How to Recycle Plastic Food Trays

Written by michael monet
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How to Recycle Plastic Food Trays
Recycling plastic is not as easy as throwing it on the kerbside. (recycle image by Byron Moore from

Plastic food trays are generally categorised into the sixth recycling level. Recycling levels tell recycling companies which plastics can be recycled together and what the outcome and usability of the plastic will be once it's recycled. Unfortunately, plastics in level six are more difficult to recycle and reuse because they are mostly made of air.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Check the number in the chasing arrows recycling symbol. These symbols are included on all plastic containers.

  2. 2

    Wash all of the food residue from the plastic container. If the number inside of the chasing arrows is 1 or 2, you can recycle this container kerbside.

  3. 3

    Call 1-800-CLEANUP for recycling information in your state if the plastic container has a number between 3 and 7. Ask for special drop-off centres in your area for plastics in these levels.

  4. 4

    Contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers at (410) 451-8340 or Ask for drop-off centres in your area. The AFPR has partnered with stores like Walmart in some states to arrange for the recycling of higher-level plastics.

  5. 5

    Reuse your plastic trays for storage, arts and crafts, or other purposes if you cannot recycle them.

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