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  • Philadelphia Recycling Guide


    Recycling Guide: Do’s & Don’ts

    Confused about what you can stick in that single-stream recycling bin, Philly? We made a handy guide of do’s & don’ts for you based on the Philadelphia Streets Department guidelines. (This doesn’t cover ever consumer product but should give you an idea. We also cover a lot of the harder recycling questions in our Where Can I Wednesday column.)

    Philadelphia Recycling Do’s:


    • Orange juice cartons, milk cartons, juice boxes, soup boxes, ice cream cartons, and more


    • Pie tins, tin and aluminum cans, empty aerosol cans, empty paint cans


    • Jars and bottles

    Mixed Paper:

    • Newspaper, magazines, mail (junk and personal), phone books, ALL books (including hard back books), food boxes (remove plastic liner), computer paper, flyers, wrapping paper (no plastic wrap), soda and beer cartons (no food-soiled paper, please!)

    Plastic Containers:

    The majority of your household Plastic Containers are recyclable!  SO recycle all of them in your single-stream curbside recycling bin:

    #1 – PET (Polyethylene)Soda and water bottles, condiment and peanut butter jars, etc.

    #2 – HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)Milk, water and juice jugs, detergents, shampoo bottles, dairy product containers, flower pots, some household cleaners

    #3 – PVC – (Polyvinyl Chloride)Rigid plastic containers and juice bottles, Charcoal lighter, mineral water, cooking oil bottles, etc.

    #4 – LDPE – (Low Density Polyethylene)Plastic tubs and lids from butter, margarine or similar products, Fabric softener bottles, lotion & sunscreen containers, etc

    #5 – PP (Polypropylene)Yogurt containers and deli trays

    #6 – PS (Polystyrene)Plastic cups, plates and to-go containers (clear, rigid #6 only, not styrofoam* products)

    #7 – (Other plastic)Many mixed plastic containers and plastic products like ketchup squeeze bottles, syrup bottles, microwave containers

    You can also download the Plastics Recycling Fact Sheet for more info.


    • Empty and flattened

    Philadelphia Recycling Don’ts:


    • Aluminum foil, pots & pans, paper clips


    • Light bulbs, window glass

    Mixed Paper:

    • Tissues, paper towels, napkins, wax-coated cups or containers, food-soiled paper, file folders


    • Plastic bags, PVC pipe, packing inserts or “peanuts”, medical plastics, including IV tubing, sharps, and syringes. Please refer to proper disposal guidelines from your medical service providers.


    • Styrofoam*, chemicals, rubber, wood, and ceramic or porcelain plates or cups containers

    *Note: Styrofoam CAN be recycled if you take it to the Streets Department Northeast Philadelphia Drop-Off Center at State Road & Ashburner Street, Philadelphia PA.