Department of Public Utilities

Trash Disposal & Recycling

Recycling

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The City of Fresno is working to meet the State of California mandate as required by AB 939, which calls for a 50% reduction in the waste sent to landfill. We need your help to keep our City clean and green by making recycling a priority at home, at work, and at play.

Recyclable Materials

Four different types of material are recyclable in Fresno – Paper, Plastic, Metal, and Glass.  It is important that we recycle these types of items because they are all made from natural resources. By recycling these materials, we help protect and preserve our natural resources, our environment, and our planet.

Batteries

Batteries

Fluorescent Bulbs

Fluorescent Bulbs

Paint

Paint

Sharps

Sharps

Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals

Used Motor Oil & Filters

Used Motor Oil & Filters

Paper

Every day, more trees are cut down for the production of paper. Wood that is unsuitable for lumber – nearly 50% of timber – is used for paper. Bark is removed, trees are chipped, processed, and broken down to fibers then washed, pressed, and dried.

In order to produce 1 ton of paper, wood from approximately 17 trees is needed, and the process produces 84 pounds of air pollutants, 36 pounds of water pollutants, and 176 pounds of solid waste. Disposing of paper creates pollution again through burning or through ground contamination from landfill leakage.

Recycling paper uses 60% less energy than manufacturing paper from fresh-cut timber.  Paper can be recycled into writing or printing paper, newsprint, roofing products, building insulation, fiberboard, other construction materials, fruit trays, flower pots, egg cartons, craft paper, tissue, cardboard, packing material, animal bedding, and more.

Plastic

Plastic is made by linking together natural gas and crude oil. Once linked together, these ingredients form a solid resin which is used to make plastic. It can take up to 700 years for plastic to decompose (break down and disappear) when it goes to a landfill or dump.

Categories of Plastic

There are many different types of plastic. The seven main types of plastic have numbers on them inside a recycling symbol. If you aren’t sure what type of plastic you have, find the recycle symbol and compare the number to those listed below. All plastics (except #6, Styrofoam) are recyclable in the City of Fresno.

1 – PET (Polythylene Terephthalate) – soda and water bottles
2 – HDPE (High Density Polythylene) – milk or orange juice jugs
3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – detergent/cleanser bottles, pipes
4 – LDPE (Low Density Polythylene) – squeezable bottles, food container lids
5 – PP (Polypropylene) – margarine tubs, screw-on lids
6 – PS (Polystyrene) – styrofoam, packing peanuts (not recyclable in Fresno)
7 – Other (Multi-Layer Plastics) – ketchup and syrup bottles

Number 1 Plastics
PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)

  • Found in: Soft drinks, water bottles, beer bottles, mouthwash bottles, peanut butter containers, salad dressing, and vegetable oil containers.
  • Recycling: Number 1 Plastics CAN be placed in Fresno’s blue recycling carts.
  • Recycled into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, and occasionally, new containers.

PET plastic is the commonly used for single-use bottled beverages because it is inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to recycle. It poses no risk of leaching harmful chemicals. Recycling rates remain relatively low (around 20%), though the material is in high demand by remanufacturers.

Number 2 Plastics
HDPE (high density polyethylene)

  • Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles, bleach, detergent, household cleaner bottles, shampoo bottles, motor oil bottles, butter, and yogurt tubs.
  • Recycling: Number 2 Plastics CAN be placed in Fresno’s blue recycling carts.
  • Recycled into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, and fencing.

HDPE is a versatile plastic with many uses, especially for packaging. It poses no risk of leaching harmful chemicals and is readily recyclable into many goods.

Number 3 Plastics
V (Vinyl) or PVC

  • Found in: shampoo bottles and clamshell containers.
  • Recycling: Number 3 Plastics CAN be placed in Fresno’s blue recycling carts.
  • Recycled into: Decks, paneling, mud flaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, and mats. PVC is tough and weathers well, so it is commonly used for piping, siding, and similar applications. PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don’t let the plastic touch food. Also never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.

Do not use Number 3 plastic bottles for drinking water!
Why? Number 3 plastics may release toxic breakdown products (including pthalates) into food and drinks. Harvard-educated Dr. Leo Trasande of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine advises consumers to avoid Number 3 plastics for food and drinks. The risk is highest when containers start to wear out and are put through the dishwasher or when they are heated such as in a microwave. PVC manufacturing can release highly toxic dioxins into the environment, and the materials can off-gas toxic plasticizers into your home.

Number 4 Plastics
LDPE (low density polyethylene)

  • Found in: squeezable bottles and food container lids.
  • Recycling: Number 4 Plastics CAN be placed in Fresno’s blue recycling carts.
  • Recycled into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, and floor tile.

LDPE is a flexible plastic with many applications. It poses little to no risk of leaching harmful chemicals.

Number 5 Plastics
PP (polypropylene)

  • Found in: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, and medicine bottles.
  • Recycling: Number 5 Plastics CAN be placed in Fresno’s blue recycling carts.
  • Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, and trays. Polypropylene has a high melting point and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It poses little to no risk of leaching harmful chemicals.

Number 6 Plastics
PS (polystyrene)

  • Found in: Styrofoam containers, and single-use plates and cups.
  • Recycling: Number 6 Plastics CANNOT be placed in Fresno’s blue recycling carts.
  • Not Recyclable: Avoid using them as much as possible.

Do not use Number 6 plastic bottles for drinking water!
Why? Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. Number 6 plastics can release potentially toxic breakdown products (including styrene), particularly when heated!

Number 7 Plastics
Miscellaneous

  • Found in: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, hard-rigid baby bottles, and certain food containers.
  • Recycling: Number 7 Plastics CAN be placed in Fresno’s blue recycling carts.
  • Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products, and a wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable

Metal

Aluminum
Aluminum is made from a natural resource called Bauxite Ore. This ore is found in rocks and must be mined. It is not a renewable resource which means that once it is gone, we will not have any more.

It can take 80-100 years for an aluminum can to decompose (break down and disappear) when it goes to landfill.

Aluminum can be recycled into packaging and containers (beverages, food), building materials, automobile and aircraft construction, appliances (stoves, refrigerators), toys, picture frames, decorative home décor (Bowls, vases, etc), baseball bats, and more.

When recycled, aluminum is shredded, decontaminated, melted, and poured into forms. The entire process takes about 90 days. It can be recycled over and over again forever.

Recycling aluminum uses 96% less energy than it takes to produce the same amount of aluminum from raw materials. 95% of air pollutants are eliminated and 100% of solid waste is kept from landfills. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to operate a TV for up to 3 hours.

Bi-Metal
A bi-metal can is actually made from steel with a thin plating of tin. You can often tell one of these cans by placing a magnet next to it. If the magnet sticks, the can is most likely bi-metal.

Steel and tin, as well as other metals, are all natural resources. This means that we have to mine the materials from our Earth, and eventually they will be gone. For every ton of steel recycled, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.

Steel can be recycled and used for more cans, cars, appliances, and construction materials.

Glass

Glass is made of soda ash, limestone, and a lot of sand. The mixture is put into a very hot furnace, and when it melts, it turns into glass.

It will take over 1,000,000 (one million) years for a glass bottle or jar to decompose (break down and disappear) when it goes to landfill.

Glass can be recycled and used over and over again. Glass can be recycled into new bottles, jars, fiberglass insulation, concrete, sewer pipes, bricks, tiles, road paving material, light bulbs, glassware, new glass containers, decorative home décor, surf boards (by way of fiberglass), and more. Most bottles and jars are made from recycled glass.

Recycled glass melts at a lower temperature than new materials so it takes less energy to heat the furnace. Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours. By using 50% recycled glass in the process of making new glass, water use is cut by 50%, waste is cut by 79%, and air pollutants are cut by 14%.

Outreach & Education

As part of our goal to educate the residents of the City of Fresno about recycling and protecting our natural resources, Recycling Program staff is available for presentations at schools, community organizations, or for participation in community outreach events located within the City of Fresno.

Staff is also available to attend school events such as science fairs, career days, and Earth Day events located within the City of Fresno.

To schedule a presentation or to request the Recycling Program’s participation in a community event, call the Recycling Hotline at (559) 621-1111.

School Presentations
Recycling presentations are available to Pre-K, elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools within the City of Fresno. Interactive and entertaining presentations cover information on recycling, resource conservation, and protection of the environment. The Recycling Program staff is happy to work with teachers to help relate the information and materials to classroom curriculum.

Presentation time will vary depending on the type of presentation. For young children, the presentation will take about 20 minutes while presentations for older students can take between 45 minutes to an hour. Handouts, videos, and visual aides are used to reinforce the information. There is no presentation fee and all handouts are free!

The presentation program is funded by the City of Fresno and various state grants. It focuses on the following areas of recycling and disposal:

  • Beverage Container Recycling
  • Used Motor Oil and Oil Filter Recycling
  • Green, Gray, and Blue Carts
  • Household Hazardous Waste

Community Service Organization Presentations
Recycling Program staff is available to make presentations to community service organizations within the City of Fresno. Topics include recycling, resource conservation, and protection of the environment.

Additional Resources & Supplemental Materials
The Recycling Program has the following resources and supplemental materials available upon request:

  • Educational Packets – includes information on Solid Waste, Recycling, Green Waste, Used Motor Oil and Hazardous Waste services, and resources throughout the City of Fresno.
  • “Closing the Loop” Curriculum (grades K – 6) – provides current and accurate waste management information. Enables students to get involved with hands-on action-oriented projects. (Available online at www.CalRecycle.ca.gov).

To contact the City of Fresno Recycling Program, call (559) 621-1111.