Here’s some great news for the environment: we’re recycling more plastics than ever before in the U.S. Recycling plastic bottles is great, but there are so many more things that are being recycled. It’s heartening to know that our everyday plastics can stay out of landfills and become something great in their next life, from school supplies to car parts to home décor.
So how do we keep up the momentum and do even better? We can make sure we collect recyclable plastics from all over the home, not just the kitchen, and include plastics that sometimes are overlooked. Here are four examples:
1. Plastic caps and lids
That’s right—recyclers want caps and lids, too. Just put the caps and lids back on plastic bottles, jugs, and containers and toss them in the recycling bin. Even though bottles and caps may be made with different types of plastics, they can be separated at the recycling center.
2. Wraps and bags (plastic film)
You can recycle plastic wraps and bags by returning them to the recycling bins at more than 18,000 participating grocery and retail stores. In addition to grocery bags, you can recycle plastic bags for newspapers, produce, and bread, dry cleaning wraps, and even plastic wrapping from diapers, water bottles, bathroom tissue, paper towels, and more. You can stuff them into a plastic bag and drop them in the storefront recycling bin on your shopping trip. Just make sure they’re clean and dry.
3. Toiletry bottles
Remember your bathroom plastics! Bottles and containers for shampoo, conditioner, body wash, mouthwash, and lots of other toiletries typically can be recycled, just like the milk jugs, yogurt containers, and beverage bottles from your kitchen. Check with your local recycling program to make sure you know what’s accepted for recycling.
4. Laundry/garage plastics
You probably have lots recyclable plastics in your laundry room and garage. Those plastic jugs for detergent, bleach, and gardening products likely can be recycled in your curbside bin (again, check with your local recycling program). Just empty and rinse them, like the other plastics you recycle.
Here’s another way to learn what’s recyclable: iwanttoberecycled.org, a cool website run by Keep America Beautiful—you just type in your zip code and voila! You may be surprised how many plastics and other things you can recycle.
So, the next time you find yourself holding a used plastic bottle… or cap… or wrap… make sure it goes into a recycling bin! Someone is waiting to turn your plastics into something new and cool.
Wondering what happens to plastics after they’re recycled? Discover more here.