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Plastic Bottles & Containers

Plasticbottles and containers

There is a large range of plastics ​that can be recycled and either placed in the recycling bin or dropped off in City of Houston recycling centers.


But what is recyclable? Do not trust the recycling symbol on the package! The recycling number is just an indication of the type of plastic. Below are the rules you should follow to properly recycle plastic in Houston. 

  • Recycle ONLY RIGID PLASTIC, bottles, containers, jugs, tubs and jars. 

  • Always EMPTY and CLEAN. If not, it will contaminate the entire batch. Leaving food waste in plastic container or bottle can cause thousand of pounds of recyclables to go to landfill instead of being recycled. 

  • NO FLEXIBLE PACKAGING (like apple sauce pouch)

  • NO PLASTIC #6, NO STYROFOAM - Styrofoam recycling locations


  • NO PLASTIC UTENSILS they cannot be recycled.

  • Plastic cap on the bottle or not, in the trash or in the recycling bin, it all depends of your service provider. Check with your hauler what is required. Alternatively, you can donate your plastic cap to the Texas Art Asylum. 


Below a list of items by plastic number that can be recycled in Houston when clean:   

  • Plastic #1 - Clear plastic bottles and containers: water, soft drink, juice mouthwash, salad dressing bottles, peanut butter/jam jars, fruits/vegetables packaging tray, detergent and cleaner containers. 

  • Plastic #2 - Opaque milk and water bottles, juice containers, bleach, detergent and shampoo bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs. 

  • Plastic #3 -Clear food containers (e.g., take-out) and non-food packaging (e.g., squeeze bottles, shampoo bottles, mouthwash bottles).

  • Plastic #4 - Squeezable bottles (honey, mustard), food storage containers, container lids.

  • Plastic #5 - Food containers (ketchup, yogurt, cottage cheese, margarine, syrup), take-out  containers, and other opaque plastic containers. 

  • Plastic #7 -Baby bottles, sippy cups, water bottles, three and five gallon large water storage containers, juice and ketchup containers

Other drop-off location: 

Water plastic bottle, detergen plastic container, soda plastic bottle, to go plastic container

Styrofaom, Plastic #6


Styrofoam, or expanded polystyrene, is everywhere, in single use plates, cups or to-go boxes. Styrofoam can be recycled but is not commonplace, that's why it is not accepted in the recycling bin.

Styrofoam is accepted in 2 City of Houston recycling centers: 

Make sure your styrofoam containers are EMPTY and CLEAN. Styrofaom should be bagged. 

styrofoam icone

Plastic Bags

Plastic Bags

IMPORTANT: No plastic bags in the curbside recycling bin. When placed in the recycling bin plastic bags can cause damage at the Material Recovery Facility and shut down operations for hours.


Although there are ways to reduce our plastic bags usage, we'll always end up with some plastic bags. Good news is, some can be recycled. 

Below examples of plastic bags that can be recycled: 

  • Shopping bags,

  • Dry cleaning plastic film,

  • Bread bags,

  • Food storage bags (Ziploc type plastic bags), 

  • Newspaper bags,

  • Paper towel, bathroom tissue plastic packaging wrap,

  • Plastic liner from cereal boxes, 

  • Plastic wrapping, plastic film,

  • Produce bags,

  • Bubble wrap and air pillow bags (popped) ... . 

The rules for recycling plastic bags are: 

  • Always make sure that plastic bags are CLEAN

  • REMOVE staples, receipts and labelling.

  • Plastic must be CLEAN and DRY. 

Most of your grocery stores will offer a in-store plastic bag recycling bin: 

  • Target / Kroger / Randall's / HEB / Wal-Mart / Whole Foods / JC Penney ...

ATTENTION: The City of Houston Recycling Centers DO NO LONGER accept plastic bags. 

plastic bag
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