Salina Drive-thru Recycling Center Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is recycling important?

Thousands of recycled products are made from materials that would otherwise be piling up in our landfill. It makes a huge difference to our environment, our quality of life, and our community’s and country's future. It is also a great opportunity to connect with children, neighbors, and coworkers.

2. Can everything go in one bin?

With the exception of shredded paper - Yes! No sorting is required! All of the recyclables are placed in the recycling packer trucks, which compact and transport them together for processing. We ask that you please bag shredded paper separately, preferably in paper bags. 

3. Speaking of bins, how should I store and transport my recyclables?

In order to support the principle of "reuse", perhaps the simplest and best answer is, “Whatever you already have available”. While a box or container is preferred, some other good options include: an old laundry basket or hamper, a garbage can, a plastic bin or box, a cardboard box, or a plastic bag. A feed bag or a pet food bag also works well. Try to reuse the same container each week. Please ask staff to return the container(s) you’d like to have back. If you use a plastic bag, please do not tie the top.

4. How should I prepare my recycling?

In order to avoid contamination, the single most important thing you can do to prepare your recyclables is to make sure they are clean and dry. Ensure all food and other residue have been removed. It is also helpful if you remove the caps from all plastic bottles. We’ll still take them if you forget, but your doing so is greatly appreciated! It improves the compaction of the materials, and thus the overall efficiency of the process.

5. What else can I do to help?

Spread the word! We have done (and will continue) extensive advertising through the different forms of media available in Salina, but nothing works so well as word of mouth. If you encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to recycle, you have not only helped us, but moreover, the community and the environment. You could also start a recycling program in your office at work, your local church, or classroom. If someone can’t get out of house or away from work, perhaps you’d consider picking up their recyclables and bringing them with yours.

6. Do I need to remove the label or the plastic ring that is left around the neck of a plastic bottle?

While it is helpful - no, removal is not required. The material recovery facility where these items are processed allows a minimal amount of “contamination” in our materials to account for things like labels and plastic lid rings.

7. My foam cups and containers have a recyclable symbol on them, so can I recycle them too?

No, we do not accept any types of Styrofoam, whether or not that item has a recycling symbol on it. We do; however, accept plastic beverage, food, and soap containers #1-7.

8. Do you accept pet food bags or feed sacks?


9. Do you accept shredded paper?

Yes! We ask that you please bag shredded paper separately from your other recyclables, preferably in a paper bag; however, a plastic bag is also acceptable.

10. Do you accept thin film plastics?


11. Can I recycle yogurt containers and dairy or deli tubs?

Yes, as long as they are plastic and have the recyclable symbol on them.

12. Can prescription and over-the-counter medicine or vitamin bottles be recycled?


13. Is a container that had motor oil, pesticides, herbicides, or other toxic substances in it recyclable?


14. What about windshields, window glass, drinking glasses, dinner plates, porcelain mugs, or mirror glass?

No; however, glass containers (all colors of food & beverage jars & bottles) are accepted.

15. What should I do with plastic bags I get from grocery and department stores?

First and foremost, the best thing you can do is avoid them; opt for no bags whenever possible. Choose a reusable cloth bag as your next option. Finally, since they are ultimately recyclable, paper bags or cardboard boxes are much better choices than plastic bags. Reducing our consumption is often overlooked in society, yet it remains the first and most important step in good stewardship. Having said that, we realize that most people will still have plastic bags – so please try to reuse them (the next step) as much as possible as they are a significant source of littering in most communities around the country, including our own. To recycle them, drop-off bins are located at Lowe's, Target and Wal-mart. To support the cause even more, perhaps you could approach your local retailers and ask them to offer alternatives or incentives to stop using plastic bags or offer a drop-off service for returning them to the source when you‘re done with them. Other options can be found by doing a simple online search.  

16. Are there other outlets for materials that you do not accept?

Of course, you can always check for other public and private recycling opportunities. For instance, the HHW is a great recycling option for many household products that cannot be recycled at the Salina Drive-thru Recycling Center. Also, each year (usually the first Saturday in May) the city holds its annual e-waste recycling event at the East Crawford Recreation Area on the old runway by Markley Road. There are numerous items that can be recycled through private businesses.

17. Do you have any suggestions on how else I can make a difference?

Sure! In addition to recycling, remember to reduce and reuse! Try some of these tips from the EPA’s website:

  • Buy used. You can find everything from clothes to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new.
  • Look for products that use less packaging. When manufacturers make their products with less packaging, they use fewer raw materials. This reduces waste and costs. These extra savings can be passed along to the consumer. Buying in bulk, for example, can reduce packaging and save money.
  • Buy reusable over disposable items. Look for items that can be reused; the little things can add up. For example, you can bring your own silverware and cup to work, rather than using disposable items.
  • Maintain and repair products, such as clothing, tires, and appliances, so that they won't have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently.
  • Borrow, rent, or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools, or furniture.
  • Donate: One person's trash is another person's treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools, or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste; you'll also be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools, and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics, and unneeded furniture.

18. Who do I call if I have a question or concern?

Please call the General Services main office at (785) 309-5750 for questions or concerns.