Whenever I go to a recycling center, be it municipal or in an apartment complex, I always see all kinds of odd items that don't belong there. Yesterday, sitting on top of the container bin was an old messenger bag. Does that count as a bottle or a can?
But the most common recycling center fail that I see comes when people drop off their empty bottles and cans in brand-new trash bags.
There's the obvious monetary cost of buying the new trash bags. And from an environmental perspective, putting your recycling in new trash bags wipes out a lot of the benefit of recycling in the first place.
Most garbage bags are made from new (not recycled) plastic. (The biggest trash bag manufacturers, Glad and Hefty, have barely dipped their toes in the water of making bags from recycled material.) Then the bags just get torn open and trashed at the recycling center.
If you visit a recycling center, take your recyclables there in a reusable bin or bag. It'll save you money in the long run and the planet (and your recycling center) will thank you for it.