Here are other recycling tips:

  • Leave your recyclables loose in the bins. Do NOT put them inside plastic bags.
  • Wondering what to do with your plastic bags? Many grocery and hardware stores accept them for recycling. Find a location near you at
  • In Vermont, you can recycle electronics for free. Find a location near you at
  • Batteries and cell phones can be recycled at many solid waste district transfer stations and other locations statewide. Visit for more information.
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