Can You Recycle Number 5 Plastics?

Can You Recycle Number 5 Plastics?

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Recycling isn’t the identical because it was. Just a few years in the past, China accepted a lot of the world’s plastic, textile, and paper recycling. But in 2018, China tightened restrictions on what it will settle for because of the excessive stage of contaminated materials despatched by the U.S.

Now, it’s time for the United States to take accountability to recycle these streams of waste domestically so as to enhance the “supplies safety” of the nation. That means maintaining and processing extra recyclable materials contained in the U.S., which may even scale back the carbon footprint of the present method to recycling.

In the United States, plastic recycling is changing into a problem, particularly quantity 5 plastics. We’ve collected just a few options that will help you preserve these plastics out of the landfills.

What Are Number 5 Plastics?

The recycling image on the underside of a plastic product doesn’t essentially point out that the merchandise could be recycled. That quantity surrounded by chasing arrows is a resin identification code and tells customers what sort of plastic they’re holding.

The quantity 5 with the recycling image signifies polypropylene, usually simply shortened to PP.

Number 5 plastic resin code
The resin identification code for polypropylene, generally generally known as quantity 5 plastic

This plastic kind is especially arduous and warmth resistant. It’s usually utilized in prescription medication bottles, yogurt cups, hummus tubs, single-use cutlery, and a few packaging for private care merchandise like deodorant, lotion, or shampoo. Lids of single-use drink bottles are sometimes additionally manufactured from quantity 5 plastic in addition to an excessive amount of single-use laboratory and medical provides at hospitals, clinics, and labs.

Number 5 plastics have been extensively accepted in each curbside and drop-off recycling facilities earlier than China’s National Sword policy was launched in 2018. That is when China stopped accepting our plastic waste for recycling.

Recycling Mail-in Programs

Currently, there just a few mail-in choices for recycling polypropylene. Do verify along with your native strong waste district to verify native choices in your area earlier than going to this effort and expense.

Gimme 5 Program

The Gimme 5 program is run by Preserve, an organization that makes totally recycled plastic house and kitchen items. Formerly, Preserve provided recycling drop-off places for polypropylene at Whole Foods shops however discontinued this system in 2019. A restricted variety of shops nonetheless settle for plastic “disposable” cutlery solely. Preserve now asks recyclers to mail in their quantity 5 plastics. They welcome medication bottles, yogurt containers, hummus tubs, and extra. Preserve additionally closes the lifecycle loop with their mail-in toothbrush takeback program.

Note: During the COVID-19 disaster, Preserve has needed to briefly pause its mail-in recycling program. See what kinds of number 5 plastics the corporate accepts and save your plastics to mail in when pandemic restrictions have lifted.

Matthew 25: Ministries

The worldwide humanitarian support and catastrophe reduction group Mathew 25: Ministries accepts clean, empty pill bottles. They welcome prescription medication bottles in addition to small tablet bottles that could be too small to recycle curbside. The ministry reuses bottles in nations the place such provides are restricted and recycle these they can not use.

empty prescription bottles
Many prescription bottles are constructed from quantity 5 plastics. Image by Bob Williams from Pixabay


The big in recycling the unrecyclable area is TerraCycle. This firm’s motto is “eliminating the thought of waste” and so they have applications that permit you to recycle almost any type of waste.

TerraCycle doesn’t have a recycling program particularly for quantity 5 plastics, so that you’ll need to hunt round their web site for the very best answer. There are free recycling applications in addition to Zero Waste Boxes, which could be crammed with plastic and mailed to TerraCycle, that you could pay for. If the majority of your quantity 5 plastics come from a particular model, verify to see if there’s a TerraCycle brigade program available that lets you recycle the merchandise totally free.

If no free applications meet your wants, chances are you’ll take into account ordering, for a not-so-small price, one in every of their zero waste boxes.

Keeping Number 5 Plastics Out of the Trash

We’re experiencing a plastics crisis within the United States and world wide. We encourage you to do what you may to eliminate plastic waste. One good place to start out is to keep away from plastics, like polypropylene, that may’t be recycled in your regular curbside or drop-off location.

If potential, skip the plastic and purchase your yogurt in bulk or in glass containers — or make your own! Order a three-month provide of drugs as an alternative of 1, chopping down on packaging whereas saving a visit to the pharmacy.

Additionally, search for methods to reuse or upcycle your plastic containers. We love the thought of creating suncatchers out of clear lids and taking part in a plastic bottle bowling game. Your quantity 5 plastic yogurt containers additionally make great organizers!

If your favourite product comes packaged in hard-to-recycle quantity 5 plastic, make your voice heard! Let the producer know you’re keen on their product however need it to return in earth-friendly packaging.

Feature picture by Artur Konik from Pixabay. Originally printed on May 6, 2020, this text was up to date in December 2021.