Bristol Recycles Urges Proper Recycling

Bristol Recycles Urges Proper Recycling


Everyone should recycle all they can, but there can be some confusion when it comes to what goes in the blue bin. Stan Dimock, of the Bristol Recycles Committee, developed these concise recycling guidelines for Bristol residents:

1) Recycle any plastic containers that are up to 2 gallons in size. Rinse, attach cap, and place in your recycle bin.  The exception: Auto products (motor oil, anti-freeze, etc.) and coffee K-cups are trash.

2) No plastic bags in the recycle bin. Any recyclables tied in plastic bags in your recycle bin go directly to the landfill!  

The only exception: Shredded paper should be double-bagged in clear or translucent bags and placed in your recycle bin.

3) Use the restore bin at any grocery, pharmacy or big-box store to recycle any clear or translucent plastic that can be stretched (grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, bread bags, etc.).  

The only exception: Clingy food wrap is not recyclable.

4) Recycle any metal can up to 1 gallon in size, and metal lids and foil. The only exception: No yogurt lids.

5) No wire hangers or any other scrap metal in your recycle bin. Wire hangers jam the equipment at RIRRC, but can be recycled at most dry cleaners. Scrap metal can be taken to the Bristol transfer station. 

6) Don’t completely flatten your recyclable containers (cans, plastic bottles, etc.). The equipment at the Materials Recycling Facility can’t sort them properly when they are too flat. Light compaction is OK.

7) Glass is recyclable — but glass jars and bottles only. When recycling glass jars & bottles, remove the lids and include them in your recycle bin.

8) No styrofoam, straws or greasy parts of pizza boxes in your recycle bin.

9) Recycle paper and cardboard, but only if isn’t coated to repel water (e.g. refrigerated and frozen food boxes and hot coffee cups), and is free of food and grease. Milk, juice and soup cartons can be recycled. Particle board and wood cannot be recycled.

10) Consult the “recyclopedia” section of the RIRRC website ( for answers to almost every conceivable question about what is/isn’t recyclable, and for the best disposal options for items not accepted at the Eco-Depot.  Many bulky items not accepted for weekly curbside pickup (lumber, scrap metal, etc.) can be taken to Bristol’s Transfer Station or to the Eco-Depot in Johnston for recycling.

E. Keith Maloney
Bristol Recycles


  1. I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve flattened cardboard, bundled it, and put it out on the curb to be recycled… only to see the trash men pick it up! In these cases, it’s been more cardboard than we can reasonably cut up and fit into a bin. Is there something else we should be doing with this type of recycling? It’s really annoying to have gone to the extra effort to neatly bundle this all up only to see it thrown away!