Recycling Plastics

Plastic Recycling Tips

All plastics are not created equal, and some types are not recyclable at our recycling drop-off site (DOS). 

Here’s a rundown on what’s okay to toss in our bins and what’s not.

DO recycle at the DOS

Plastics #1 - #7 are acceptable.

Food tubs—Containers for sour cream, yogurt and the like, along with their lids, are a great thing to recycle at the drop-off, as long as they’re empty and clean.

Plastic bottles—All types of plastic bottles, including water bottles, cleaning product bottles and shampoo bottles get the green light. Caps, spouts, and pump tops should be trashed. All bottles should be empty and rinsed.

Jugs—From milk jugs to laundry detergent, jugs are good to go for household recycling. Caps, lids, squirt tops or pumps should be trashed. Make sure they’re empty and rinsed.

Food trays—Single-serving microwave food trays are a fine addition to the recycling collection. Just be sure they’re empty and clean.

Containers—Most single-use plastic containers, such as yogurt or fruit cups, are just fine to go in DOS recycling, as long as they’re clean and empty.

DON’T recycle at the DOS

NOTE:  These guidelines refer to plastic collection at the Lenawee County Recycling Drop-Off Site. Guidelines vary by location and collector. Check in with your municipality or solid waste collection provider for their specific guidelines.

Plastic bags—Plastic bags are a no-no for a few different reasons. Not only are they different type of plastic that requires a different process for recycling, but they’re also harmful to recycling equipment. They get caught in machines and cause damage and shutdowns. The good news is most grocery stores accept this specialized recycling.

Bulky, rigid plastic—These items include buckets, toys, laundry baskets, and storage bins, among other things. This type of plastic requires a different process for recycling and shouldn’t be put in the DOS. However, you can look for special collections in your area which may accept them.

Plastic product packaging—That plastic package your flashlight came in that’s almost impossible to open is almost impossible to recycle too. It definitely shouldn’t go in with household recycling.

Flexible packaging like pouches and snack bags—These types of packaging are convenient for storing snacks, but don’t have a lot of recycling potential. The problem comes from the fact that these are a hybrid of mixed materials which present a problem during recycling since they can’t easily be separated. There are a few very specialized mail-in recycling options, which can be found by searching online.

Foam—Whether it’s a cup, peanuts, egg carton, or rectangular hunk of foam, it doesn’t belong in your recycling cart. Although we don’t accept foam at the DOS, some municipal drop-offs may.

Places that may take foam include: