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Recycling Plastics

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Recyclable Plastics

In Fort Lauderdale we recycle a great variety of plastics.  

Any item imprinted with symbols numbered one through seven can be recycled, with very few exceptions.  An easy way to spot recyclable plastic is to look for containers with a narrow neck.  These can be found all over your home, office and school.  They include everything from ketchup and drink bottles, to soap and detergent containers, to empty medicine bottles.  Plastic tubs, berry trays and "clamshells" are usually recyclable too, including those used for yogurt, butter and even take out food.  Small plastics, such as bottle caps, are recyclable, as are plastic take-out cups and straws.  

There is so much plastic that is recyclable that it may be easier to remember what not to include.  


Anything that looks or feels like a bag is not recyclable in our containers.

Plastic Bag Recycling ButtonNever recycle plastic bags or anything that looks like a plastic bag, unless you take it to a specially marked drop-off bin.  This is why we request that you not use liners or trash bags in our blue recycling carts.  Plastic bags, dry cleaning covers, baggies, wraps and films, should not be recycled in our City's blue carts or public space containers. Why not?  When these items are mixed in with regular recyclables they can slow down or stop processing.  Plastic bags and similar materials can get caught in the processing machinery.  The recycling process is fast and highly automated, but when a bag gets stuck, the entire line stops.  Therefore, processors consider these items to be contamination.  We receive lower payment for contaminated recyclables.   Please bundle your plastic bags and similar items together, and then drop them at your local market or big box store.  Most have specially marked bins just outside or inside their entrances.  The retailer will send the plastic to a bulk processor specially equipped to handle those plastics.

Foam is NOT Recyclable in our City containers.

Polystyrene Recycling Button

Foam products and trays are also not recyclable in the City of Fort Lauderdale. These include packing materials, foam egg cartons, "clamshells" used for take-out food, and trays for fish, meat and vegetables.  Foam coffee cups are also not recyclable here, though the plastic top usually is. There are a myriad of foam products, primarily of polystyrene foam. There are ways to recycle it and specialized drop off locations in our City. Click on the button above to learn more.

Plastic Household Goods Should be Checked for a Recycling Symbol 

Finally, mixed component items including toys, melamine and other dishware, picture frames, and many household goods made of molded plastics are not usually recyclable.  Please look for the recycling symbol before you toss these in one of our containers.

Plastic Recycling Symbols  1 through 7

Empty and Rinse

For any plastic, please remember to empty completely and lightly rinse to get rid of any food and residues.  Separate the caps and lids from the containers.  Crush the container, if possible.  Crushing reduces the size of the item, eliminates unnecessary air pockets, and allows more to be put in each container and truck.

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