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common plastic and recycling myths

As experts in both plastics and recycling, we hear misinformation every day about what plastic can do, how to recycling it, and what recycling really does. 

This misinformation just makes the problem worse.

Our Goal is to help educate and help change the narrative against plastics and recycling

The information below is based on recycling at CarbonLITE Recycling facilities located in CA, TX, and PA

 Myth 1:
You need to remove the cap before recycling a bottle

The truth

Removing the cap from a bottle can actually negatively affect the cap's recyclability. Once that cap is removed, it can become too small for most recyclers to capture in their systems. Typically, these caps find their way to a landfill. 

Did you know?

CarbonLITE Recycling takes bottles that have caps, removes the caps and labels, and turns the mix into a plastic called POLYOLEFIN, which is used to make a number of other plastic products. The bottle, itself, is recycled back into PET Resin.

The truth

The number inside the recycling triangle is actually the RESIN IDENTIFICATION CODE and is used only to label the type of plastic. It has nothing to do with how recyclable a package is. Recyclability is actually dependent on the capabilities of each municipal recycler. Please check with your local recycler before tossing plastic in your recycling bin.

Did you know?

PET (or PETE) is the most recycled plastic. It also happens to have the Resin Identification Code #1. Click Here to the recyclability of different types of plastics.


 Myth 2:

The number in the recycling triangle means I should recycle it


 Myth 3:

Recycled plastic is weaker than virgin plastic

The truth

 Modern PET recycling systems can increase Recycled Plastic’s “Intrinsic Viscosity (IV)”, or its strength, to match that of Virgin Plastic.

Did you know?

Some recycling systems can convert non-food grade PET plastic into PET plastic that is approved for direct food contact.

The truth

Most recycling systems have more than sufficient capabilities to ensure that all food contaminates are eliminated. One recycler boasted "My system is so good it can clean a horse".

Did you know?

Recyclers claim that one of their biggest contaminants is the amount of glue used to apply labels on bottles and packaging. Excessive glue can clog recycling systems, essentially shutting down recyclers for extensive cleaning.

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 Myth 4:


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 Myth 5:


The truth

Research has shown that recycling plastic saves energy, CO2 emissions, and water, when compared to manufacturing virgin plastic. Recycling plastic reduces dependence on natural resources, like petroleum. Recycled PET has a smaller Carbon Footprint than Virgin PET.

Did you know?

It takes about 22 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of Virgin plastic, but only 2/3 of a gallon to recycle 1 pound of plastic. *

*Based on CarbonLITE Recycling 

The truth

Non-recyclables materials can be sorted out, but non-recyclable plastics, like PVC, can actually clog recycling systems, costing recyclers time and money.

Did you know?

Many of the plastic films/wraps used on food packaging can actually clog recycling systems if not recycled at the correct location. Please remove before recycling your plastic packages.


 Myth 6:

JUST throw it in the recycle bin, IT GETS SORTED OUT ANYWAY


 Myth 7:


The truth

Recycling systems have the ability to wash and reconstitute PET plastic over and over again.

Did you know?

Many of the water and soft drink bottles in consumer's hands now have been recycled before. Naked Juice bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. 

#1 PET Bottle recycling is accepted in almost every state, and some states will even pay for recycled bottles (CA, CT, HI, IA, ME, MA, MI, NY, OR, VT)

Water Bottle Recycling Logo - PP Green -

Plastic recycling, however, can be different in each area, so

please remember to check with your local recycler before recycling your plastic

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