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Plastic recycling

Garbage and recycling    Recycle at home    Guide to recycling at home    Plastic recycling

You can recycle plastic bottles, jars, tubs, buckets and nursery pots at home.

Some plastic materials that can't be recycled at home can be dropped off for recycling at some recycling businesses in the region. Call Metro Recycling Information or visit our Find a recycler web page for details... Find a recycler

Please include these in your recycling container

Plastic bottles, jugs and jars – 6 ounces or larger, any container with a threaded neck (for a screw-on lid) or neck narrower than the base. This includes milk jugs, peanut butter jars, and bottles from grooming and cleaning products (shampoo, cleansers, laundry soap, etc.). Rinse before recycling.

Plastic tubs: 6 ounces or larger, usually round with a wider rim than base and contain products such as salsa, margarine, cottage cheese, hummus, etc. Rinse out containers thoroughly.


Planting/nursery pots, larger than 4 inches in diameter and made of rigid (rather than crinkly or flexible) plastic. Please rinse thoroughly!

 plastic buckets

Buckets, 5 gallons or smaller. Handles are OK. Rinse before recycling.



Plastic bags – they are recyclable, but not at the curb. Plastic bags are a serious problem for recycling facilities. They get caught in machinery, which causes staff to shut down sorting lines several times a day to cut the bags out of the equipment. Take plastic bags back to stores or drop them off at recycling depots where they are collected separately from other plastics.

Bottles that have contained motor oil, pesticides, herbicides or other hazardous materials. Bottles that have contained cleaning products are OK.

Lids. They are too small or too flat to be sorted out of commingled recyclables and usually end up at paper mills where they contaminate the paper. There are recycling options for these, but not curbside.

Trays – from microwaveable meals, deli products, prepackaged meals and snacks (Lunchables, etc.). Take-out, deli or other food containers that are not specifically tubs, including clamshell-type containers, boxes, bowls, etc.

Styrofoam® or other foam products (cups, meat trays, egg cartons, packaging foam, packing peanuts, etc.).

Plastic or plastic-coated beverage cups, lids or straws.

Plastic packaging that doesn't conform to the bottle, jar, bucket or tub shapes, such as "blister packaging," "clamshell" or film (stretch or shrink wrap, bubble wrap and bags), or containers smaller than 6 ounces.

Need assistance?

Metro Recycling Information
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Reciclaje de plásticos

Puedes reciclar botellas de plástico, jarras, botes, baldes y macetas en tu hogar.

Información en español

Quick tip

plastic numbers
What do the numbers on plastic items mean?

The numbers inside the recycling symbol that appear on plastic products and packaging are an indicator of the type of resin from which the item is made, and do not indicate whether or not that item can be recycled at your home. Residential recycling programs in the Portland metropolitan area use the shape and type of the item rather than these numbers to determine recyclability.

By the Numbers

Amount of clear plastic bottles recycled in the U.S. made into polyester fiber for T-shirts, sleeping bag fill and carpet.

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