MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Millions of Americans support the idea of recycling and many try their very best to do it right. But workers at sorting facilities far too often say we get it wrong.

Experts say many people are recycling the wrong items and around 25 percent of it is actually trash.

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“This is an obvious one. Definitely, when it (jar or carton) has food waste in it, you could rinse that, it would be better, said Mitch Hedlund from Recycle Across America.

Another no-no – take out boxes.

“Styrofoam, this cannot be recycled in your community,” said Hedlund.

Paper is recyclable but not if it has some type of coating over it, like paper plates and colorful wrapping paper. Paper towels and napkins and tissue are not recyclable.

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Other items that are not recyclable include rechargeable batteries, plastic bags or plastic wrap, pizza boxes, light bulbs, mirrors, glass cookware, bakeware, scrap metal, paint and electronics – like computers or laptops.

If you’ve ever wondered where all that recycling ends up, there’s a good chance it’s at a sorting facility. Twenty-four hours a day, five days a week, workers try to catch all our mistakes.

Recycle Across America advocated for standardized labels on both home and public recycling bins which spell out exactly what can be recycled in each community. The labels, according to Hedlund, may be our best hope for pulling recycling out of the dumps.

Here’s what you can recycle in Broward County.

Here’s what you can recycle in Miami-Dade County.
Here’s what you can recycle in Monroe County.

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China, the world’s biggest buyer of recycled materials, has recently stopped importing a lot of it. It now turns down anything that’s not 99 point 5 percent pure, uncontaminated material.