Fresno Recycling: What Can I Put In The Bin?!

What do you not put in the blue bin? What goes in the trash? Sadly more than you think.

I have never considered recycling as a money-making endeavor, for cities. They are Government. They are supposed to help society do good things, make things better, even if it does not make money.

I am a dummy.

In the case of recycling, the City of Fresno and a lot of cities across the nation, for the most part, only accept recycled material they can make their money back on.

Recently, this reason has caused the city to accept less material in the blue bin.

If you’re in the County and use Republic Services or some other garbage dudes, these rules seem to apply the same, I was unable to find a definitive difference.

Things you can’t put in the blue bin but thought maybe you could (the bummer facts).

You can check keepfresnoclean.com for more but here are the highlights:

  • Bottle caps.
  • Clothes and blankets.
  • Air filters.
  • Used (soiled) pizza boxes.
  • Dry cleaning bags.
  • Plastic grocery store bags.
  • Coffee machine pods.
  • Plastic drinking cups (from places like Dutch Brothers, ect.)

They all go in the grey trash bin, in case you are wondering.

The plastic drinking cups and bottle cap thing threw me. The City of Fresno site says ALL plastic can be recycled, but I don’t think it has been updated in a while.

This sucks. I have been putting all those things listed (with the exception of pizza boxes) in the recycling bin. Now what?

Why Can’t We Recycle All The Plastics?

Well, it apparently relates to something called “Operation Green Fence.” This was a thing to clean up the amount of recycling material that China takes in.

China was the main customer for most of the United States recycling materials. But for reasons, it is no longer profitable enough for China to take all our junk so they started weeding out the less profitable material.

That’s why things like bottle caps and plastic cups are no longer allowed in our recycling bins, it’s not profitable enough. You would think it would not matter, you pay decent money for the service, they should take all the recycling you can toss at them.

But, that is not the real world.

You and I may not like it but we are own on how to deal with much of the recycling. The City of Fresno can only do so much, I guess.

Pack in. Pack out.

What can we do?

Bring your own cup.

Places like Dutch Bros. encourages you to bring your own cup for them to use (since the drinks they put in plastic cups are the cups you can’t recycle).

I’m pretty fond of Yeti cups:

You can also try to find a recycler in town that will take the plastic the city of Fresno won’t. I want to recommend some but I can’t because I have no knowledge of any. If they can’t make money back on it, why would they?

Buy reusable water bottles.

Even though you can still recycle plastic water bottles, maybe there are times you can lug around your own and reduce plastic production. Perfect for all those disgusting looking kombuchas you drink.

Does Fresno still recycle more than other cities?

We are supposed to be the top (per capita) recycling city in the country. Even if that is still true, it doesn’t feel like it anymore. If these rules apply to all cities, I guess we are cool.

I’d like to know we are working to find ways to take more stuff in the blue bin. Hopefully, Fresno is.

In the meantime, if I am not sure which bin my junk goes in, I will put it in the blue one and let them sort it out. Maybe there is the off chance it will get recycled, even if it does not make money.