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Plastic Bottles, Jugs & Jars

The shape of the container determines if it is accepted for recycling. We no longer look at the recycling number (#1, #2, etc.) to determine if an item is accepted for recycling. Plastic bottles, jugs, and jars are 100 percent recyclable and accepted in Geauga-Trumbull's recycling drop-off sites bins. They are also accepted in ALL curbside programs offered by recycling haulers like Republic Services, Rumpke, Waste Management, Ohio Valley Waste, etc. This includes items like water and soda bottles, shampoo bottles, milk, water and juice jugs, laundry detergent jugs, and peanut butter jars. Bottles, jugs and jars should be emptied and rinsed. Replace the cap and put in your recycling.

Why can't all plastics be recycled?

Recycling is a business. The recycling processor sorts out materials by shape and type of plastic, bundles it into bales and resells the materials to a manufacturer to be used to make a new product. Recycling processors only accept materials that they can resell. Different recycling processors may accept different materials for recycling because they have a vendor to purchase it after it is processed. ALL local vendors (Waste Management, Republic Services, Rumpke, Ohio Valley Waste, etc.) accept plastic bottles jugs and jars. Some may also accept plastic tubs (i.e. butter, whipped cream, yogurt, etc.). We DO NOT accept tubs at our recycling drop-off sites.

Please support recycling by not putting other types of plastic into your recycling container. If you do, it will cost the recycling hauler or processor additional money to sort it out, increasing future costs to us and you for recycling services. 

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 chemicals used to make the container. The codes do not always mean that the item is recyclable, so we no longer look at the numbers on plastics to determine if it goes in curbside recycling.

The shape of the container determines if it is accepted for recycling. Only recycle items shaped like bottles and jugs. If it has a neck (with an opening or a neck that's more narrow than the body), it can be placed in recycling.

What happens if I place the wrong plastics in my curbside recycling? Can I just throw in any plastic that I want and let someone else figure it out?

No. If there is too much of the wrong materials (contamination) in the curbside recycling mix, there is a chance that the recycling plant will choose to put everything, even the good recycling, in the regular trash. 

DO NOT PLACE ITEMS IN PLASTIC BAGS FOR RECYCLING!

Do not recycle these items:

  • NO plastic bags, wraps and netted produce 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. 
  • NO plastic coffee pods, single-use cups, plates or utensils.
  • NO flower pots. Empty plastic flower pots, packs and flats should be reused or placed in the trash for disposal.
  • NO plastic blister packaging. 
  • NO takeout containers, Styrofoam packaging, Styrofoam cups and Styrofoam food containers. This plastic has been expanded with air and is very fragile. It breaks apart into tiny pieces during the sorting process.
  • NO hangers or plastic toys.
  • NO cat litter containers and 5-gallon buckets. These items are too large to be included. Consider reuse before placing them in the trash.
  • NO empty motor oil and antifreeze jugs. These containers may have residue of the hazardous materials they held and should be placed in the trash, not recycling, for proper disposal.