The Truth About What You Can & Can't Recycle

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

Ever go to throw something in the trash or recycling bin and then go"uhh, is this recyclable?"Unfortunately, there is a good chance you’re recycling wrong. There are dozens of rules about what can and can’t be recycled. Because of this, people often fall short of their recycling goals, despite having the best intentions. To help you out, here at Rippl, we’ve put together a list of things you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT toss in your home recycling bin, including what the little number at the bottom of plastic products means!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it is important to realize that recycling rules differ in each town, county, and state, so it is important to check what your town publishes, in addition to our list.

What You Should Not Recycle:

  • Styrofoam

  • Bubble Wrap & Plastic Wrap

  • Pizza Boxes (the grease on the cardboard is the reason for this)

  • Cords, Cables, and other E-Waste

  • Aerosol Cans

  • Plastic Grocery Bags

  • Batteries

  • Paper Towels

  • To-Go Cups with Wax & Plastic Coatings (Cardboard Coffee Cups)

  • Needles

What you Should Recycle:

  • Plastic Bottles & Containers

  • Tin, Aluminum, and Steel Cans

  • Office Paper & Newspaper

  • Flattened Cardboard Boxes

  • Glass Bottles & Containers


So, what do those numbers in the triangle on the bottom of plastic products mean? Those numbers are “resin identification numbers” help recycling plants sort different types of plastic materials! Each number stands for a different type of plastic. We’ve put together a cheat sheet for which plastic types can be easily recycled.

Plastic No. 1: Recyclable

Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE): The most frequently recycled plastic. Found in: water bottles, salad dressing bottles, peanut butter jars

Plastic No. 2: Recyclable

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE): Tougher material than PET, and commonly recycled. Found in: milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, butter tubs

Plastic No. 3: Recyclable

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): commonly used in piping, but also can be found in shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, and cleaning bottles. PVC is easily recyclable.

Plastic No. 4: Not Widely Recyclable

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE): the opposite of HDPE. This plastic is often found in the form of shrink wrap, dry cleaning bags, and produce bags. This type of plastic should not be recycled.

Plastic No. 5: Not Widely Recyclable

Polypropylene (PP): this type of plastic has a high melting point, so it is used to contain hot liquids. Type 5 plastic can be found in syrup and ketchup bottles, as well as bottle caps and straws. Type 5 plastic can usually be recycled, but you should check with your city or town.

Plastic No. 6: Recyclable in Some Forms

Polystyrene (PS): super versatile type of plastic. Can be soft, in the form of packing peanuts, or hardened, and found in CD cases and pill bottles. Type 6 plastics can often be recycled if they are in a hard form, but foam peanuts and other soft forms of type 6 plastic can't be recycled.

Plastic No. 7: Not Widely Recyclable

Type number 7 is more of a miscellaneous group for plastics. Think oven cooking bags, and 10 gallon water jugs used to fill the office water machine. Because type seven plastics vary so widely, you shouldn’t expect your local municipality to accept them.

Now you have no excuses! Rippl has you recycling like a pro- you're welcome.

57 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All