How much thought do you put into what you throw in that blue bin? Recycling can be a little more complicated than it seems. If it’s not done right, you could be causing more harm than good.

Putting something in the recycling bin instead of the trash can hoping it’ll get recycled doesn’t mean that it will be, according to the New York Times. Waste managers consider this to be “wishful or aspirational recycling.” 

While many of the items we use every day are recyclable, here are some the city of Austin says you shouldn’t put in the blue recycling bin.

Garden hosesPlastic foam (cups, egg cartons, take-out containers)Wire clothes hangersPizza boxes that were delivered SyringesTrashFood

Austin has two local recycling processing facilities that use automated systems to sort recyclables. Improperly recycled items can jam and damage the machinery, according to the city’s website. A pro-tip: If you have curbside organics collection, you can put those pizza boxes and unwanted food in your green cart to avoid putting them in the trash.

The city says these are the types of items that can be recycled in a regular curbside bin:

Paper, like envelopes and newspapersBoxboard and cardboard, including things like shoeboxes, beverage boxes and paper towel rollsAluminum foil, clean and balled 2 inches of largerFood cans and caps/lidsSoda cans and caps/lidsSteel and tin cansJars and capsBottles and bottle capsPizza boxes that were frozenLiquid containers that are emptied and cleaned

There are other things that might not belong in the recycling bin but that the city still would like to keep out of the landfill. Electronics, plastic bags, films and some other items can also be dropped off at the city’s Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center at no extra charge. Remember to put yard trimmings and leaves in a lawn-and-leaf kraft paper bag or a reusable container that’s no bigger than 34 gallons or heavier than 50 pounds. Leave the trimmings curbside by 6:30 a.m. on your collection day. The city recommends you try to donate clothing and housewares, but Austin Resource Recovery also offers a free recycling service for those items for curbside customers. The process involves special green bags. For more information about Austin’s “zero waste” initiative, check out the city’s website.

?FROM 2016: Austin announces curbside recycling for clothing, household items

One more thing before you start giving back to the environment: Don’t forget to rinse off food residue, dry any paper, crush those cans, flatten those boxes and remove metal parts from any plastics. Your city thanks you in advance.

?Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the city wanted some items, which should not be placed in standard recycling bins, thrown in the trash. That’s not true, per Austin’s “zero waste” initiative. Many of those items (like clothing, housewares and food) can be disposed of in other ways that avoid the landfill.

NOW TRENDING:

Son of slain jeweler sought would-be killers multiple times, authorities say

Gov. Abbott unveils school safety plan; special session possible

Amazon Prime discounts arrive at Whole Foods stores in Texas