Four. To-go coffee cups cannot be recycled
A common misconception is that to-go coffee cups are simply made of paper and therefore recyclable. This is incorrect. Coffee cups are made from multiple layers of different materials and cannot be recycled. They are lined with plastic so that they can contain liquids without crumbling.
Coffee cups and other food service utensils and packaging are often made of degradable, biodegradable, or compostable plastics and labeled as such. This does not mean they are recyclable. Compostable and recyclable are very different. Compostables cannot be separated and composted even if you put them in the recycle. sent to a landfill.
Therefore, reuse is recommended instead.
Read our story on how to avoid packaging in restaurants.
Five. Not all plastics are the same
Plastics come in many forms. There are seven grades, or varieties, of plastics. Unfortunately, not all plastic products can be recycled on the street.
Our recycling system is designed for grocery/food packaging items only. Here in Wellington, you can recycle uncrushed hard plastic with the recycling symbol and numbers 1, 2 or 5. These specific types of plastic include most plastic beverage bottles, food containers, and cleaning product containers.
Unnumbered or numbered 3, 4, 6 and 7 plastics cannot be recycled (these grades of plastic are difficult to recycle and there is little to no market for them to be anything else). Coat hangers, bubble wrap, toys, etc. are all technically made of plastic, but not the type of plastic that can be recycled through roadside recycling systems. Just because it’s plastic doesn’t mean it can be recycled.
Learn more about how to prepare your recycling for collection.
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