Recycling takeout containers isn’t always easy. How do you know what to recycle and what to put in the garbage? What if there’s a food stain in my container?
This week, we’re giving you three tips for recycling takeout containers. Read on to learn more!
Sort Your Plastic
Not every type of takeout packaging is recyclable. Knowing what to put where can help your local recycling facility process items faster! When it comes to plastic, we’ve talked about the different kinds of plastic and what they mean in a previous post.
Especially when it comes to plastic, there are so many different kinds! The kind of plastic is usually identifiable by the number found on the bottom of your plastic items inside the recycling system. Certain types of plastic are more widely recyclable than others. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each number on your plastic means:
|Plastic Number||Type of Plastic||Examples of use|
|1||Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)||Single use beverage bottles, salad dressings, vegetable oil bottles|
|2||High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)||Milk cartons, detergent bottles, toys, rigid pipes|
|3||Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)||Plumbing pipes, credit cards, toys, IV fluid bags, medical tubes|
|4||Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)||Plastic wrap, sandwich bags, beverage cup liners, squeezable bottles|
|5||Polypropylene (PP)||Hot food containers, bottle caps, packaging tape, straws, clear cups|
|6||Polystyrene (PS or Styrofoam)||Cups, takeout food containers, cutlery|
|7||Other||Electronics, DVD/CDs, clear plastic cutlery|
It’s important to check what materials your packaging contains before tossing it in the recycling bin. Generally, number 1 and 2 plastic are the most commonly recycled types of plastic!
Fun Fact: hard black plastic containers are widely unaccepted by most recycling facilities since the pigment is undetectable by automatic sorting machines.
Checking and sorting your recycling might seem like a small task, but taking the extra time to ensure your waste is going to the right places helps the entire waste management system!
Clean Your Containers
While most takeout and food packaging is recyclable, cleaning out any remaining food waste is the only way to ensure proper recycling! Wash and dry all food and beverage containers before recycling. Some paper takeout containers like pizza boxes may not be washable. However, as long as the box isn’t too saucy or greasy, it can be recycled!
If your takeout and food packaging has excessive organic material on it, recycling becomes difficult, if not nearly impossible. Taking an extra step to ensure your takeout and food packaging is clean makes sure that the items you’re recycling actually get processed!
Check Your Local Guidelines
Although sorting and cleaning your food packaging can help with the recycling process, the best way to to prepare your takeout packaging for recycling is to check what your local municipality’s guidelines are!
Each city has their own waste disposal guidelines which can be similar, but not exactly the same. Many cities even have searchable indexes that can let you know how to dispose of all your household waste! When you’re not sure what to do before recycling takeout containers, this is a great place to start.
Choose Recyclable Materials
If you’re a business that uses takeout packaging, choosing a recyclable material for your takeout packaging can be helpful for your customers! Especially with the upcoming plastic ban, choosing alternate packaging materials for your takeout containers benefits not only you, but also the environment!
Not sure how to get there? We’ve got you covered. Contact us today to find out how we can help you create eco-friendly takeout packaging! Our knowledgeable Business Development Consultants can let you know more about our eco-friendly takeout packaging solutions.