Great News for Recycling in Philadelphia!

Julie Slavet
Aug 4, 2010

As of August 1, Philadelphia residents can recycle plastics #1-7!

From the Philadelphia Streets Department Website:

Recycle All Plastic Containers!

You’ve been recycling plastic containers marked:
#1: Soda, water bottles
#2: Milk jugs, detergents, shampoo bottles

Now you can add:
#3: Rigid plastic containers and juice bottles
#4: Plastic tubs and lids from butter, margarine or similar products
#5: Yogurt containers and deli trays
#6: Plastic cups, plates and to-go containers
#7: Many mixed plastic containers and plastic products

These are just some examples of what you can recycle, so look for the number to make sure.

More info from RecycleNow Philadelphia:

2010 has been a banner year for Philadelphia’s residential recycling program – incentive based recycling was rolled out citywide in July and as of August 1 the City has begun collecting plastics #3 – #7. The change comes as the City recently awarded its recycling processor contract to Waste Management, who is building a LEED certified materials recovery facility (MRF) in Philadelphia.

While the market is strongest for plastics #1 and #2, uses for other plastics are emerging, making their collection viable. The best option is still to reduce the use of plastics and minimize waste, but diverting materials from landfills and incinerators is critical in conserving energy and natural resources and reducing pollution. To differentiate between plastics there is a number on the bottom of the container inside a recycling symbol. The most common recycleable among #3 – #7 plastics are yogurt cups, medicine bottles, bottle caps, take out containers, shampoo and detergent bottles, squeezable food bottles (ex: ketchup or mustard), and plastic packaging.

Plastics that CAN NOT be recycled curbside are plastic bags and dry cleaner bags, pvc pipes, and compostable plastic. For more information on plastics recycling, has developed a “Plastics 101” guide that even lists each different plastic’s reuse. If you have any questions of what can or can not be recycled please email

What does recycling plastic have to do with the health of our watershed? One of the biggest problems in our creeks is an abundance of trash, especially plastic trash. The more plastic that is recycled properly means (hopefully!) less in our waterways. Thank you to the Philadelphia Streets Department for taking this important step!

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