Making sense out of plastic recycling

By Matt Riggs, Solid Waste Management District outreach coordinator

We use hundreds of types of plastics in our daily lives, so how do we know which ones are recyclable and which ones are not? Most recycling programs include plastic, but are vague, confusing or inconsistent about which types are accepted. So we play the guessing game and end up trashing plastic items that could be recycled, and recycling others that should be trashed. The following information should help clear it all up for you.

Recycle These:
The following list has the types of plastics that you can recycle in the metro area. Most plastics used in the products you buy are numbered  one through seven. Look for the number in the resin code that appears in the chasing arrow symbol, usually on the bottom of the container.

Plastics Recycling Table 2

Visit the Habitat ReStore and Vintage Tech Recyclers websites to learn more.

Don’t Recycle These:
Following are the types of plastics you cannot currently recycle in the Kansas City metro area. Most can go in the trash, but be sure to properly dispose of hazardous household products.

Plastics Recycling Table Don't
Proper Plastics Prep
Proper preparation of materials can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful recycling. Here are some tips:

  • Call — Always call your hauler or recycling center first to confirm the types of plastics they accept.
  • Empty — Make sure containers are completely empty.
  • Rinse — Give containers a quick rinse to remove residue.
  • Don’t forget caps and lids — Plastic caps and lids are recyclable, too. Crush plastic bottles, put the cap back on and recycle. Or, fill a plastic tub with caps and lids, put on the lid and recycle. Both methods keep caps and lids from falling through the sorting machinery and getting thrown out at the material recovery facility.

For more information, visit RecycleSpot.org or call 816-474-8326.

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