Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

More Contact Info

Recycle with confidence: Learn how to sort your plastics

Choose the following plastic items for your home recycling:

  • Plastic bottles with a neck (6 ounces or larger)
  • Plastic tubs (6 ounces or larger)
  • Plant pots (4 inches or larger)
  • Buckets (5 gallons or smaller)

Before you throw them in the recycling containers, rinse them out and toss the lids into the garbage.

Sorting your plastics is easy with this guide.

Why?

Sometimes it’s because the items are too small (think lids), making them too hard to sort out from paper, cardboard and other recyclables.

Other times it’s because the global market for a plastic change too frequently (to-go containers, for example). Recycling only works if it makes financial sense for companies to buy the used plastics to turn into new plastics.

What about the numbers on the bottom of plastics?

Ignore the numbers. The numbers on the bottom of plastics refers to the materials they are made from and play no role in what is recyclable in Portland.

Just think size and shape. The allowed plastics – bottles, tubs, buckets and jugs – are the right shapes to get successfully sorted, and they’re the types of plastic that recycling companies want to buy.

Is there any way to recycle these extra plastics?

Yes, for some items. Plastics bags and wrappers can go back to grocery stores. Block Styrofoam can go to Agilyx, a company that has a drop off center.

Ask Metro about items not accepted with your home recycling by calling 503-234-3000 or online at Find a Recycler.

What about plastics labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable?”

Never put plastics labeled “compostable” or “biodegradable” into any recycling container. These “plastics” are made to break down quickly and will contaminate the plastics recycling process and reduce the quality of goods produced from the recycled materials.

Check out Metro’s story and video about recycling and turning what you toss into something new.