Sort It Right: Mixed Containers

Apr 12, 2018 | News

Mixed container recycling is easier than you think, even in hospitals and residential care facilities. The following tips will make mixed container recycling fast, easy, and effective, while keeping recycling staff safe and preventing recyclable materials from being contaminated with non-recyclable waste.

These products belong in mixed container recycling bins:

  • food and beverage containers in hard plastic, glass, aluminum, tin, and Tetra Pak
  • cleaning product containers in hard plastic, glass, metal, and Tetra Pak
  • solution and irrigation bottles (e.g., isotone/buffer, sterile water, sodium chloride)
  • CaviWipe containers
  • plastic medication cups

All containers must be empty and have their lids removed. When possible, containers should be rinsed. All patient identifiers must be removed.

The following items can’t be recycled and belong in garbage bins:

  • empty urinals/graduated cylinders (even if clean or used for non-bodily fluids)
  • empty specimen containers (even if clean or used for non-bodily specimens)
  • empty syringe, no needle
  • empty tubing
  • non-empty containers
  • soft plastics (e.g., gloves, some packaging)

Containers intended for bodily fluids, like urinals, are sometimes used for other (non-body) purposes. However, recycling staff—who sort the containers by hand—won’t know how the container was used. Therefore, all such containers must be treated as if used for their intended purpose and disposed of in garbage bins.

Sorting mixed containers correctly prevents having whole bags of recyclables contaminated and disposed of in the garbage.

Visit GreenCare Community’s Recycling Questions page for more information on which items can be recycled.


Contact Sustainability Consultants Sonja (Janousek) or Marianne (Dawson) at

Related Articles

Add new comment