Recycling question - what about those lids?


In our city we are allowed to put #1 and #2 recyclable items in our bins that the city picks up (when it comes to plastics). No 5’s or others. So what about lids??? I’ve hardly ever notice a lid to have a triangle number on it, so I just throw them away, but I just feel like it totally defeats the purpose of recycling in the first place if I’m still throwing stuff in the regular trash!!

We can take non #1 or #2 items to our local recycle center (I don’t even know where it is actually), and I’ve thought about just collecting up all my lids, along with the massive kitty litter containers that are #5 and taking it all, but the lids had me stumped.

What do you do with your lids? :confused:



Plastic lids are often made from different types of plastics than the rest of the bottle. They used to be made of cross-linked polyethylene, but I’m not sure if that has changed. The cross-linking process makes the regular polyethylene (which is #2) much stronger, but it cannot be recycled with regular polyethylene due to the change.

After some digging around, I believe the caps are now generally polypropylene, which is the non-recyclable #5.

While it may seem bad that you’re still throwing away plastic, it is less mass of plastic and the vast majority of the bottle is still being recycled.


Thank you - at least I have an idea of what one person does. Guess I’ll just throw them away. I thought that I had read that you can’t combine the 5’s with the others because it can contaminate the stuff that can be reused.




Does your recycling company have a website? They may explain something about lids. Or they may have an email address where you could ask.


WOW!! Thank you for prompting me to check! Looks like I can put ALL plastic bottles in my bin now!!

Still no lids, but this is great to know! I never received anything in the mail telling us of this change so I had no idea.

Cool!! :thumbsup:




What I have been told, is that sending the lids results in one of two things:

  1. If the recycling people are serious recyclers themselves, they will have to remove each & every lid before processing the other plastics you send.
  2. If they are just in it for the work, or are having a bad day, they will toss the whole lot, bottles & all, into the nearest garbage tip…:eek: leaving nothing to be recycled.

I now throw all lids, including the ones that are coded (even “acceptable” numbers of plastic) into my “real” garbage, and give the recyclers only what I know they will be able (willing?) to recycle.
This way, I know that everything I put out will probably, hopefully, make it to an actual recycling plant.


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