Skip to main content

Tips on Recycling Takeout Containers

Republic Services’ Sustainability Ambassador Jeremy Walters clears up some of the confusion around what types of takeout containers can be recycled in an article published this week on  According to Jeremy, some of the big points you want to keep in mind when you think about your takeout containers include:

  1. Do some recycling research: The most important thing you can do to streamline the process is to find out what containers can and can’t be recycled in your specific area. This will likely vary depending on where you live, so you’ll need to check with your local service provider, often via its website.
  2. Don’t assume it can be recycled: Just because a takeout container has a “recycling symbol” on it doesn’t mean it can be recycled where you live. When it comes to plastics, that symbol is actually called a Resin Identification Code. While it closely mirrors the recycling symbol, it does not signify recyclability. In most cases, plastic containers labeled with a #1, 2 or 5 are accepted for recycling.
  3. Give ’em a good rinse: When recycling any takeout containers, make sure they are empty, clean and dry. Residual food waste, especially grease, can cause a material to become unrecyclable.

For general rules and guidelines on which takeout containers can and cannot be recycled and how best to recycle them, read the full article here.

Print out your own handy Are My Takeout Containers Recyclable guide below to help make it easier to figure out which bin your takeout container goes in. For additional help and resources, visit