Plastics come in many forms and most are not recycled because they are difficult materials to sort or have a low commodity value. Look for the number inside the “chasing arrows” recycling symbol. This number is a manufacturer plastic resin identifier code to let recyclers know the type of plastics used. (They are NOT an indicator of whether it can be recycled.)
In Burbank, we only accept clean #1, #2, and #5. Keeping non-recyclable plastics out of the recycling container is important in reducing costs to our operations when we have to landfill them.
–All plastic items should be at least 3″ in diameter. Small items fall through our sorting machinery.
–For takeout containers, only #1 clear plastic and #5 plastics (no black) are allowed to be recycled in Burbank.
–All other plastic to-go ware, including “compostable” plastics (bioplastics) go in the trash.
Many manufacturers—and most consumers—misinterpret the label as an indicator of the package’s recyclability or recycled content. That’s because the symbol is often placed prominently on the packaging or accompanied by language such as “Please recycle,” “100% recyclable,” or “80% recycled content.”
These incorrect uses confuse people and often lead them to put nonrecyclable packaging in their recycling bins. Why is this a problem? It’s expensive for recycling facilities to separate out these nonrecyclable materials. It can also lower the quality and value of the recycled raw materials that manufacturers use to make new products.
The moral of the story? Know what your local recycling hauler accepts and don’t rely on manufacturer’s claims.