Mixed Recycling
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Mixed Recycling

Mixed Recycling

Mixed Recycling
Mixed recycling is the recycling of many different types of plastics, metals and paper into new products. Our new mixed recycling program allows for single-stream mixed recycling district-wide. This means that all mixed recyclables (office paper, cardboard, plastic with a neck, cans and glass) should be collected in BLUE containers without sorting.

What to collect:


  • Paper of all colors
  • Construction paper
  • Post-it notes
  • Newspapers, magazines and catalogs
  • Corrugated cardboard and box board (please flatten)
  • File folders
  • Glass bottle and jars
  • Aluminum / tin beverage and food cans
  • Plastic with a neck (water bottle, milk jug, etc.) – Caps OK!
  • Aluminum foil and baking pans (no food contamination)


Please do NOT include:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Batteries
  • Ceramics
  • Chip bags
  • Electronics
  • Folders with metal / plastic components
  • Frozen food boxes
  • Light bulbs
  • Paper serving wear (plates, cups, etc.)
  • Pizza boxes (because of food contamination)
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic without a neck (food service containers, toys, yogurt container, etc.)
  • Scrap metal
  • Soft paper (tissues, napkins, etc.)
  • Styrofoam
  • Window glass

Label Your Bins to Ensure Success!

To ensure a successful mixed recycling program place well labeled bins in all busy locations. The district has created "what to collect flyers" in English, Spanish, and Hmong. These flyers were sent to each school's principal and can also be found as links on the right side of the webpage. Mixed recycling bins should be blue, and each school's building engineer should have placed an order for bins at the start of the 2008-09 school year. People will recycle more if the bins have prominent labels and are conveniently located in hallways, classrooms, the cafeteria, gyms, etc., so make sure your school's bins are highly visible!

Why is Mixed Recycling Important?

Recycling turns what could be waste into useful products. Waste and what to do with it is a growing problem. Each year in Hennepin County we generate enough waste to fill the Metrodome 11 times! That's about seven pounds of trash per person, per day! MPS waste is sent to the HERC incinerator.

When we recycle, Allied Waste takes our mixed recyclables and sends them to mills. These mills turn plastics back into plastic, paper back into paper, cardboard back into cardboard, and aluminum back into aluminum.

Recycling almost always saves energy, and the EPA found that recycling can reduce climate change. For example, using recycled aluminum scrap to make new aluminum cans uses 95% less energy than making aluminum cans from bauxite ore, the raw material used to make aluminum. Recycled cans are typically back on the shelf in two months.

Recycling means manufactures do not have to mine virgin materials. Mining can be very harmful to the environment and very dangerous for the miners. For example, gold mines can be seen from space, yet the particles of gold coming from these mines are microscopic.

Recycling provides us with an opportunity to learn more about the products we use, encouraging us to think about where products come from and what happens to them after we finish with them. Recycling can be a reminder to think about our daily actions. What effect do our actions have on the health of the envrionment? How does the health of the environment affect us?

See the educational links on the right for more information.


If you have questions about whether a specific item can go in the blue bins, please email: mpsgoesgreen@mpls.k12.mn.us.