Bundles of plastic bottles

Help your county! Recycling reduces waste disposal costs and increases revenue for the county. It is the environmentally sound way to manage trash.

Plastic is collected at county convenience centers and city drop-off sites for recycling. Plastics are consolidated, sorted and baled at the Putnam County Recycling Center.

Recycling is an important way to divert some of our waste from the landfill, but we must learn to recycle properly. Remove lids from jars and bottles and rinse them out. Rinse out food residue from soup, tuna and other cans. Rinse food waste out of jars. Remove metal lids. Recyclables that contain food waste attract vectors (rats, possums, etc.) and make the convenience centers and drop-off sites stink. Only put the items that are specifically labeled on the container into the container.

Some people think everything they put into the recycling bin is recycled. It is not. When materials that cannot be recycled are put into the recycling bin, they must be sorted out by hand. This is time consuming and often contaminates other recyclables. Contamination is defined as materials that cannot be recycled by the county recycling center that are placed into recycling collection bins. Contamination can consist of food waste that is stuck to recyclables, Styrofoam and anything else that is not specifically identified on the collection as recyclable.

A frequent form of contamination found in the glass collection containers is light bulbs. Sometimes even long, fluorescent bulbs are put into the “clear glass” recycle bin. These bulbs are fragile and can easily break as workers try to sort them out of the bin. They contain mercury and are considered hazardous waste. Fluorescent bulbs cannot be recycled at convenience centers or drop-off sites. They must be taken to the Putnam County Recycling Center or recycled through the county Household Hazardous Waste Event. Glass bottles and jars are the only glass that can be recycled in Putnam County and must be sorted by color.

Another item that is considered contamination is plastic bags. Many people pack recyclables into plastic bags and drop the whole bag into the recycling bin. Plastic bags should never go into the recycling bin. They can be used at your home to collect recyclables but should not go into the collection bins. Bags are considered “contamination” and must be sorted out. Shopping bags cannot be recycled at the county recycling center but can be recycled at the front of any of the stores that provide shopping bags to their customers, such as Walmart or Kroger.

It has gotten harder to get recyclable materials into new products due to the level of contamination in the materials that are being sold to manufacturers. In July 2017, China announced that it would no longer accept any recyclables from the United States due to contamination. Recyclers have been scrambling to find other countries interested in purchasing recyclables. Sadly, one in four items that are “recycled” are actually garbage and must be sorted out. That means that 25 percent, or one-fourth, of materials in each recycling bin is garbage and has to be sorted by hand out of the recyclables. It is much more expensive to put garbage in a recycling bin than it is to put it in the garbage can.



Recycling means getting a material that has already been used back into other products so it can be used again. Only the materials that can be recycled in Putnam County will be recycled. Putting an item into the recycling bin doesn’t mean it can or will be recycled. Recycle correctly.


Recycle these materials in Putnam County through the county recycling center, convenience centers (except glass) and drop-off sites:

  • Bundles of plastic bottles

    Beverage bottles, plastic food packaging containers, detergent bottles - Plastics #1 & 2 only.  Must be clean.  No plastic bags, no Styrofoam, no vinyl.

  • Plastic wrapped electronics on a pallet

    Anything that plugs in. Freon must be removed from refrigerators or A/Cs by a certified Freon remover.

  • Pile of tin and aluminum cans

    Aluminum, tin and steel cans and their tops.

  • Large bin of broken glass

    Glass beverage bottles, condiment bottles and jars. Sort according to color. Blue bottles can go into the “green” glass container. No tops, corks or food waste.

  • Pile of trashy looking paper

    Office paper, telephone books, junk mail, newspaper and hardcover books with covers removed.

  • Cubes of cardboard strapped together

    Corrugated cardboard and paperboard boxes.  Must be clean -- no grease.  Flatten containers before recycling.

  • Pizza box top
    Pizza Boxes

    Unless it is greasy or has stuck food (contaminated). Recycle the top with the cardboard — if it’s clean — and compost the bottom.

  • Batteries standing up that look like they have been purposely randomly placed

    Button, lithium, rechargeable, car and lawn mower batteries.

  • A older gentleman putting an oil container in a recycle bin
    Used Oil & Antifreeze

    Collection containers are located at all county convenience centers and at the county recycling center.

More Information

Items that can be recycled, but not at the county recycling center, convenience centers or drop-off sites
  • Aluminum window pane frame — Remove glass and discard. Only the aluminum frame can be recycled after the glass is removed.
  • Plastic bags — Remember to empty recycling out of the bag into the collection bin and reuse the plastic bag to collect more. All plastic shopping bags from Walmart, Kroger, etc., must be returned the stores.
  • Plastic packing pillows, styrofoam packing peanuts or “popping plastic wrapper” — Take to Copy, Pack & Ship; Staples; Office Max; the post office, etc., for reuse.
  • Batteries – AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt batteries can go into the garbage.
  • Ink cartridges — Take to Staples or Office Max.
Materials That Cannot Be Recycled at The Putnam County Recycling Center

Some materials cannot be recycled at the Putnam County Recycling Center. When these items are put into a recycling collection bin, they are called CONTAMINATION. They are sorted out by hand and put into the garbage. Please do not “recycle” the following materials:

  • Hoses — plastic/rubber water hoses
  • Windshield glass
  • Glass window panes
  • Styrofoam – foam cups, clamshell to-go boxes, packing peanuts
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Plastic straws
  • Dirty or greasy recyclables of any kind
  • Hazardous waste (batteries, chemicals, fluorescent or curly bulbs)