large pile of plastic bottles for recycling

Plastics Recycling

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Accepted Plastics Not Accepted

We encourage you to recycle your plastics, but not all types are accepted. 

Accepted Plastics

plastic clamshell with tomotoes

Produce clamshell with a "1" on the bottom.

You can recycle these plastics:

  • Bottles
  • Clamshells - clear boxes marked "1" or "PETE" on the bottom. 
  • Tubs - commonly used to hold margarine, yogurt and sour cream

Preparation: Rinse all items, and screw caps back on bottles. 

Not Accepted

Please do not place any of the following plastics in your recycling bins or containers. 

Type Information Where to Take It
Bags Bags jam our equipment!
Most grocery stores have collection boxes.

Lids Lids (not to be confused with caps) are the flat covers used on containers such as margarine tubs, sour cream, cream cheese or whipped toppings. Since they are flat they are often mixed with paper at the sorting facility by machinery.
Please discard in the trash.
Motor Oil Bottles Residual oil can make a mess of the entire batch when it is washed.

Please discard in the trash.

(Styrofoam or #6 plastic)

This takes many forms, including meat trays, coolers, cups, blocks and coffee-cup lids. Please avoid putting any plastics marked "6" or "PS" in your recycling cart.

The NC Department of Environmental Quality's Recycling Business Assistance Center  helps companies collect foam for recycling. Dart Corporation's Recycla-Pak Program sells boxes that can be used to store and ship used foam cups. 
Frozen Food/Deli Trays, Plates These trays and other thin, flat plastic objects are not currently recyclable in our program because they cause a sorting problem at the facility. Because they are flat they get sorted out by machines along with other thin and flat materials (paper!) and end up contaminating the paper bales. 
Please continue to put these items in the trash.
Rotisserie Chicken Boxes These containers often have a clear lid and a black bottom. They are made from mixed plastics that are not easily sorted or sold.  Please discard in the trash.

Please discard in the trash.
Cups (thin) The ones made of thin brittle plastic shatter easily and are hard to capture at the sorting facility. Please avoid purchasing these cups when possible. "Souvenir cups" made of durable and flexible plastic (like margarine tubs) are recyclable.
Please discard in the trash.
Compostable Plastics The broad #7 category was designed as a catch-all for "other" plastics. Unfortunately compostable plastics made from bio-based polymers, like cornstarch, are also included in this category and labeled with a #7. Look for the words "PLA," "compostable" or "biodegradable".  
Take to composting facility or create a compost bin at home. Wake County offers a discount compost bin program. 
Hazardous Plastics Plastic lids, pumps and items that previously contained a hazardous material. Items that contained chemicals, such as a pesticide, pool chemical, automotive fluid, or anything with the poison symbol on it. Please discard in the trash.
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