NYC: Yogurt Containers = unrecyclable?

New York City has printed little posters and distributed them all over, clarifying what items go into which (if any) type of recycling bin. For the benefit of you folks who don’t live in NYC, we have “blue” bins which take glass, metal, & plastic of various sorts, and “green” bins which take recyclable paper products.

Anyway, to get to the point: the column for “Not Recyclable” shows, along with such items as “infant diapers”, “broken telephones” and “styrofoam”, …yogurt containers!

Huh? I look on the bottom of my yogurt container and it has the triple-arrow ‘recyclable’ plastic symbol. I forget the exact categorical number, but we aren’t told to sort by numbers anyway. The broad categories are otherwise pretty self-explanatory…but…yogurt containers?

Yogurt is, well, you know, yogurt! Nothing this side of tofu has such positive credentials amongst the earthy-crunch ecosensitive contingent. It’s really hard to believe that the manufacturers would choose a substance for their containers that isn’t recyclable!

And…if not yogurt, then what ELSE isn’t kosher for the blue can? Empty vegetable oil bottles? Dish soap bottles?

Might they have just screwed up the posters or something?

I think the lids are not recyc. the container is. Look at the number in the triangle. IIRC the container is 2 the lid is 7. not many places recycle the lid number

Not all plastic is easily recyclable. Just because there is a triangle symbol doesn’t mean it is a type you can actually recycle. Many places that have plastics recycling only take #1 and 2 plastic, and most yogurt containers I’ve seen are #5. In the case of Stonyfield Farm, a company that is big on enviro-friendly practices and materials, their web site explains their reasons for using #5 plastic rather than 1 or 2:

Geobabe please post a warning to bring you hip boots when you post such a link. After wading through all the BS it does go into an explanation of the reason. Basically it states:
1 #5 can be made thinner walled then #2
2 most places just recycle the bottles and toss the rest

Makes sense to me. Everyone knows that NYC stands for No Yogurt Containers. :smiley:


Cecil did a column on the “Chasing Arrows;” to summarize, only the ones numbered “1” and “2” are recyclable in practical terms. After I read the column I looked at that long laundry list of NYC recyclable/non-recyclable plastics and realized that in fact, it boils down to only “1” and “2.” Of course, paying someone to come up with a laundry list involves more civil-service time…