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

Many plastic products have the triangle made of arrows with a number in the middle. The number in the triangle symbol tells you only the kind of plastic an item is - it cannot tell you whether or not it is recycled in your local program. 

To search what recyclable in Palm Beach County, visit Is This Recyclable?

Here is a handy chart explaining the numbers and the types of plastics:

Resin Identification CodeType of Resin ContentExamples of Products Made of Plastic Type
(Not all of these can be recycled in Palm Beach County)
 1PET - Polyethylene TerephthalateWater and soft drink bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers
 2HDPE - High-density PolyethyleneMilk jugs; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs
 3Vinyl or PVCWindow cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles
 4LDPE - Low-density PolyethyleneSqueezable bottles; carpet
 5PP – PolypropyleneSome yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, medicine bottles
 6PS – PolystyreneEgg cartons, meat trays, disposable plates and cups, carry-out containers
 7Other - Mixed PlasticsThree- and five-gallon water bottles, certain food containers

For example, a large container may be marked with a #2, telling us it's made of high density polyethylene. But that's all it can tell us: the symbol can't tell you whether not a particular item is recyclable in a specific recycling program.

In Palm Beach County, plastic containers that are smaller than 2 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.

The one exception to this is foam containers, usually marked with #6. They 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.

Show All Answers

1. When recycling plastics #1-7, are only bottles accepted or can anything with those numbers on it be recycled?
2. What does it mean to recycle plastics #1-7? Can any plastic item with those numbers on it be recycled?
3. Are pull-tab lids recyclable?
4. What should be done with metal lids to glass jars?
5. Does cardboard go in the blue or yellow recycling bin?
6. Can Styrofoam be placed in the blue recycling bin? If not, does anyone recycle them?
7. I am moving. What should I do with my recycling bins?
8. Are mirrors recyclable in Palm Beach County?
9. Some news stories are saying recyclables are going into the landfill. Is this happening in Palm Beach County?