Should you recycle something just in case it might be recyclable? The answer is: No! That's right. Contrary to what many might guess, it is actually a bad idea to put something in the recycling bin if you don't know whether or not it's recyclable in your area. This is because if unrecyclable materials find their way into a materials-recycling facility (MRF) they disrupt the recycling process and can contaminate entire batches of recyclable materials. Recycling contamination means lots of otherwise recyclable materials have to be landfilled, so we must all do our best to pay attention to what we're putting in our recycling bins.
If you have a mystery material, ask your hauler if you can recycle it in your bin. If you can’t find an answer, it’s best to trash that one item and save an entire batch of neighborhood recycling from contamination at the MRF.