Plastics Recycling

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 plastics used in the products you buy have the numbers 1-7 inside the arrow symbol usually located on the bottom of the container. These numbers are resin codes developed by the plastics industry to help them properly sort plastics for recycling. Just because a plastic item has one of these numbers on it, does not mean that it is recyclable in your area. Always check this page first to find the most accurate, up-to-date info on which plastics are recyclable here in the Kansas City metro area. 

Below is a guide to help you know which types of plastics are recyclable and which are not in the Kansas City metro area.

 

Recycle these...

Resin Code Examples Where do I recycle it? Please Note
Resin code symbol for polyethylene terephthalate: Number one inside chasing arrows, with letters "P", "E", "T", "E" below.

Soda Bottleplastic clamshell


Soft drinks, water, juice, plastic clamshells, peanut butter & mayonnaise jars.

Photo of blue curbside recycling binPhoto of large curbside recycling bin with lid on wheelsphoto of drop-off recycling center

Curbside & Recycling Centers

photo of hand holding plastic bottle under kitchen sink tap filling with water.

Give all recyclable bottles and containers a quick rinse before recycling.

Resin code symbol for high-density polyethylene: Number two inside chasing arrows, with letters "H", "D", "P", "E" below.

milk jugFabric Softener bottlebody wash bottleslaundry detergent bottle


Milk jugs, toiletry bottles, laundry detergent bottles

Photo of blue curbside recycling binPhoto of large curbside recycling bin with lid on wheelsphoto of drop-off recycling center

Curbside & Recycling Centers

Resin code symbols for high-density polyethylene and low-density polyethylene: Number two inside chasing arrows, with letters "H", "D", "P", "E" below, and Number four inside chasing arrows, with letters "L", "D", "P", "E" below, with phrase "bags and film" at bottom.

plastic air pillows shippingnewspaper in bag
Air pillows, shopping bags, newspaper sleeves

loaf of bread in bag

Bubble wrap, bread bags, dry cleaning bags
oranges in produce bagplastic overwrap from case of bottled water
Produce bags, case wrap, plastic shipping envelopes

Product overwrap, food storage bags

Cereal bags, Tyvek envelopes, foam wrap

Ice bags.

fictional grocery storefront
Photo of fictional "big box" storefront
Collection barrels at grocery or big box stores

Photo of recycling bin with plastic bags mixed with acceptable materials, with international "no" symbol (red circle with diagonal line through center) superimposed over image

Bags and film are only accepted at grocery stores and big box stores, not in your curbside bin or at your recycling center. There are a few types of non-recyclable bags and film. Tip: Store bags in one bag until next trip to store

Resin code symbol for low-density polyethylene: Number four inside chasing arrows, with letters "L", "D", "P", "E" below, with word "rigid" at bottom.

Photo of mustard bottlePhoto of pile of plastic lids and caps

Caps & lids, some food packaging

Photo of blue curbside recycling binPhoto of large curbside recycling bin with lid on wheelsphoto of drop-off recycling center

Curbside & Recycling Centers

Photo of plastic bottles with caps on

Plastic caps and lids fall through sorting equipment.
Solution:  Put the cap back on the plastic bottle before recycling. 

Resin code symbol for polypropylene: Number five inside chasing arrows, with letters "P", "P" below. Yogurtmargarine tubfood storage container
plant pots and trays
Tubs & Jars: Yogurt, margarine, sour cream, food storage containers and plant pots/trays from nurseries and garden centers

Photo of blue curbside recycling binPhoto of large curbside recycling bin with lid on wheelsphoto of drop-off recycling center

Curbside & Recycling Centers & select nurseries

plant pots

Thoroughly rinse out planting pots and trays before recycling. Dirt contaminates recyclables lowering their recyclability and value.

Resin code symbol for polystyrene: Number six inside chasing arrows, with letters "P", "S" below, and word "rigid" at bottom

plastic deli containerPlastic cup

Deli containers, plastic plates, bowls and cups

Photo of blue curbside recycling binPhoto of large curbside recycling bin with lid on wheelsphoto of drop-off recycling center

Curbside, Recycling Centers

photo of food on plastic plates, with international "no" symbol (red circle with diagonal line through center) superimposed over image

Thoroughly rinse disposable cups, plates, bowls and containers. Food and beverages contaminate recyclables lowering their recyclability and value.

Resin code symbol for polystyrene: Number six inside chasing arrows, with letters "P", "S" below with word Styrofoam at bottom.

Only clean, white Styrofoam™ blocks, molds, and sheets are recyclable in the metro area.

ACH Foam Technologies logo

ACH Foam Tecnologies
1400 N. 3rd Street
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 321-4114

ACH Foam Technologies
4001 Kaw Drive
Kansas City, KS 66105
(913) 321-4114

photo of different polystyrene products that cannot be recycled in greater Kansas City, with international "no" symbol (red circle with diagonal line through center) superimposed over image


Styrofoam food and drink containers and peanuts are not recyclable.

Resin code symbol for "other" plastics, such as acrylic, polycarbonate, polyactic fibers, nylon and fiberglass: Number seven inside chasing arrows, with word "other" below.

Water cooler bottlePlastic potato chip container

Water cooler bottles, some food packaging

Photo of blue curbside recycling binPhoto of large curbside recycling bin with lid on wheelsphoto of drop-off recycling center

Curbside & Recycling Centers

photo of drinking cup made from plant-based resin, compostable in commercial facility

The #7 indicates that the plastic is made with a resin other than #1- #6 or is made of more than one type of resin. It can also mean that the product is made of from a non-plastic material such as these compostable cups made from cornstarch.

Outdoor items & toys

child's plastic chairplastic watering canplastic log cabin playhouse

child's plastic carblue plastic Adirondack chairplastic toy slide

Jungle gyms, riding toys, picnic tables, sandboxes.

Photo of fictional thrift storefront
Habitat for Humanity KC ReStore Sign

Thrift stores, Habitat ReStores

Habitat ReStores and thrift stores accept donations of large outdoor items and toys that are clean and in good working condition.

Building materials

photo of window blindsHouse with vinyl sidingphoto of vinyl fencing

Towel bars, window blinds & shades, patio furniture, vinyl fencing, tile & flooring.

Habitat for Humanity KC ReStore Sign

Habitat ReStores
 

Habitat ReStores accept donations of new and gently used residential building supplies that are clean and in good working condition.

 

Don’t recycle these...

Type Examples Why can’t I recycle it?

Styrofoam™ food containers

styrofoam food containers: restaurant takeout clamshell, coffee cups, meat traystyrofoam egg carton

Takeout cartons, egg cartons, meat trays, coffee cups

  • Food contamination
  • Low economic value

Microwave food trays

microwave meal traymicrowave meal tray

Microwave food trays

  • Food contamination
  • Low economic value

Plastic Tubes

  • Multiple material types
  • Can't be fully rinsed

Six-pack rings

plastic six-pack rings

Soda, Beer, etc.

  • Not recoverable from mixed curbside recycling stream. 
  • Clipping rings prior to disposal is recommeded, can be hazardous to wildlife.

PE-LD

PE-LD 4 packing materials
  • Often mistaken for Styrofoam
  • Labeled #4
  • Squeezable
  • Bends, doesn’t break
  • No local market

Cutlery & Straws

four colorful drinking strawsplastic cutlery: fork, knife and spoon
  • Fall through sorting machinery
  • Food contamination
  • Low economic value

Medical & personal hygiene

Prescription medication bottlessyringephoto of medical tubingphoto of back of baby wearing diaper

Prescription bottles, syringes, medical tubing, diapers

  • Hazardous

Hazardous substance containers

automotive and lawn & garden productsfive-gallon bucket labeled "paint"

Automotive fluids, lawn & garden products, paint containers

  • Hazardous

Old building materials

stack of PVC pipebroken toilet seatphoto of PEVA shower curtain liner

PVC pipe, toilet seats, shower curtains, etc.

  • Broken
  • Non-working
  • Outdated
  • Does not meet building code
  • Low economic value

Plastic film & bags

potato chip bags with foil lining
Chip and snack bags, cling wrap
coffee bag with foil lining
Coffee pouches, cellophane, candy wrappers
bagged salad
Pre-washed salad bags, frozen food bags

Ready-to-eat food bags and pouches, pet food bags
vinyl bedding packagingBag of garden soil
Garment and bedding bags, lawn and garden product bags

  • Contained hazardous material (lawn & garden chemical)
  • Low value (cling wrap & cellophane)
  • Metallic lining (chip & coffee)
  • Multiple material types
    (pre-packaged food & pet food)
  • Vinyl (garment & bedding bags)