Clean Out Containers
If a container once held food, clean and dry the container as well as you can before recycling it. Containers with food, liquids and other residues can contaminate whole batches of recycling and are often sent to a landfill.
Not Safe to Reuse
PET plastic has a porous structure that absorbs bacteria over time and becomes more porous with each use. Because germs can reside inside the plastic, you can’t always wash them away.
Avoid Heating Plastic
Keep plastics containing food or drink out of the microwave, dishwasher and other hot places, like your car. The warmer plastic gets, the more it tends to break down, melt and release chemicals.
Not Infinitely Recyclable
Plastic isn’t infinitely recyclable in the same way that glass and metal are. Its quality declines each time it’s recycled, so new plastic needs to be added in order to keep recycling it.
Ways to Reduce
Opt for Reusable Containers
Most plastic is made directly from oil and natural gas, not recycled plastic. When plastic does get recycled, it is often into products that are no longer recyclable. Metal and glass, which are durable and can be recycled infinitely, are always a better container choice.
Drink Filtered Tap Water
Disposable water bottles are made of plastic #1 and can be avoided by drinking filtered tap water instead. Most bottled water comes from the tap in the first place, and taste tests in cities such as New York have favored tap over bottled water.