> Home > About Auburn >  News and Notices > May Recycling Tip: Plastic Recycling

News and Notices

May Recycling Tip: Plastic Recycling

If you find plastics recycling confusing, you’re not alone. Because countless types of plastics exist, and not all plastics are collected in the curbside recycling cart, it’s not always clear what goes where. But the good news is that recycling companies are working hard to make plastics recycling easier for the public, by giving clearer guidelines and accepting more items.

Here are a few handy tips: 

  • Get in shape. If an item is marked with a number inside the “recycling arrows,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accepted by Auburn’s recycling program. Instead of going by the number, go by the shape and the type of item. You can recycle all plastic bottles, jugs, tubs (such as yogurt and margarine tubs), so those are the main shapes you need to look for. The one exception is prescription pill vials (the brown/orange ones). If you can’t reuse those, you will need to throw them away. 
  • Party cups, too? Besides regular plastic bottles and tubs, plastic cups (the flexible ones) are accepted for curbside collection. After hosting a dinner party or a get together with friends, if you can’t use reusable cups, go ahead and recycle your plastic cups in your recycling bin. 
  • Bag your bags. The best way to recycle your plastic bags and film is to bring them back to the grocery store. Just stuff them into a single plastic bag, tie it up, and drop it into a plastic bag collection container. Plastic bags and film collected at grocery stores stay cleaner and are easier to process than using your home recycling bin. Please do NOT put plastic bags in your recycle cart. 
  • Be water wise. Using five gallons of water to wash out a food container doesn’t make sense. Rinsing them with a little water is fine, or use a spatula to scrape stuff out. Containers don’t have to be perfectly clean to go in the recycling, but you don’t want to leave gobs of food in them. If a container is very difficult to clean, feel free to just put that one in the garbage. And if it’s a plastic container that contained a toxic chemical or motor oil, put it in the garbage, not the recycling. 
  • Reuse first! If you can reuse bags and other plastic items, that’s always the best way to go. 

Thanks for recycling! It does make a difference!

Information provided by the King County Solid Waste Division and the City of Auburn Solid Waste & Recycling Division.