Sustainability Environment

What plastics can you recycle? Here’s a handy list

A guide to navigating recycling.
FILE – Cans and plastic bottles brought in for recycling fill containers at a recycling center in Sacramento, Calif., July 5, 2016. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Story at a glance

  • Bottles and jugs marked with recycling symbols 1 and 2 are usually recyclable.

  • Plastics marked 3, 4, 6 or 7 are seldom recycled.

A new report from Greenpeace finds that as little as 5 percent of plastics are recycled, illustrating just how much room for progress there is in the nation’s recycling efforts.  

Here’s a quick guide of what kinds of plastics generally can be recycled.  

These plastics are usually recyclable. 

Bottles and jugs marked with recycling code 1 inside the triangular symbol (including water, soft drink and salad dressing bottles). 

Bottles and jugs marked with recycling code 2 inside the triangular symbol (including milk, juice, detergent and shampoo bottles). 

These plastics are occasionally recyclable. 

Tubs and containers marked with recycling code 5 inside the triangular symbol (including ice cream, dips and fast-food cups). 

These plastics are seldom recycled: Check with your local recycler! 

Anything marked with recycling codes 3, 4, 6 or 7 inside the triangular symbol. 

Grocery bags, trash bags, cling wrap, shrink wrap. 

Plastic plates and cutlery, coffee lids and water cups. 

Styrofoam cups, clamshells and trays. 

Green plastic bottles. 

Source: Greenpeace, recycling experts