Plastic FAQs

Plastic

Where do I go to find information on where to recycle plastics?

Individuals or businesses can check out one or more of the following:

  • Earth 911 Network - This is an off-site website for locating recycling locations across the state. Learn more about that website on the quick link Begin Today!
  • Mississippi Recycling Directory - Contains information on community programs and recycling facilities that accept plastics for recycling.
  • Community Programs - Contains a list of communities across the state with recycling programs.
  • Plastic Brokers/End-Users Directory - Contains a list of companies which purchase large quantities of plastic for recycling.

Is there anything special I need to know about recycling plastic bottles and containers in my community program?

There are just a few things to keep in mind when recycling plastics. First check with the community's recycling coordinator to make sure what types of plastics the program is accepting. Most programs accept the PET (#1) and HDPE (#2). The code is on the bottom of the container with the recycling symbol. Sometimes they may only accept certain types of PET or HDPE plastics so get the specifics.

Throw away any plastic or metal caps on the containers, rinse and flatten to save space. Labels on plastic containers can remain. Do not recycle plastic tubs such as margarine, yogurt and ice cream containers. Although these containers are generally HDPE (#2) plastic, the resin is slightly different and is not accepted in the majority of programs in the country. The Technical FAQs at the bottom of this page has more information on why these are not accepted.

Why aren't all plastic containers and bottles recyclable since they have the recycling logo stamped on the bottom?

The recycling symbol on the bottom of many plastic containers and bottles doesn't mean that they can be recycled. The code identifies the thermoplastic resin from which the container is manufactured. There are seven codes which represent the following: Polyethylene Terephathalate (PET #1), High-density Polyethylene (HDPE #2), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC #3), Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE #4), Polypropylene (PP #5), Polystyrene (PS #6), and Other Plastics #7. The plastic industry designed the code, hoping that all plastics would be recycled. The plastics that are most often recycled are the PET and HDPE which makes up over 80% of the container plastics manufactured in the United States. There are far fewer markets for the other resins.

Often the recycling facility can use this code to make sure that they are processing the correct materials. Mixing different plastic resins together can reduce the price received for the bale of plastic or in some cases cause serious problems at the plastics manufacturing facility.

What do I do with plastic grocery bags?

Plastic grocery bags are not generally accepted in community recycling programs in Mississippi or across the country. There are several grocery store chains in the state that provide recycling collection bins at or near the front entrance of the store. Most of these plastic grocery bags are shipped off to one or more companies that manufacture composite lumber used in plastic picnic tables, outdoor decks and fences. Contact the local grocery store to find out if they participate in this program.

What can I do with those packaging peanuts that come with things that are shipped to me?

Polystyrene peanuts which is the proper name for them (not Styrofoam peanuts), should be reused for future shipping needs if all possible. In addition, most stores that are in the business of mailing packages will accept clean packaging peanuts. Look in the telephone book under "Packaging Services" for a list of companies to contact about accepting packaging peanuts, or call The Peanut Hotline at 800/828-2214 for the nearest location that accepts polystyrene peanuts for reuse. Check with the collection site before dropping off large quantities.

Retailers who want to participate in "The Peanut Hotline" and receive consumer peanuts should check out the website for The Peanut Hotline.