Plastic Bottles & Jugs

Plastic Bottles & Jugs


Can all plastics be recycled? Which ones go in Cuyahoga County's recycling?
Any plastic bottle, jar, jug or tub can be placed in your curbside recycling. Recycle plastic food and beverage bottles, shampoo, conditioner and personal products, and laundry detergent and bleach bottles. Bottles should be emptied and rinsed. Replace the cap and put in your curbside recycling.

If it's shaped like a bottle and it has a cap or lid, it belongs in your curbside recycling.

[video] Learn more about recycling plastic bottles and jugs.

Why do plastics have numbers inside recycling symbols if they’re not recyclable?
The numbers on plastic containers are resin codes used by the plastics industry to identify the type of plastic used to make the container. Not all plastics with the 1-7 symbol are recyclable. See the chart below.




Details for the DONT'S

  • Plastic bags. Bags wrap around the gears, wheels, and machinery at the recycling plant which clogs up the separation process and eventually shuts down the plant. Think of it like an item getting caught in the beater brush of your household vacuum. See more about plastic bags.
  • Plastic, single-use cups. These thermoform plastics are brittle and break apart while moving through the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF or recycling plant). The loose pieces will end up mixed into the glass and paper in the plant. See more about plastic cups.
  • Berry or produce containers. These thermoform plastics are brittle and break apart while moving through the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF or recycling plant). The loose pieces will end up mixed into the glass and paper in the plant.
  • Flower pots. Empty plastic flower pots, packs and flats should be reused or placed in the trash for disposal. See more about flower pots.
  • Plastic blister packaging. These thermoform plastics are brittle and break apart while moving through the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF or recycling plant). The loose pieces will end up mixed into the glass and paper in the plant.
  • Styrofoam packaging, cups and food containers. This plastic has been expanded with air and is very fragile. It breaks apart into tiny pieces during the sorting process. See more about Styrofoam.
  • Plastic utensils and hangers. 

What happens if I place the wrong plastics in my curbside recycling?

If there is too much of the wrong materials (contamination) in the curbside recycling mix, there is a chance that the recycling plant will choose to put everything, even the good recycling, in the regular trash. See more about contamination and wish-cycling and why you should care about proper recycling.

Apartment and condominium dwellers can recycle too. See our blog post about recycling options in your building.

Businesses can recycle industrial plastics via local specialized companies. See a list in our Business Recycling Directory.