Thursday is "America Recycle's Day" and to mark the day, promoters will hold events around Missouri.
Waste Minimization Services say that preparing recyclables the right way will save time and money in the long run.
Columbia Public Works drivers Charles Thompson and Duane Dreyer said most people get it - they sort their jars, bottles and paper, and they put them in the blue bags by their trash.
"Columbia is one recycling town," Dreyer said. "They are a recycling town."
Yet some residents aren't quite sure what can be recycled and what happens when you toss anything in the blue bag.
"If they don't do it properly, then we all pay for it in the end," said Layli Terrill, Columbia Waste Minimization Supervisor.
Many recyclables are sorted right here in Columbia, though a small portion are shipped to a sorting facility in Saint Louis.
Items that are too contaminated are simply thrown in the trash.
"Sometimes we get the pizza boxes that's got the pizza in it, got the sauce all over it," Thompson said. "It'd be best if the trash guy took that and threw it away."
Some residents know they need to clean their recyclables.
"Well, yeah, I don't want it just to sit around being stinky," Marie Hicks of Overland, Missouri said in her daughter's front yard on Thistledown Road.
Making sure paper, empty cans and bottles are clean and lid-free before they hit the curb will guarantee recyclables are actually recycled.