Plastic Bottles & Containers

Plastic Bottles & Containers


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, cosmetics and personal products, and laundry detergent and bleach bottles. Containers should be emptied and rinsed. Replace the cap and put in your curbside recycling.

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 don'ts

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Plastic utensils and hangers. 

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