HomeFor ResidentsUtilitiesGarbage & RecyclingRecycling > Plastic¬†Containers


Many different plastics are recyclable at the curb in Cedar Rapids.  By following a few key steps, we can make a difference by recycling our plastic containers in our CURBY carts.

What goes in CURBY:

  • plastic bottles #1-#7

  • water bottles

  • milk jugs

  • plastic food containers

  • rinse the containers and remove the lids.

What stays out:

  • Plastic bags

  • Styrofoam

Plastic bags bind up the sorting equipment when plastic in the CURBY cart, causing fires and system shut-downs. Collect plastic bags and return them to your grocery store for recycling. Styrofoam is a garbage item.  Processing Styrofoam is an expensive endeavor and we do not have the resources to recycle this material in our area.

What happens to it?
Plastics collected in Cedar Rapids are sorted at the City Carton Recycling Facility in Cedar Rapids.  At the recycling facility, plastics are sorted with an optic scanner. The optic scanner can determine the type of plastic a jug or container is made of and then shoots a puff of air that knocks the jug into the correct bin.  Quality control inspectors then continue the sorting process by removing any material the optic scanner missed. Once the plastics are sorted, they are crushed into large bundles and shipped to facilities that will break the plastics into small uniform pellets.  The pellets are then melted and formed into new materials like park benches, t-shirts, carpets and new plastic bottles. 

‚€‹How does recycling plastic make a difference?

  • Conservation of Oil. When a ton of plastic bottles are recycled approximately 3.8 barrels of petroleum is saved.

  • Reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. The substitution of recycled materials reduces the emission of greenhouse gases that are produced in the manufacturing of virgin materials.

  • Saving of Landfill Space. Not having millions of plastic bottles in the landfill results in a saving of 6.7 cubic meters of landfill space that is at a premium right now. Plastic bottles also take an average of 500 years to biodegrade.

  • Conservation of Energy. Water and soft drink bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate or PET.  Recycling one pound of PET results in a saving of approximately 12,000 BTU’s (British Thermal Units).

  • Benefits of Reuse. Recycled bottles can provide an environmentally friendly source of materials for the manufacture of new products and substitutes recycle materials for virgin materials.

Questions about Plastic Recycling?
Call (319) 286-5897

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