Recycling Right

Click here to go directly to the 2020 Styrofoam & Electronic Recycling Dates

Listen in

Click the image below to listen to this segment of the Environmental Moment with tips about Recycling:

Recycling Right


Here are some friendly tips on how to recycle properly:

  • Recycle more!
    • City of Elkhart residents can upgrade their small green recycling bin to either a larger 48 or 96-gallon bin for FREE. You can fill out the form here or you can call and request the change by contacting Borden at (574) 293- 5001.
  • Recycle correctly!
    • On average 1 in 4 items that are put in the recycling is not actually recyclable.  Check to see what kinds of materials your local hauler can accept and only include those items.  So if there’s doubt, throw it out. 
    • Never bag your recyclables. Plastic bags can't be recycled with your other recyclable materials and they get caught in the sorting equipment. Always keep plastic bags separate and recycle them at a local retail location. 
  • Stay up to date on what is accepted
  • Look for other facilities that accept what you have:

    • Example: EFP, LLC. accepts EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), which they recycle and then use in their production process. EFP is located at 223 Middleton Run Road in Elkhart.

Acceptable Items



All colors of glass jars and bottles

Aluminum & Metal Cans

Clean Foil & Pie Tins

Cardboard, Cereal Boxes, Paper Towel Rolls, Dry Food Boxes

Telephone books, Soft Cover Books

Junk Mail

Plastic Bottles & Containers, #1 - #7

Magazines & Catalogs

Newspaper & Newspaper Inserts

Office Paper & File Folders

Paper Bags

Newspaper & Brown Paper Bags

Including advertising inserts. Place newspapers in brown paper bags or plastic grocery bags

Junk Mail

Junk mail includes magazines, envelopes, catalogs, and office paper. Please shred any personal papers or letters and place in separate clear bag.

Colorless Bottles & Jars

Rinse out, remove lids, labels can be left on.

Corrugated Cardboard

Please break down your cardboard boxes. Bundle or box them together. Do not place in bags.


Paperboard from cereal boxes, shoe boxes, etc.


Metal food and beverage cans, lids, caps, aluminum pie ins, tray, aluminum cans and foil IF they are CLEAN. Rinse thoroughly. Labels are okay. Empty aerosol cans are also accepted.

Plastic Bottles, Jugs & Rigid Containers

(such as those used for food or beauty products)

Milk, water jugs, laundry and hair care bottles etc. are okay. Rinse thoroughly. Labels are ok.

  • Be aware of what is NOT accepted

NOT Acceptable Items




Light Bulbs or Pane-Glass

Hard-Cover Books






NO Pyrex, window glass, ceramics or light bulbs. NO drinking glasses or decorative glass.

NO brown or green glass at this time

NO paperboard from frozen or microwave containers

NO 5 gallon pails, plastic flower pots, toys, bottle caps etc.

NO plastic bags, styrofoam or film

NO containers used for motor oil or chemical products

  • Recycle plastic grocery bags at the grocery store
    • Why? Plastic bags are not accepted at our residential recycling facilities. This is due to a few considerations: Plastic bags can easily get contaminated before reaching the recycling facility (getting wet or dirty) and it is too resource-intensive to sort and clean the bags onsite. In fact, plastic bags can be detrimental to the entire sorting process, by getting tangled up in the equipment or mixed in with the wrong materials. However, you can still recycle plastic bags--take them with you to the grocery store and drop them in the recycling bin there. There are other alternatives, as well, such as using reusable shopping bags, instead.
    • For more information, check out this video: Why you shouldn't recycle plastic bags at home
  • Rinse out your recycling
    • Why?  Leaving residue on the inside of jars or bottles can mean that an entire truckload of items gets turned away from recycling due to contamination. Contamination in the recycling world is defined as being “non-recyclable items that are mixed in with recyclable items or recyclable that items are placed in the wrong recycling bins." Too much contamination is the reason manufacturers reject tons of recyclable paper each year. [Recycling Works, “What Happens If I Don't Rinse Out My Recycling?”]
    • For more information click here: What Happens if I Don't Rinse Out My Recycling?
  • Make sure your cardboard is clean
    • Why?  Paper or cardboard with grease or food left on them could also mean that entire truckload of items gets turned away from recycling due to contamination. Paper and cardboard go through a process where it is chopped up and churned with water to make slurry. The food and grease don’t mix with water, therefore making the whole load unacceptable[Recycling Works, "What Happens If I Don't Rinse Out My Recycling?"]. You can cut off the greasy areas of cardboard and recycle the clean parts. 
    • For more information click here: Are Pizza Boxes Recyclable?
  • Take advantage of our Electronic Waste & Styrofoam Recycling Days!
    • Did you know you can recycle your electronics and Styrofoam? Borden will be hosting quarterly drop-off days for all City residents. Take your electronics and Styrofoam to Recycling Works at 605 Mason St. The 2019 dates of the drop off events will be:

      March 19th, 2020
      June 18th, 2020
      Sept. 17th, 2020
      Dec. 17th, 2020

      8 AM - 3 PM (3rd Thursday of March, June, September, December)

      EFP, LLC. also accepts EPS (Expanded Polystyrene), which they recycle and then use in their production process. EFP is located at 223 Middleton Run Road in Elkhart.
  • Dispose of your hazardous waste properly
    • Some products require special disposal, for the safety of humans and the environment. HHW Drop-off Days are held on the first Saturdays of every month from 8am to 3pm at the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on County Road 7 just north of County Road 26. For more information about HHW Drop-off Days please call the Solid Waste Management District at (574) 522-2581. 
    • For more information, check out the Public Works page.
  • Ask questions!
    • Borden & the City of Elkhart have all kinds of resources on our websites and Facebook pages to provide information and help answer questions. Curious if you can recycle something, but you aren't sure? Search the City website or visit Borden's website here. You can also follow the Elkhart Environmental Center and Borden on Facebook for more information or helpful tips.