No-Sort Recycling FAQ's

 Recycling Guide-Always-Never in the Bin Glass Removed
For printable version click here


Q: Are pizza boxes accepted in my blue recycling cart?

A: Yes. All pizza delivery boxes are recyclable. Make sure they are empty (no food, wax paper liners, or little plastic tables left inside), flatten, and place in your blue cart. The amount of grease on the cardboard does not matter.


Q: Can I recycle aluminum foil?

A: No. Aluminum trays, tins, and foil (including foil seal on yogurt containers) are not accepted in your blue recycling cart.


Q: What if my plastic container does not have a recycling symbol with a number in it, can I still recycle it?

A: No. The only plastics that are acceptable in your blue recycling cart are those with the recycling symbol and a number (1-7) on the bottom. Examples of items that may not have a number on them include plastic cutlery, drinking straws, etc.


Q: What types of cartons are acceptable in my blue recycling cart?

A: Cartons that can be placed in your blue cart include milk, juice and juice boxes, soup, broth, and wine cartons. Items that are not acceptable are foil juice or food pouches (e.g. Capri Sun, applesauce, or tuna pouches, etc.), plastic lined coffee cups, paper ice cream tubs, and Styrofoam egg cartons.


Q: Can I recycle my drinking glasses, vases, etc.?

A: No. Glass that does not contain a product when purchased may contain strengthening additives or chemicals. If you cannot donate these items, please place them in the garbage. Examples of these items include:

       • Whole or broken drinking glasses, plates, bowls, etc.
       • Glass vases or decorative glass items
       • Pyrex containers
       • Window glass
       • Ceramics or pottery
       • Mirrors

Glass that is acceptable includes pasta sauce, pickle, salsa, and mason jars; beer, wine, salad dressing, vegetable and/or olive oil bottles, etc. All containers that held food or a beverage are acceptable at the City of Moorhead drop-off sites.


Q: How do I prepare my recycling for the blue recycling cart?

A: No-Sort makes recycling easier! Simply rinse your containers and place all recyclables loose or in paper bags in your blue recycling cart. Do not place plastic bags in your blue recycling cart. You may collect your recycling in plastic bags, but you must dump the recyclables out of the plastic bag into the cart and place the plastic bag in the garbage or bring it to a participating grocery store for recycling. You may also collect recycling in your blue square City of Moorhead recycling tote and empty the contents into your blue recycling cart for collection.


Q: What businesses have plastic bag recycling drop-off locations?

A: Businesses in the Moorhead/Fargo/West Fargo area that offer plastic bag recycling include Hornbacher’s, Target, Wal-Mart, Family Fare, Cash Wise, and Lowes. For a list of acceptable items and addresses to all of the locations in our area visit the Clay County Solid Waste Management page.


Q: What types of boxes and paper are accepted in the blue recycling cart?

A: The list of acceptable boxes and paper materials include:
       • Cardboard
       • Boxes that go in the cupboard (e.g. cereal, pasta, cracker boxes)
       • Boxes that products are packaged in (e.g. gift, shoe, and electronic boxes)
       • Other boxes (e.g. soda, beer, toothpaste, facial tissue, and dryer sheet boxes)
       • Envelopes (white, brown, with or without windows)
       • Mail, office, and school papers
       • Magazines and catalogs
       • Newspaper and inserts
       • Paper bags
       • Phone books and other soft cover books (no spiral phone books or hardcover books)

DO NOT recycle plastic or wax lined paper (commonly found on boxes that go in the freezer). Examples of these types of products include frozen food boxes, paper plates, butter boxes, and frozen dinner boxes.

Do a ‘tear test’ to see if there’s a plastic or wax lining if you are unsure if a particular paper is recyclable. The paper will either not tear easily if there’s a plastic or wax liner or the layer of separation between the paper and the plastic or wax lining will be visible after tearing the paper. If you are still unsure, throw it in the garbage: WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT.


Q: What happens to my recycling?

A: Recycling is collected by City of Moorhead Sanitation crews. The City contracts with MinnKota EnviroServices, Inc. to handle, process, and transport the recyclable materials. To learn more about how the No-Sort recycling is sorted at the MRF (Materials Recovery Facility), watch Recycling 101 with Mr. Cool Can, or Eureka Recycling's Story of a Cereal Box.

To learn more about the recycling process of various products, watch the following videos produced by Dem-Con Companies based in Shakopee, Minnesota. Their videos follow recyclables from the material recovery facility (MRF) to other Minnesota companies to be made into new products.
       • Paper (Fiber) Recycling
       • Plastic Recycling
       • Glass Recycling
       • Metal Recycling

Q: Why can't I recycle frozen food boxes? They are just like other paperboard packaging aren't they?

A: Actually they are not. Paperboard used for cereal, crackers, etc. is designed to hold dry products. The paper for frozen food containers has to protect the contents as well as withstand the moisture that can weaken the package. The wax-like substance used on frozen food boxes keeps the paper from breaking down when the paper is pulped for recycling, thus making them not recyclable and a contaminant.

The same principle applies to frozen dinner boxes and ice cream cartons. They are sprayed with a plastic coating that protects the contents from freezer burn. Because paperboard is recycled by mixing it with water to create a pulp, the fiber sprayed with the plastic polymer won't pulp up. It then becomes a contaminant that needs to be removed and thrown away and could potentially cause the entire batch to be ruined.

Pizza boxes from the frozen food section of the grocery store belong in this same category and should not be put in your recycling bin. However, pizza boxes that are in the plain brown paperboard, generally from a pizza delivery service or "take and bake" from the grocery store can be recycled. Food waste is a contaminant and should be scraped from the box.

Q: Are egg cartons acceptable?

A: Determining if your egg carton is acceptable takes two steps.

Step 1: Is the egg carton made of Styrofoam?
If Yes: Throw it in your garbage bin. All Styrofoam products (egg cartons, packaging, cups, plates, etc.) are NOT acceptable in the No-Sort Recycling Program.

Step 2: Is the egg carton made of recycled paper?
If Yes: Acceptable in your recycling cart! Remember to place all recyclables loosely in your cart.


Q: Can I put my yard waste into my blue recycling cart?

A: No. Yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, and garden/flowerbed waste) is not accepted in your recycling bin. Branches are also not accepted in your recycling bin or yard waste bin (please call the Public Works Office at 218-299-5422 to schedule branch pickup service). The proper way to dispose of yard waste is to place it in clear lawn bags or in a garbage can up to 32 gallons in size and placed at the curb on your scheduled garbage collection day.

Clear bags can be purchased at most Moorhead grocery, hardware, and retail stores. Each container or bag must not exceed 30 pounds, but there is not limit on the total amount that may be picked up. You can also bring yard waste to recycling drop sites or the city’s compost site.