Plastic Recycling

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Sort Your Plastic by Shape, Not by Number

In Flagstaff, you can recycle plastic bottles, jugs, and jars. All other plastics need to go in your trash bin. Knowing what types of plastic can be recycled is difficult and you may be wondering "what numbers can I recycle?" Unfortunately, the numbers you see on plastics, often in a triangle of chasing arrows, do not mean anything when it comes to what goes in your home recycling bin. Those numbers are typically used by the industry to indicate what type of plastic it is, not whether it is part of a local recycling program.

Ignore the numbers and the chasing arrows symbols. Instead, sort by shape.

These items are recyclable, just make sure they're empty and clean: Plastic bottles, jugs, and jars. This includes milk jugs, peanut butter jars, beverage bottles, as well as cleaning and other toiletry bottles (shampoo, laundry soap, etc.).

Do not include these items in your recycling bin:

  • Plastic bags and film packaging can be recycled, just not at the curb. Bring them back to the grocery store so that they are kept out of the processing facilities where they get caught in machinery and litter our valued natural areas.
  • Trays from microwaveable meals, deli products, prepackaged meals and snacks. Take-out, deli or other food containers, including clamshell-type containers, boxes, bowls, etc.
  • Styrofoam or other foam products (cups, meat trays, egg cartons, packaging foam, packing peanuts, etc.)
  • Plastic, or plastic-coated beverage cups, straws, and lids.
  • Other plastic packaging that doesn't conform to bottle jar or jug shapes, such as blister packaging, clamshell or film (stretch or shrink wrap, bubble wrap and bags).

Does this information surprise you? Touch up on all your recycling knowledge by visiting our recycling guide.