From Styrofoam containers to batteries, there are several things that cannot be recycled through a personal recycling bin. “The vast majority of waste that cannot be recycled curbside in your blue bin is technically recyclable, it’s just not necessarily economically viable to do so,” says Alex Payne, a publicist at the private recycling company, Terracycle

So, how do these things get properly recycled? Several private businesses and organizations have created programs that accept these items, allowing them to reach facilities in which they can be processed into new materials. Before tossing your recyclables in the bin for the week, consider taking them to the organizations below. 


Target is helping customers do their part to help the environment through their recycling program. At the entrance of each store is a series of recycling bins. Each bin is designated to dispose of certain things. In fact, several of these bins allow for items to be disposed that cannot be recycled at home, such as electronics and ink cartridges. 

“In 2010, we launched a comprehensive guest-facing recycling program in our stores to bring our commitment to recycling out of the backroom and allow guests to be part of the process. We help guests recycle cans, glass, plastic bottles, plastic bags, ink cartridges, MP3 players and cell phones, making our recycling program one of the most robust in the industry,” a spokesperson for Target explains. 

Before making your next Target run, consider bringing your recyclables with you and placing them in the store’s complimentary recycling bins.

four assorted-color trash bins beside gray wall


Perfect for these socially-distanced times (or if you don’t live near a Target), Terracycle has an online recycling program that you can join from the comfort of your home. The private recycling company has partnered with several brands to create free, nationwide recycling programs. These programs were born from an idea that was the brainchild of Terracycle Founder and CEO, Tom Szaky. 

“TerraCycle’s free, brand sponsored recycling programs started in 2007 when Founder/CEO Tom Szaky pivoted away from vermicompost (the world’s first product made from and packaged entirely in waste) that initially established the company’s reputation. This shift came when Tom realized that he could make a larger impact by using product and packaging waste, deemed to have no value, to create new raw materials that could be sold to manufacturers to produce new products,” Payne tells Planet Home.   

From personal care products to balloons, a variety of products can be recycled through Terracycle’s program, and Payne says the registration process is relatively simple. 

“As a first step, participants can make an account on Once signed up, they’ll be able to download collection materials, request UPS shipping labels, track their recycling progress, and in many cases, raise money for their favorite school or non-profit with every shipment. Some programs even offer collection locations where consumers can visit to drop-off waste for recycling.” 

Not sure if the products you’re looking to recycle are Terracycle recycling program participants? Check out Terracycle’s Free Recycling Programs page to see if your items qualify. 

sprite plastic bottle on table

Foam Facts

While Styrofoam is often the material of choice used to make carryout boxes for food delivery, it can’t be recycled at home. Many recycling facilities do not accept Styrofoam because it is lightweight. In order for Styrofoam recycling to be profitable, a whole lot has to be recycled, so the expenses to ship and process it can be covered as well. In a nutshell, it’s too expensive for recycling facilities to process Styrofoam. However, Styrofoam recycling drop off locations have been developing across the country, and the organization Foam Facts is helping Americans find out where. 

At the bottom of their homepage, the organization has a map that pinpoints all of the organizations in the United States that accept Styrofoam. On the upper left hand corner of the map is a search engine that allows you to type in your location. Once you enter your town’s name, the map will show you the organizations near you that can take your Styrofoam, and you’re set! Never throw your Styrofoam in the recycling bin at home. Instead, collect your Styrofoam in a bag that can be taken to a Styrofoam drop off location at a later date.  

litter signage


Batteries are always a no-go when it comes to knowing what cannot be recycled in your personal bin. For nearly three decades, Call2Recycle has spearheaded the efforts of recycling batteries.Call2Recycle hosts drop off locations where people can drop off their used batteries at a local business. Not so keen on heading to a store to drop off your batteries? Not to worry! Call2Recycle also sells boxes for those who wish to participate in their shipping program. For more information on Call2Recycle’s shipping program, head to their online store to learn more about the process.   

four Duracell batteries

Think Before You Toss

Before making your next rounds of recycling, ask yourself, “Can these things be thrown in my recycling bin?” If not, there are many organizations both online and in your community that will accept these items. Wherever your comfort level lies with heading into the outside world, these recycling programs make recycling possible from anywhere!