With recycling guidelines varying by geography and municipality, we understand that putting the right item in the right bin isn’t always the easiest. With a variety of labels, changing regulations and codes, and new products on the market, it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we’ve created this guide to broadly inform your recycling decisions with best practices across plastic, glass, metal, paper, and more. Check it out:
With a little bit of information, much plastic can be recycled. Plastic recycling faces one huge problem: plastic types must not be mixed for recycling, yet it is impossible to tell one type from another by sight or touch. Even a small amount of the wrong type of plastic can ruin the process. The plastic industry has responded to this problem by developing a series of markers, commonly seen on the bottom of plastic containers:
These markers do not mean the plastic can be recycled OR that the container uses recycled plastic. Despite the confusing use of chasing arrow symbol, these markers only identify the plastictype.
Virtually everything made of plastic should be marked with a code. Not all types can be recycled. Types 1 and 2 (see above) are widely accepted in container form, and type 4 is sometimes accepted in bag form. Code 7 is mixed or layered plastic with little recycling potential. You should place in your bin only those types of plastic listed by your local recycling agency!
While a number of plastics are now recyclable, EcoCycle encourages you to avoid plastic and single-use packaging as much as possible—in the past 45 years, it’s increased more than 10,000%! See this guide for more information.
Did you know that Americans use over 100 million steel cans and over 200 million aluminum beverage cans every day? That’s enough to rebuild the entire U.S. commercial airliner fleet every three months! Almost all aluminum and steel products can be recycled over again without compromising its content. Here are some of the main recyclable products:
Things You Should Know When Recycling Paper: