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October 07, 2015  |  Login
Recycling Guidelines for Plastics

According to the EPA, plastic production accounts for about 4 percent of U.S. energy consumption. Manufacturing new plastic increases carbon emissions and the consumption of natural resources. Recycling what already exists though, allows plastic to be produced at a much lower cost to the environment. The following guideline will give you a general idea for how to approach recycling plastics, but check with your local municipality to learn about local laws.

What Can You Recycle?


  • Plastic Bottles

  • Plastic Jugs for detergent, soda, milk, juice, water or shampoo

  • Any plastic bottle that has a neck smaller than its body


  • Plastic Bags

  • Plastic Wrap

  • Sandwich wrap

  • Grocery bags

  • Plastic trays or tubs

  • Plastic utensils

  • Plastic plates, cups or bowls

  • Plastic appliances, toys or furniture

Useful Tips for Recycling Plastic

  • Empty and rinse containers before recycling. Place all together in clear bags, or in any bin labeled with blue recycling decals or marked "Bottles & Cans."

  • Remove caps and lids. Place metal caps and lids in the recycling bin, and put plastic caps and lids in the garbage.

  • Visit the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers database of plastic recyclers; also see their Design Guidelines for Recyclability Program for plastic container manufacturers.


  1. Environmental Protection Agency [2008] Plastics. Available from: [7/21/2008]

  2. Natural Resources Defense Council [2006] New York City's Residential Recycling Program. Available from: [7/21/2008]


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