State Nixs Takeout Containers for Recycling

Update on Recycling

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Did you know that those black plastic containers what are often used for customers with their to-go food in them are not recyclable?  State environmentalists say they actually belong in the trash.

“Black plastic is a form of contamination in the Connecticut recycling program. Black plastic is not picked up by optical scanners at the materials recovery facilities, often referred to as a MRF, that sort and process our materials. And if they can’t identify what is black plastic, it ends up getting in bales of paper, or bands, bales of aluminum or other materials and will contaminate those loads,” said Department of Energy and Environmental Protection State Environmental Analyst Sherill Baldwin.

Baldwin said black plastic was removed last year from the state’s list of acceptable items to put in your home’s recycling bin.

“I think it’s really due to the pandemic. Because we’ve been doing so much takeout, I think there’s more black plastic than what facilities can handle, and it’s causing high levels of contamination,” Baldwin said.

Black plastic does have those triangular arrows, but you still should not place them in your recycling bin.

A reminder, this is what is allowed in Stratford’s recycling stream, you can recycle:

  • unbroken glass bottles,
  • any plastic container with a number 1 through 7 stamped on the bottom no larger than 3 gallons
  • no plastic bags or black plastic containers
  • empty food and beverage cans
  • and all paper (including newspapers, junk mail, magazine, etc.) and cardboard.
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