Plastic, plastic everywhere! But is it recyclable?

Published Aug 12, 2017 at 4:00pm

Plastic products can be found in almost every part of our life.

Understanding which types of plastics are recyclable and which are not is important to the success of the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s recycling program. 

The authority reminds residents that only certain plastics are acceptable in the curbside recycling bin. When plastics are improperly recycled, it causes contamination and operational problems at the authority’s recyclables processing center.

In Oneida and Herkimer counties, residents can determine whether an item is recyclable or not by using the following rule: All plastic bottles, cups and containers are accepted for recycling, regardless of the number code or recycling triangle. The only exceptions to this rule are Styrofoam items, prescription medicine bottles and motor oil bottles.

If a plastic item is not a bottle, cup or container, it should not be placed in the household recycling container.

The authority asks that residents no longer be guided by the “recycling triangles” or “number codes” that appear on many plastic items.

Plastic items with and without recycling number codes can be placed in the recycling bin as long as they are bottles, cups or containers.

Additionally, there are some items that contain a recycling number code that are not accepted for recycling.

Lids and labels can be left on recyclables, and containers should be emptied and rinsed before recycling.

Examples of acceptable plastic bottles, cups and containers:

  • Soda, wate and juice bottles
  • Milk and water jugs
  • Cottage cheese, yogurt and pudding cups
  • Disposable drink cups
  • Baked goods containers (but not ones made of plastic foam)
  • Mustard and ketchup bottles (rinsed out)
  • Soap, detergent and mouthwash bottles
  • Salad dressing bottles

Examples of plastic items not accepted for curbside recycling:

  • Plastic grocery bags (They can be brought to grocery stores for recycling. View full list at
  • Styrofoam
  • Plates and tableware
  • Clothing hangers
  • Snack bags
  • Toys
  • Plastic wrappers and packaging

The authority does offer a special drop-off program for bulky, rigid plastics that allows residents to deliver items such as plastic toys, lawn furniture, garbage cans, coolers and more at its EcoDrop Rome (575 Perimeter Road) and EcoDrop Utica (80 Leland Ave. Ext.) for recycling.

These items cannot be placed in curbside recycling bins.

Recycling questions?

If you are not sure how to properly recycle or dispose of an item, the authority encourages residents to visit its easy-to-use online tool at to search hundreds of different items.