Material Guidelines 

The Eco-Cycle Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM) currently diverts twenty-five (and counting!) categories of hard-to-recycle materials from the landfill, and always strives to expand the materials list for the benefit of the community.

See the drop-down menu below for specific information regarding which items you can bring to CHaRM, how to prevent contamination (items that don’t belong in the bin), as well as the cost to recycle. Click here to download or print the CHaRM Fee Chart.

Materials Accepted at CHaRM

Click on a heading to view details for that item.

FACILITY FEE: NO
ITEM FEE: NO

CHaRM defines scrap metal as items that are at least 50 percent metal by weight and contain no refrigerants. NOTE: CHaRM is not able to accept pressurized vessels, such as tanks of any kind, even if empty—this includes helium tanks, propane tanks, air compressors, and water expansion tanks. Additionally, items that are gas powered (such as lawn mowers) must be drained of oil and gas ahead of your visit.

CHaRM divides small appliances by type into two categories that define the way they are recycled.

Corded items that are 50% metal or more are categorized as scrap metal, such as toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, etc. See “Scrap Metal” listing for more information.

Items with a cord that are mostly plastic by weight or contain an internal battery must be processed through our e-waste partner, Blue Star Recyclers. These include electric toothbrushes, vacuum cleaners, electric razors, coffee makers, etc. See “Electronics” > “Small Plastic Appliances / Misc. Electronics” for more information.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

Freon devices include refrigerators, freezers, AC units, and dehumidifiers that contain any type of refrigerant. NOTE: CHaRM is not able to accept RV/propane fridges.

Please ensure all electronic items are positioned as far back in your vehicle as possible to comply with our socially distanced e-waste unloading process. NOTE: CHaRM is unable to accept loose batteries for recycling. These must be taken to a hazardous materials facility or battery recycling business.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Includes computer towers (CPUs), laptops, and all kinds of mobile phones. These electronics have a higher material value than other kinds, so it is not necessary to assess an item fee. NOTE: All-in-one computers are priced by screen type. CHaRM defines “all-in-one” as machines that have a computer and monitor built into the same unit, such as a cash register. 

FACILITY FEE: YES 
ITEM FEE: YES

CRT TVs & Monitors:
Includes CRT (not flat-screen) TVs, CRT monitors, and rear-projection or console TVs. NOTE: CRT TVs/Monitors with broken glass incur a $1 fee per pound, as broken CRT glass is classified by the EPA as hazardous waste, and therefore it requires extra handling and documentation.

Flat-Screen TVs & Monitors:
Includes flat-screen TVs and monitors (including LCD, LED, and plasma screens).

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

Includes tablets, computer mice, keyboards, radios, stereos, printers, fax machines, audio speakers, and primarily plastic appliances such as coffee makers, hair dryers, etc. NOTE: CHaRM is not able to recycle vacuum bags, glass components (such as coffee pots, blender carafes, etc.), items containing food/liquid residue, or items containing biohazards.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

All data-bearing devices are treated with great care at CHaRM and all data is secured. If you require documentation of “data destruction,” we offer a certified service that provides a formal “Certificate of Destruction.” Please email [email protected] for more information.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

Includes CDs and CD-ROMs, DVDs, VHS tapes, Blu-ray discs, cassette tapes, microfilm, and floppy discs. NOTE: Please remove all media cases ahead of your visit, as these are not accepted for recycling.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Includes extension cords, electrical cords, computer and phone chargers, etc. NOTE: Please use separate bin for string/holiday lights.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

CHaRM is only able to accept inkjet and laser-jet cartridges—no toner bottles, please.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

CHaRM will accept smoke detectors labeled as AM241 with 1 microcurie or less for $15 each; detectors must be intact.

Alternatively, Blue Star Recyclers will accept photoelectric smoke detectors as electronics at $0.59 per pound.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

CHaRM accepts large household solar panels for recycling. Solar panels that are in good working condition should first be offered as a reuse donation to Resource Central. NOTE: CHaRM does NOT accept smaller solar-powered items, such as solar garden lights.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

The term “film plastic” covers a broad range of flexible/soft-plastic products made from pure polyethylene (often labeled #2 HDPE or #4 LDPE).

Items should:
– be clean and dry
– have large labels/stickers cut out and tape pulled off
– generally allow for a finger to be poked through them
– and tear with a ruffled edge.

The “poke test” and the “rip test” can often help determine whether a given film plastic item is the right kind that CHaRM can recycle. Commonly accepted items include plastic shopping and newspaper bags, bubble wrap, bubble mailer envelopes that are plastic only, product overwrap (such as what paper towels or a flat of beverages are packaged with), zip-top bags designed for home use, dry-cleaning bags, and shrink wrap.

NOTE: CHaRM is not able to recycle:
– six-pack rings
– produce nets
– bubble mailers with attached paper (usually orange)
– bubble mailers with metallic/Mylar components (usually silver)
– stand-up pouches from prepackaged foods (such as nuts)
– zip-top bags from prepackaged foods (such as sliced cheese and grapes)
– frozen food bags and ice packs (even empty)
– meat packaging
– PPE (such as gloves)
– pet food bags
– mulch and soil bags
– bird seed bags
– foam packing peanuts
– or any items with hard plastic or other materials attached.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO ITEM FEE UP TO 1 CUBIC YARD

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) may or may not have a #6 stamped on it, and comes in all thicknesses and shapes, but should always: 
– have a visibly round-beaded structure
– be quite rigid
– and break easily under pressure. 

CHaRM is not able to accept: 
– foam with shipping labels, tape, or other materials still attached
– foam that is wet or dirty
– foam that is not completely white
– packing peanuts of any kind
– hot-tub foam
– construction foam
– food-grade foam such as drinking cups, “to-go” containers/clamshells, meat trays, etc.
– or polyethylene foam (this lookalike material will appear spongy and feel squishy to the touch; if sheets are less than 1/4″ in thickness, they can go with Plastic Bags & Other Film Plastics—see above).

* Block foam drop-off in quantities greater than 1 cubic yard (roughly the amount that can be fit into the bed of a pickup truck) incurs an item fee of $6/cu yd. 

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Items must:
– be made of #2 HDPE or #5 PP only
– be less than 3 feet in length in every direction (please cut down to size ahead of your visit if necessary)
– and have all non-plastic parts removed (with the exception of bucket handles).
Commonly accepted items include all-plastic kiddie pools, lawn chairs, trash cans, buckets, laundry baskets, and milk crates. Accepted items are often hollow, featuring a visible seam where two molded halves were joined.

NOTE: CHaRM is not able to recycle:
– media cases
– PVC piping
– hoses
– insulated coolers
– most toys (unless as described above)
– or insulated cups/water bottles.

Reusable items such as milk crates and buckets are encouraged to be offered first as a donation to our neighbor, Resource Central.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEES: YES

Mattresses and box springs are charged per unit. Box springs that have two or more pieces are charged proportionally as multiple units. CHaRM also accepts foam mattress toppers.

NOTE: CHaRM is not able to recycle bed products that are moldy or contain bed bugs.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO ITEM FEE UP TO ONE PALLET

Commonly accepted items include hardbound and paperback books, computer and office manuals, spiral-bound books, encyclopedias, etc. NOTE: Spiral-bound notebooks and phone books should be placed in single-stream recycling. 

*Email [email protected] to arrange for drop-off or pickup of a pallet or more of books for reuse/recycling.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

Loose office paper and envelopes only—staples and paper clips OK. NOTE: CHaRM is not able to shred hanging file folders or cardboard boxes (but both of these can go in the Single Stream collection), nor binder clips (which can go in scrap metal if no longer usable).

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

Save on Item Cost by REMOVING Fixtures First:
Includes toilets, sinks, and urinals that have all fixtures removed (defined as having ZERO non-porcelain materials attached).

WITH Fixtures:
Toilets, sinks, and urinals that are still intact (defined as having fixtures attached that are not made of porcelain, such as hardware, toilet seats, etc.) have a higher recycling cost because of the labor for staff to dismantle the item before it can be recycled.

NOTE: Items must be free of all biohazards to be accepted for recycling.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

Includes porcelain and ceramic with no other materials attached. Bulk ceramics must be weighed on-site by the electronics team. Please position bulk ceramics at the very back of your vehicle ahead of your visit to comply with our socially distanced unloading process.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES

Concrete must be hardened and free of rocks. Bulk concrete must be weighed on-site by the electronics team. Please position bulk concrete at the very back of your vehicle ahead of your visit to comply with our socially distanced unloading process.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Includes whole bikes as well as most parts: seats, pedals, handlebars, wheel rims, baskets, pannier racks, and bike trailers.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES—PER TIRE/TUBE

NOTE: CHaRM is not able to recycle automotive tires or any type of tire aside from those made for bicycles.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES—PER UNIT

All sizes and conditions OK.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Reusable textiles and shoes are welcome at CHaRM and include clothing, sheets, towels, etc. Please tie together shoes when possible. All textiles and other drop-offs must be bagged.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Includes drinking glasses and other glass tableware such as plates and bowls (no Pyrex or ceramics), everyday glass housewares such as glass awards/trophies and vases, glass air fresheners, and glass candle holders.

NOTE: CHaRM is not able to accept mirrors/mirrored glass, lightbulbs, laboratory glass, microwave dishes, Pyrex, or oven-safe glass cookware. See separate bin for dropping off ceramics.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

CHaRM can accept only residential quantities of vegetable-based cooking oils (such as canola, peanut, corn, olive, and sesame) that are liquid at room temperature. Customers must be able to pour the vessel into our tank. Please do not leave containers. The oil may be used or not used—either is OK. NOTE: CHaRM is not able to accept for recycling motor oil, or any oil used for purposes other than cooking.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: YES—ASSESSED BY VOLUME

Includes food waste such as meat, bones, and produce, as well as BPI-certified compostable serviceware. No shredded paper is accepted for drop-off at the Eco-Cycle CHaRM. Learn more about what CHaRM does not accept in compost collection from our guidelines poster The Dirty Dozen of Compost.

Note: CHaRM is unable to accept yard waste drop-offs—customers are encouraged to take yard waste to Western Disposal’s drop-off center nearby.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Includes plastic bottles, jugs, and jars, printer paper, glass bottles and jars, etc.

CHaRM offers single-stream recycling collection at the facility in order to offer the convenience of a one-stop drop, even though it is technically not in the hard-to-recycle category. Customers who don’t have HTR materials to deposit are encouraged to take single-stream materials to the free, 24-hour collection center in front of the Boulder County Recycling Center on 63rd Street, located just a half mile to the north of CHaRM.

FACILITY FEE: YES
ITEM FEE: NO

Cardboard boxes must be completely flattened and are collected in a separate container.

Customers who don’t have HTR materials to deposit are encouraged to take corrugated cardboard to the free, 24-hour collection center in front of the Boulder County Recycling Center on 63rd Street, located just a half mile to the north of CHaRM.