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Environmental Services

Posted on: October 5, 2020

Plastic Recycling Demystified

Plastic Symbols

These symbols look very much like recycling symbols, but have a different meaning. According to the EPA, these symbols were created by plastic manufacturers to help identity the kind of plastic resin used to make the container, but it doesn’t always mean they can be collected for recycling in your cart.

Avoid these common recycling mistakes:

  • Our local provider, Republic Services, currently only accepts plastics with the symbols 1 and 2. This includes things like soda bottles, water bottles and other clear bottles, as well as milk jugs, shampoo bottles, detergent jugs, butter and yogurt tubs and other similar containers.
  • Plastic shopping bags, films and over wraps can’t go in your recycling cart, but can be taken to your local big-box or grocery store for recycling. These thin plastics are “tanglers” that can jam the sorting machines at processing centers.
  • Plastic caps and lids can be recycled if still attached to the plastic container, but not if they are separated. Anything smaller than a credit card can jam the sorting machinery.
  • Remember to have items “empty, clean and dry” before tossing recyclables into your cart.
  • Don’t “wish-cycle”, only put things in the bin that you know can be recycled. If you aren’t sure, use the City’s free search tool Can I Recycle It? to find out.

Get more information on recycling and learn how to dispose of hazardous household waste  to help keep Mansfield beautiful.

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