Are Plastic Food Storage Containers Recyclable?

Plastic food storage containers are now used in most homes and restaurants. They are unaffected by food additives. You can’t utilize the old ones indefinitely, even if they aren’t broken.

Are plastic food storage containers recyclable?

You can recycle plastic food storage containers. To recycle a container, you need to look for a specific number or recycling symbol on the bottom of the container. It determines whether the plastic container is recyclable and where you can recycle it. If that isn’t present, the item isn’t likely to be recyclable.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the plastic food storage containers, do they expire, and how you can recycle them, continue reading.

Are Plastic Food Storage Containers Recyclable

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What Are Plastic Food Storage Containers?

Plastic food storage containers are portable and convenient storage containers that you can use in the freezer and oven. You can use them to keep food at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or frozen. These containers are incredibly durable and keep the food fresh. You can also use some containers for baking in the microwave.

You can store leftovers, meal prep, or keep fruits and veggies fresh. They are usually leakproof food containers with holes on the sides for venting.

What Kind of Plastic Is Used in Food Storage Containers?

Polypropylene plastic is used in making food storage containers. This strong plastic can be rigid or flexible. Furthermore, polypropylene food storage containers are an ideal solution for storing leftovers or taking meals to work, school, or on the road.

Food-grade containers produced with this plastic include yogurt containers, margarine tubs, and prescription bottles. Ice scrapers, oil funnels, rakes, pallets, and refrigerator food storage boxes are polypropylene. It’s a common type of plastic.

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Do Plastic Food Storage Containers Expire?

For the most part, plastic food containers do not expire quickly; they survive indefinitely, if not longer. However, if you heat them, it’s time to toss them. Furthermore, if the plastic has cracks, is peeling, or is badly scratched, you should throw it away.

Most plastic food containers are made of high quality, durable plastics and can last forever. But if you heat them in a microwave and then let them cool, toss them out. Plastic will degrade from heating—and hard scratch marks on the surface of a piece of plastic are a dead giveaway.

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How Long Plastic Food Storage Containers Are Good to Use?

A standard plastic food storage container is suitable for a few months if you treat it gently. According to a business representative, plastic food containers have a shelf life of five to ten years if used as directed.

Plastic food containers are not easily broken or cracked, but if you do, it’s time to stop using them because a broken container no longer serves its purpose, and a cracked one can be harmful to your food.

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How to Know If Plastic Food Storage Container Recyclable?

It’s easy to identify whether a plastic food container is recyclable or not by finding the number inside the triangle on your plastic food container. This will range from one to seven if you look closely and reveal the type of plastic used. 

  • Containers with a 1 or 2 are generally recyclable, whereas those with a 3 or 4 aren’t.
  • Numbers 6 and 7 are not recyclable because they contain various materials. 
  • When a container is made up of various things, it is given the number 7. This could be a small piece of packing or a piece of plastic film off the top of the container.

What Can You Do with Old Food Storage Containers?

Recycle your old food storage containers. As an alternative, you could use them to store nuts, screws, bolts, and other tools in your garage. Or shine them up to hold some bathroom items or your compost out in the garden.

Reusing your storage containers will make your kitchen more aesthetically pleasing and leave you feeling good about doing the right thing for the environment.

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What Is the Best Way to Recycle Plastic Food Storage Containers?

Before putting your plastic food storage containers and lids in the recycling bin, make sure they are embossed with the recycling symbol. Generally, a universal recycling symbol consists of a number inside, so you can recycle the container if you see a 1 or 2. Most recycling programs accept number 5 but check with your local recycling service if you’re unsure.

  • Before placing goods in the recycling bin, make sure they are clean and rinsed. No food, liquids, or other contamination is permitted.
  • Inquire about the recycling of plastic bottle lids.
  • Avoid using the recycling bin for aluminum foil, plastic utensils, Styrofoam containers, plastic wrap, or plastic wrappers.
  • Use a clear or see-through blue bag if you must gather your recyclables in a plastic bag.

Are Rubbermaid Food Containers Recyclable?

Rubbermaid® and TerraCycle® have teamed up to offer a recycling alternative for well-used food storage containers. You can easily recycle all brands of food storage containers for free with the Rubbermaid Food Storage Recycling Program.

Even though Rubbermaid sponsors this initiative, any brand of plastic or glass food storage containers, such as Tupperware, Pyrex, OXO, or even generic brands, can be recycled.

Rubbermaid is also broadening its commitment to sustainability by accepting and recycling any food storage product, regardless of brand, through the recycling program and helping to raise awareness that there is a recycling solution for almost everything.

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Where to Donate Plastic Food Containers?

Some charitable organizations in your local surroundings or online will collect old plastic food storage containers, sort them out, and melt them down to make new plastic storage boxes. You can donate any good condition plastic containers to charitable organizations if you want to contribute to a good cause. 

Many environmental and health-related problems arise from the improper disposal of plastics. So, if you are looking to dispose of those old plastic containers, you should not just throw them away in the garbage can. Instead, donate the items you would like to donate to one of the countless charitable organizations that will be glad to take care of them.

Final Thought

It’s no secret that plastic food storage containers are an excellent way to store leftovers and portion out your next meal. That’s why you typically see a variety of them in most homes, but what those piles of containers don’t tell you is that you can recycle them! Most plastic food storage containers can be recycled, which means they can keep on with new owners.


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