Step-by-Step to Recycling Plastics

The NPR recently published a helpful infographic on the in’s and out’s of plastic recycling. If you were not already aware, plastic recycling can be a little different from location to location around the state, and the country.

We hope the following information will help you to determine whether it’s recyclable or not. In addition to our list of What is Recyclable? We’ve also tried to provide some more specific information about recyclable plastics here on Orcas.

Small Plastics

As the NPR article states, small plastics (3 inches or smaller) can jam up recycling equipment.

At ORS/The Exchange = Garbage

Flexible Packaging

Items like potato chip bags are usually lined with aluminum and multiple types of plastic. And although food pouches could be separated by recyclers there is no end market currently for that type of plastic providing no ability to sell the material.

At ORS/The Exchange = Garbage

Deodorant Containers

Again, deodorant containers usually consist of multiple types of plastic making it difficult to recycle. A better option…make your own!

At ORS/The Exchange = Garbage

Beverage Bottles

Just remember to rinse them and take the caps and the labels off the bottles before recycling and you’re good to go!

At ORS/The Exchange = Recyclable

Other Bottles
  • Bottle with a cap or opening the same size or smaller than the base of the bottle (rinsed)
    •  At ORS/The Exchange = Recyclable
  • Laundry detergent containers, shampoo/conditioner, soap (all rinsed)
    • At ORS/The Exchange = Recyclable
  • Spray cleaner bottles (rinsed):
    • At ORS/The Exchange = Recyclable  (Note: Discard nozzles with metal springs)
Plastic Clamshells

The way these products are created makes it difficult to recycle and varies on recyclability from place to place. 

At ORS/The Exchange = Recyclable

Yogurt, Sour Cream, etc. Containers

Often made from mixed plastics, recyclability is different from place to place. They should be rinsed if recycled.

At ORS/The Exchange = Recyclable

Polystyrene Foam

This type of material is now prohibited to be used by food services businesses in San Juan County

At ORS/The Exchange = Garbage

Plastic Bags and Wrappers

Although some larger stores around the country offer recycling for some of these materials, we are unable to do so on Orcas. 

At ORS/The Exchange = Garbage

If you’re unsure whether something is recyclable, just ask!