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Aug 15

Dear Recyclinda: What are these recycling symbols on plastics?

Posted on August 15, 2018 at 1:23 PM by Becky Robinson


Dear Recyclinda,

What does it mean to recycle plastics #1-7? Can any plastic item with those numbers on it be recycled?

Baffled in Belle Glade

Ahhhh, the confusing recycling symbol on plastics. Most plastic products offer that famous triangle made of arrows with a number in the middle. Look, here's a random container I found in the Recyclinda Lair:

Plastic Container with Recycling Symbol

The number in the triangle symbol tells you only the kind of plastic an item is. Since my storage box is marked #5, we know it's made of polypropylene, but that's all we know: The symbol can't tell you whether not a particular item is recyclable in Palm Beach County.

Fortunately, you've asked the right person. Plastic containers that are smaller than two gallons and marked with #1 through #7 are recyclable. This includes plastic restaurant takeout containers, laundry detergent jugs, soda bottles, yogurt cups, butter tubs and disposable party cups.

However, foam containers, usually marked with #6, are not recyclable in your blue or yellow bins. These should go back to your local grocer for recycling or placed in your garbage to be reused into energy.

So my plastic storage box? Not recyclable because it's too big. But I could definitely reuse it by donating it to a secondhand shop.

Got questions about specific containers? Search to discover Is This Recyclable»


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