Can butter containers be recycled?

Every year, over 250 pounds of plastic waste are collected around the world. A big chunk of these are from food packaging. While some food manufacturers have done their part to look for greener packaging options, some products simply do not have other choices but to stick to plastic.

Butter, for instance, is packed in two ways. You can find them in either wax paper packaging or plastic tubs. It would have been ideal if all butter produced came in wax paper, but in the case of spreadable butter, for example, it is not possible.

Butter containers can be recycled, but not all recycling facilities accept them.

What options do we have to recycle butter containers?

Butter containers are made from plastic #5. Although considered to be a recyclable plastic, not all facilities can process these materials. It takes a more specialized process to recycle them, not as easy as you would recycle PET bottles, for example.

The recycling bin that you have in your home is part of the solution. However, the challenge is determining which of these plastic products could be recycled. Also, trash recyclability could greatly vary from community to community. It all depends on your local recycling facility. It is always best to ask the authorities to manage your expectations.

Reusing butter containers

Just because there is no recycling option in your community does not mean you should throw those butter tubs straight to the trash. Doing so will only make you a contributor in the tons of unrecycled waste in landfills.

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The next best thing to recycling is reusing.

Butter tubs are made durable to protect its contents from outside elements which could cause contamination. Designed to pack butter in an airtight manner, you could find a lot of uses to these containers after you finish its contents.

You can use your butter containers as a catch all for the small items you have at home such as clips and pins. You can also use it to store chopped fruits and vegetables in the fridge, or even as a container to pack your lunch and snacks.

A lot of waste management companies are known to work with manufacturers that turn butter tubs into paint cans. 

Which plastic containers are recyclable?

The recycle system used for plastics was designed to handle the same type of recyclable wastes at a time. This explains why other plastic packaging should not go in your recycle bin. 

For example, plastic films and very tiny plastic packaging may need some specialized recycling process. Simply putting them with other plastic types could interfere with the whole process and lead to an unsuccessful result.

However, it is important to note that not all plastic containers are non-recyclable. There are also plastic materials accepted by these facilities, depending on what they are made of.

A good example of recyclable plastic containers are plastic bottles used for beverages. Make sure to remove the plastic film label. Plastic films, as mentioned, are not recyclable. 

As for bottle caps, some are okay keeping them on, while there are also some which prefer to take them off. It all depends on what equipment the local materials recovery facility has. If we keep them on, and the MRF can’t process them, the caps can become dangerous. 

  Are wax milk cartons recyclable?

Bottles are subjected to high pressure in the sorting and baling process, which can force caps off a high speed, potentially harming workers. However, other MRFs can capture and recycle the caps. It is always best to ask your preferred recycling facility what they prefer so you can follow suit.

Common questions about recycling butter containers

Are takeaway containers recyclable?

It depends on what they’re made of. Because polystyrene was found to be a problematic packaging for takeaway food, restaurants tried finding ways to eradicate its use and then soon replaced it with plastic containers. These plastic containers are meant to be reused, but are not always done so. Fortunately, there are takeaway containers made from cardboard paper which are not just recyclable, but also sustainable.

Are margarine containers recyclable?

Yes. The stiff and rigid plastic used to make these containers are recyclable. The only clincher is to make sure your local recycling facility would take them, as these containers are not as easily recyclable compared to PET bottles.

Why is black plastic not recyclable?

Black plastic bags are hard to recycle because they’re, well, black. Its opaque color makes light bounce on the material, thus making it resistant to the whole recycling process. What happens to black bags is simply being thrown to landfills instead of being recycled.

If your local recycling facility is not able to recycle butter containers, find a way to reuse and repurpose them. They are durable and versatile, you’re sure to find a lot of practical uses instead of just throwing them away. 

  Can a straw be recycled?

Better yet, switch to butter packed in wax paper instead of tubs. That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about trash every time you enjoy your favorite breakfast.


We have to rethink how we are doing it all. It is important to consider our footprint! Susan has been writing on this blog since 2020, but it has been on her mind for a lot longer!

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