Cups

Cups (Plastic & Paper)

Can I recycle my coffee cup, fast food cup, red plastic cup or other party cup?

Sorry, those disposable paper and plastic beverage cups cannot be recycled with your home recycling. Do not place them in with curbside or drop-off recycling.

The rigid thermoform plastics are brittle and break apart while moving through the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF or recycling plant). The loose pieces end up mixed into the good, recyclable glass and paper in the plant. Make sure the fast food cups, red plastic party cups (and all other colors) make it into the trash instead.

We no longer look at the number on plastics to determine if a plastic item is recyclable. The numbers are resin codes used by the plastics industry to identify the chemicals used to make the container. The codes do not always mean that the item is recyclable. The only plastic that belongs in curbside recycling is bottles and jugs.

Paper cups have a thin layer of plastic coating on them to protect them from condensation.The plastic coating sprayed on paper cups makes the paperboard underneath impossible to recycle in the standard pulp process because the container will not break apart during recycling.

The lids from beverage cups are also not recyclable. Place them in the trash.

If you don't want to throw plastic cups in the trash, take advantage of a mail-back recycling program. TerraCycle offers national programs (Brigades®) to collect previously non-recyclable or hard to recycle waste. The company offers a collection program for rigid plastic cups. Most of the TerraCycle's Brigades offer free shipping as well as a rebate or donation for each piece that you collect. Learn more about TerraCycle's Brigade programs.