Sustainability Blog

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

New Waste Sorting Tool Available Online!

recollect-promotion-1New Waste Sorting Tool Available Online!

Does the empty milk carton belong in the trash or recycle? Pizza box – trash or recycle? Yogurt cup? LED light bulb? Take-out container? Garden hose?

Do you debate these kinds of questions with your colleagues at work? With your kids or your spouse? Or do you stand over your own bins and debate with yourself?

You are not alone. Although recycling has been available in our community since the early ‘90s most people are still unsure about which items are recyclable and which are not. With a wide variety of consumer products packaged in various types of materials, it can be more than a little confusing.

Here’s the good news! The City’s Sustainability Division recently launched a new online tool that will help you quickly find out how to dispose of all unwanted materials. Just type in the item and you’ll be directed to put it in the trash, recycle, green waste or hazardous waste. You’ll even find out where you can take unused products for re-use or donation.

For residents with waste collection service, the tool also has a calendar function that will tell you your collection schedule. You can even subscribe to get reminders for putting your carts out.

A mobile version of the app will be released soon, so look for RecycleTO in your app store! 

For those who prefer a list, the following provides general guidelines for disposal of common household waste items in our area. (Note that the ability to recycle certain materials can vary slightly from region to region, depending on recycling infrastructure, so what holds in Thousand Oaks may differ slightly from Los Angeles, for example.)


What goes in the RECYCLING BIN?

All rigid plastics numbered #1-7 (located in the “chasing arrow” symbol on the bottom of plastic containers). These include:

  • Water bottles and beverage containers, milk jugs
  • Shampoo, soap & detergent bottles, etc
  • Food containers, tubs and lids (peanut butter, margarine, cottage cheese, etc)
  • Condiment bottles (ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, etc)
  • Single-serve food containers like fruit cups, yogurt, applesauce, etc (separate removeable lid and place in trash)

Please leave plastic caps/lids ON, and make sure that the containers are empty and rinsed.

  • All types and colors of mixed paper, magazines, newspaper, catalogs, junk mail, office paper, envelopes, sticky notes, paper bags
  • Cereal/snack boxes (remove plastic liner), tissue boxes, cardboard egg cartons, paper towel & toilet paper rolls
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Cardboard boxes (remove any packing foam or plastic inserts and flatten)
  • Pizza boxes that are not heavily soiled with grease and food residue
  • Scrap metal
  • All steel, aluminum, and bi-metal food containers (empty & clean, labels & lids OK)
  • Aluminum and bi-metal beverage containers (can also be redeemed for California Redemption Value $)
  • Aluminum foil (clean)
  • Empty metal aerosol cans
  • Glass beverage bottles/containers
  • Glass food jars and containers (empty & clean, labels & lids OK)


What goes in the TRASH BIN?
  • Single-use plastic straws and utensils
  • Plastic film, cling wrap, cellophane, shipping wrap, bubble wrap
  • Grocery bags, shopping bags (or deposit in plastic film collection boxes located at most grocery stores)
  • Candy/snack bar wrappers, chip bags, sandwich baggies, cereal bags
  • Drink and yogurt pouches
  • Styrofoam (polystyrene) cups, plates, and take-out containers
  • Soiled paper napkins, paper towels, and facial tissues
  • Soiled paper plates and take-out containers
  • Heavily soiled pizza boxes
  • Wax coated cardboard
  • Diapers, disposable wipes
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Disposable mop sheets, dryer sheets
  • Pet waste, manure


What goes in the YARD WASTE BIN?
  • Yard trimmings
  • Grass, leaves
  • Plants and flowers
  • Small branches
  • Scrap lumber and wood (unpainted & untreated)


Donation or Re-use

Unwanted items that are still usable can be donated or reused, such as:

  • Clothing, shoes
  • Books
  • Toys
  • Appliances
  • Housewares
  • Electronics


Special Waste Items

The following examples of common household waste items require special handling and disposal and should NOT be placed in the Trash or Recycle container:

The City of Thousand Oaks operates a household hazardous waste (HHW) facility that accepts many of these special waste items. For more information on how to properly dispose of these items, or to schedule an appointment for drop-off, please visit or call 805-449-SAVE.

Click here to view our new Waste Sorting Tool, to help you figure out what goes in what bin

Click here to view our Residential Trash and Recycling Guide for a more comprehensive list of what goes in what bin



Return to full list >>