General Questions

1. What if I throw something into my recycling tote that is not recyclable?

If something ends up in your recycling tote that shouldn’t be there, the load is “contaminated”. Currently, in the City of Moscow, about 3% of everything put into recycling totes is not recyclable and is sent to the landfill as trash. Contamination increases labor costs at the material recovery facility (MRF) because workers have to remove the trash from the recycling and send them to a landfill. 

If you have only a couple of non-recyclable items in your recycling tote, your recycling will be serviced and you will get a yellow warning tag. This lets you know that something in your cart was wrong, and to please be more careful next time. If your recycling tote as too many non-recyclables, you will get a red tag. Receiving a red tag means that your recycling will not be serviced until you do one of two things. One option is to take all the contaminated material out and you will be serviced on your next collection date. Another option is to have a house call. A house call is where someone from Moscow Recycling comes to your house and audits your recycling with you. Upon their visit, anything that is not recyclable will be put into your trash and they will take the good material back to Moscow Recycling with them. 

If you are unsure if the item is recyclable, visit our What Goes In, What Stays Out page or call us at 208.882.0590

  1. Can glass go into my curbside recycling tote?

No. However, we offer glass collection for Latah County Residents at Moscow Recycling’s 24/7 Drop Off (401 N. Jackson Street). 

  1. Are plastic grocery bags recyclable? 

No. Plastic grocery bags and films clog the sorting lines at material recovery facilities. Customers are urged to either take bags back to the grocery store to be recycled or use durable reusable bags. 

Recycling Restrictions

  1. Why are there restrictions on recycling?

In July 2017, the global recycling market started to change. China, who previously served as the end market for roughly half of the world ’s recyclables, stopped accepting the world’s recycling. The Chinese government imposed new regulations known as “National Sword 2017” and “Blue Sky 2018” which restricted the import of low grade and contaminated recyclables. These restrictions have caused worldwide impacts on recycling. Ultimately, these regulations caused a dramatic flood to the domestic market in the United States. Domestic processors do not have the capability or infrastructure to handle the excess tonnage of low -grade materials which are no longer being accepted by China. Due to these global changes, the City of Moscow, at the discretion of City Council, decided to eliminate some low -grade materials previously accepted in the City curbside mixed recycling program. The goal was to ensure that everything put into recycling totes was ultimately being recycled. So, beginning in October 2018, the City of Moscow scaled back the list of items that were accepted in the curbside mixed recycling program.

  1. Why are plastic clear plastic salad containers and hinged-lid (clamshell) containers now trash?

The material recovery facility doesn’t have the sorting equipment to process these items properly. Easily crushable, thin, lightweight plastics become flattened in the sorting process and get sorted incorrectly. These items end up with the paper stream, which lowers the quality of the recycled paper and makes it harder to sell.  


Contact us: 208.882.0590