Recycling is complicated, but we can sort it out together: Here's how you can recycle like a pro

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Recycle. Compost. Landfill. Think your environmental education has you sorting your recycling like a pro? Well, you might be surprised to learn some of the things you thought were a slam dunk into the blue bin actually belong in another.

RELATED: Got recycling, composting, trash questions? We have answers

Plastic bottles belong in the recycling bin. Check our resource guide to see if your recycling center wants the bottle cap on, or off.

Pro tip: Empty out all the liquid first.

Plastic containers, like yogurt cartons, are made of a variety of different plastics. They are also some of the most valuable recyclable items. If your community's program takes mixed containers, then definitely put these in the recycling bin.

Pro tip: Give it a rinse before tossing it in.

Surprise! Milk cartons are covered in plastic. They are not recyclable and not compostable at most recycling programs.

Pro tip: A few locations can remove the plastic and compost the carton...but you will have to hunt around to find a place.

Next time you run to the store, take all those plastic bags with you. Many supermarkets offer plastic bag recycling, however, most curbside recyclers do not accept plastic bags.

Pro tip: Bag them all up inside another plastic bag.

Remember, a misplaced item can contaminate an entire bin.

Last pro tip: When in doubt, throw it out.

Recycling rules can be complicated and often differ by region. Check out our Recycling Resources page here to find information specific to your community.

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