Resilient Recycler: Recycle Plastics by Shape and Size
We all know how complicated things can get when numbers are involved, especially when it comes to recycling plastics. You are probably familiar with the numbers and plastics system, and you may remember "recycling by numbers" as a general rule from the 80s and 90s. But do you remember what these numbers mean? Or which numbers indicate recyclable? Probably not, and that's okay! The "numbers" system for plastics was originally developed by industries to determine the type of plastic material an item is made from and has no relevance to your recycling practices at home. Instead, think about the shape and size of the item you want to recycle. No more remembering confusing numbers. This guide will make you confident in determining which plastics are recyclable, and which plastics need to go in the trash.
These items (bottles, tubs, jugs & jars) are OK to put in Big Blue when they are empty, clean and dry:
|Bottles, Jugs & Jars
6 ounces (size of a fist) or larger
|Ketchup bottles, shampoo bottles, laundry soap containers, milk jugs, peanut butter jars, water bottles, sports drink or juice bottles.||Plastic bottles, jugs and jars are recyclable as long as they meet the size requirement of being 6 ounces or larger. This includes those with narrow and threaded necks.|
|Plastic Tubs & Buckets
6 ounces or larger, but not exceeding 5 gallons
|Food containers such as the kind that yogurt, cream cheese, salsa, or hummus come in. Buckets are just large tubs that have a handle.||Most plastic tubs are recyclable as long as they meet the size requirements of 6 ounces or larger, but not exceeding 5 gallons. Tubs are typically round and have a rim that is wider than or just as wide as the base. When recycling
plastic tubs, do not include the lid because it is likely to pop off and contaminate other good recyclables.
These items should NEVER go in Big Blue because they cause contamination:
|Plastic Bags/Film||Plastic bags and plastic wrap clog up machinery at recycling centers.|
|Lids||Lids are small and flat. They are often mistaken as paper in the sorting process, which causes contamination.|
|Molded Plastic Packaging||Examples include clamshells (hinged take-out containers), or blister packs. These types of plastic packaging are not acceptable recyclables.|
|Frozen or Refrigerated food boxes||A box that is designed to spend periods of time in your freezer or fridge most likely contains plastic within the paper fibers, which cannot be properly separated in the recycling process.|
|Straws||Straws are simply too small for sorting and will contaminate other good recyclables.|
|Paper Coffee/To-Go Cups||Coffee and to-go cups are lined with plastic polyethylene to keep liquids inside the cup, and are often soiled with liquid, which contributes to contamination.|
If you are still unsure about items that can be recycled, look them up on RecyclingA-Z.com, and remember, when in doubt, throw it out!