Sort the Right Way: What goes in the gray bin?

South San Francisco, CA   August 22, 2019 Submitted by SSF Scavenger Company, Inc

Styrofoam, cups, plates, takeout container, and trays.. which is the correct bin dispose these materials?



The GRAY bin!

We continue to share the word on Sort Smart to help you sort your garbage in the correct collection cart or bin.
Questions? Please contact the SSF Scavenger Company, Inc. at 650-589-4020. or visit


Our South City neighbor inquires  “What about if they have the recycle symbol 1-7?

Our Scavenger Co. responds:

The symbol only tells us what type of resin was used to make the product. All of these items are likely to have the #6 and are not recyclable through our programs.
Packaging peanuts may be donated to UPS and similar mailing stores. Large pieces of block Styrofoam may be recycled through drop off programs. Check to see if there’s a drop-off that is convenient for you.

6 comments for “Sort the Right Way: What goes in the gray bin?

  1. Renee Aubuchon
    August 21, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Oh! I had been putting plastic take out containers in the recycle bin! I appreciate knowing I have been doing that wrong, and sad to hear that these containers cannot be recycled. BTW, I have been seeing some shows on TV that say the stuff people put in the recycle bin rarely actually gets recycled. Do the recycle items we put in the recycle bins really get recycled- or bundled and shipped to some far off country?

    • Heidi Beck
      August 23, 2019 at 2:40 am

      It used to be a lot of the materials got shipped to China, but thanks to single-stream recycling the materials were getting too contaminated for it to be cost-effective for them to process. So China is no longer taking much of our recyclable waste. That means a lot of our “recycling” is going to the landfill, unfortunately.

    • Kamala
      August 23, 2019 at 7:38 pm

      Hi Renee – The Scavengers have really been working to help get the word out, and we’ve tried to keep up with sharing this information as well. The following article might fill in some of the info you are seeking, or do a search on our website here for more info pertinent to SSF issues on recycling.

      Thank you so much for helping with our recycling!

      Kamala Silva Wolfe, Founder/Editor

  2. Renee Aubuchon
    August 23, 2019 at 4:08 am

    I appreciate the honest answer. Thank you.

  3. Renee Aubuchon
    August 23, 2019 at 7:31 pm

    You know, I have been wondering about this….. I separate my garbage out for recycling and put paper in one side of the recycling bin and bottles and containers on the other side. A specialized garbage truck shows up to empty the recycling bin. A different truck shows up to collect the garbage. If the things we set out to be recycled are just going to landfill, as I am thinking our garbage also does….. isn’t pretending we are doing recycling, when we are not, just spending unnecessary money to keep a fantasy going? If there really is no recycling, couldn’t we spend the money we are now spending pretending there is recycling somewhere else where it would be of better use to the community?

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