The Association of Plastics Recyclers
  • Recycling Rigid Plastics  Beyond Bottles
    Recycling Rigid Plastics
    Beyond Bottles

APR works every day to expand plastics recycling.

Every year since 2009 APR has conducted a survey to evaluate residential plastics collection programs for the largest municipality in each state. These surveys show that rigid plastics recycling beyond just bottles is happening widely in the United States.

VIEW PLASTIC IDENTIFICATION CODES

Select a Beyond Bottles program below to learn more. 

  • Most foam #6 products can be identified by the resin identification code stamped on the material. Foam is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam®, which is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company for extruded polystyrene foam made for thermal insulation and craft applications. Foam #6 is a thermoplastic that can be recycled over and over again. The types of accepted foam products vary between processing facilities.

    Bale Specs & Best Practices

    Bale Specs & Best Practices

    As communities work to maximize landfill diversion and move towards zero waste, they are often faced with the question of how to manage their polystyrene. This paper was written to answer that question and to offer a list of best practices.

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    FPI Recovery Toolkit

    FPI Recovery Toolkit

    The Foodservice Packaging Institute is the trade association for the North American foodservice packaging industry. This toolkit is a comprehensive resource on what foodservice packagingis currently being recovered, collected, processed and marketed.

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    Home for Foam

    Home for Foam

    This website provides a wide variety of resources for city governments, homes, businesses and schools to recycle foam #6.

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    EPS Industry Alliance

    EPS Industry Alliance

    EPSIA is a trade association representing expanded polystyrene (EPS) manufacturers. This site offersa wealth of resources for EPS recycling.

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    Video: Recycling PS & EPS

    Video: Recycling PS & EPS

    Todd Sutton, the Waste Sleuth, investigates the recycling of the #6 plastics in this video.

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    PS Recycling in Action

    PS Recycling in Action

    This video shows how Plastic Recycling, Inc. processes mixed bales of solid and foam polystyrene from curbside residential recycling programs.

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  • What are bags, wraps and film?

    Those convenient plastic shopping bags universally provided to customers are fully recyclable. These bags are mostly made of HDPE #2 plastic, and while they can’t be combined with other HDPE packages such as milk jugs, they are still completely recyclable if kept separate. Other film packages and wrappers include bread bags, produce bags, overwraps on multi-packs of household paper goods and beverage bottles, apparel bags from online shopping and local department stores, dry-cleaning bags, and many other forms of flexible packaging found in the household. These bags and wrappers are mostly made of Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) or Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), #4 plastic which is recycling compatible with HDPE.

    Film Group

  • What are residential bulky rigid plastics?

    Residential bulky rigid plastics are any large rigid #5 PP and/or #2 HDPE plastic bulky items, generated through a positive sort from curbside, drop-off or other public or private recycling collection program. Examples include: crates, buckets, baskets, totes, and lawn furniture. Metal such as axels and bolts should be removed but buckets/pails with metal handles are acceptable.

    Bulky Rigids

    Collection Options

    Thousands of communities throughout the US collect bulky rigid plastics. Local governments and residents have embraced the opportunity to recover this high-volume recyclable plastic through a few different methods.

    Curbside Collection

    Because convenience is often the key to high volume recycling, collecting bulky rigid plastics at the curb is the preferred collection method for many US communities, and is becoming more common every year. When adding this material to curbside recycling it is critical to fully understand what the MRF/market will accept and communicate this to residents.

    Drop-Off Collection

    Typically an open top, roll-off container is used to collect bulky rigid plastics at a drop-off site. As with any type of recycling, keeping the material clean of contaminants will help with pricing and market options. Good signage is important to help residents understand which bulky rigids are accepted and which are not.

    Special Collections Event

    Adding residential bulky rigids to a special collection day is an easy transition, as they would be only one of the many items collected. Electronics, household hazardous waste, and textiles are a few items that are also collected this way. Given that residential bulky plastics are often items such as toys, large buckets, and laundry baskets that are still useable, collecting them at a special collections event provides the opportunity for reuse. Because MRFs may be the ultimate destination for residential bulky rigids collected, they will often provide a roll-off container for collection/transport at special collections.

  • Non-Bottle Containers

    What are non-bottle containers?

    Any container or lid that is smaller than two gallons and which isn’t a bottle. Examples include tubs for yogurt/sour cream, smaller single serve yogurt containers, cups, to-go clamshells, small storage crates and small buckets. If the item is larger than two gallons, it’s considered a bulky rigid.

    Non-Bottle Containers 

  • What types of bottles should I leave my cap on?

    Bottles with caps on include a variety of container types beyond beverage bottles. Additional examples include laundry detergent and other cleaning products, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, as well as condiment, snack, food, and drink bottles.

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