Caps, Bags and Yogurt Cups – Recycling Plastic

Posted on September 05, 2013
Plastic recyclables

With advancements in recycling technology, the types of plastics that can be recycled have expanded in the past year. Here are some tips for reducing and recycling plastics. 

First step is to reduce
Before we talk plastics recycling, let's talk avoiding plastic in the first place.

  • Use reusable water bottles
  • Bring reusable bags to the grocery store
  • Bring reusable containers to a farmer's market to carry produce

Buying in bulk is a great way to reduce packaging waste, save money and try new foods in small quantities. When purchasing other products, consider choosing the product with the least packaging.

What's new
Some curbside recycling programs have started taking additional plastics - including yogurt cups, cottage cheese tubs and deli containers - in the past year. In addition, containers for cream cheese, ricotta cheese, margarine, medicine, food storage and clamshell to-go boxes are collected by most haulers. If your hauler does not accept certain plastics, find drop-off locations near you here.

Caps are okay! Empty the container and put the cap back on recyclable bottles, such as milk, juice, beverage, liquid detergent, shampoo, and more.

Plastic bags are usually not accepted in curbside recycling with your other plastics; however, they are collected in bins throughout the metropolitan area at many grocery stores, as well as some county recycling centers. This includes nearly any type of bag as long as it doesn't contain food, is dry and isn't a specialty item like bubble wrap. Learn more at

Please note, not all plastic is recyclable. Call your municipal recycling coordinator or hauler to learn what types of plastic you can recycle at curbside.

You've got my number
How many times have you asked yourself, "I wonder if this is recyclable?" Most plastic containers, some bags and other plastics come labeled with the chasing arrow symbol containing a number inside of it. The number describes the type of plastic used to make the product - it doesn't necessarily mean it's recyclable. Hennepin County offers a great guide to plastic numbers, but check with your municipal recycling coordinator for how to recycle various items locally.

To find more information on recycling plastics here.


I welcome the addition of more plastic recycling options, but when you say "Most curbside recycling programs have started taking additional plastics - including yogurt cups, cottage cheese tubs and deli containers", and that does not include St. Paul, I think it should say "Some" instead of "Most". The addition of new items has seemed extremely slow in St. Paul, and this is just another indicator of that. We are saving our plastic yogurt cups (everyone loves that Greek yogurt!) to take elsewhere, but are anxiously waiting to add them to our regular recycling.

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