By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia has been collecting household recycling for almost 30 years, but it still finds residents trying to recycle things that should be put in the trash.

The city says they are trying to clear things up but its education campaign sometimes makes things murkier.

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The city tried a snappy video tweet to get the point across. Problem is it starts out with the caption– You can recycle greasy pizza boxes… before slapping a WRONG caption over it.

Anyone who scrolled through too quickly might miss the “Wrong.” Lau says the city may try a more straightforward approach but she’s glad the video got noticed and thinks most people got the point.

The city also has a $70,000 dollar campaign on to stop plastic bags from showing up in recycling bins,with big signs on public transit saying ZERO.

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The “O” is changed to the international no symbol with a plastic bag inside. Next to the zero are two phrases– “recycling in plastic bags” and “plastic bags in the recycling bins.”

Again, if a resident doesn’t connect the zero with the phrases, they could get a message that is the opposite of what the city wants. Streets department officials think that’s unlikely.

Lau emphasized that it’s important to continue reminding residents about proper recycling.

“People are busy and they have a lot of messages they need to take in throughout the day,” she said. “It’s just a byproduct of our busy world. So the recycling office and the streets department have always tried to do education and outreach over and over because we think residents need reminding.”

Below is what Philadelphia residents can and cannot recycle:

What You CAN Recycle


Emptied and rinsed – caps are OK

All Food and Beverage Containers

Hard Plastic Takeout Containers

Plastic Cold Drink Cups and Lids

Detergent and Shampoo Bottles

Pump and Spray Bottles

Plastic Pails, Buckets, Garden Pots


Newspapers and Inserts

Magazines, Brochures, and Catalogs

Junk Mail, Envelopes, Writing Paper

Scrap Paper

Paper Bags

Phone Books

Paperback Books

Greeting Cards, Gift Wrap (non-metallic)


Emptied and rinsed



Ice Cream


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Emptied and rinsed

Aluminum, Steel, and Tin Cans

Empty Paint Cans

Empty Aerosol Cans

Metal Trays and Baking Dishes

Jar Lids and Bottle Caps

Clean Aluminum Foil


Emptied and rinsed – caps are OK

All Bottles and Jars


Flattened and free of grease and food

Corrugated Cardboard Shipping Boxes

Clean Pizza Boxes

Paper Towel Rolls

Egg Cartons

Dry Food Boxes

What to Keep OUT of the Bin

Plastic Bags

Styrofoam™ Food/Beverage Containers and Shipping/Packing Material

Food Waste

Wet or Food-Soiled Paper

Waxed Paper Plates, Cups, and Takeout Containers

Greasy Pizza Boxes

Tissues, Paper Towels, and Napkins

Light Bulbs

Porcelain and Non-Container Glass

Cassette Tapes (VHS and audio)

Garden Hoses

Needles and Syringes


Recycling Reminder…NO Plastic Bags!

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The list of what you can and can’t recycle is also on the city’s website.