Plastic food storage containers such as Tupperware and their lids usually have a number 1 or 2 recycling symbol on the bottom are accepted in almost all local recycling programs. The proper way to dispose them of for recycling is to make sure they are clean, empty and dry.
Proper recycling of Tupperware
Recycle with the lid attached. Most of the recycling programs also accept #5 plastics, which is sometimes what these containers are made of.
As for other types of plastic, it is still best to check with your municipality first. If in doubt, the safest way to dispose of your Tupperware and other plastic containers is to separate them from the rest of your trash and keep them with the same type.
What do the numbers at the bottom of Tupperware mean?
The triangle is called the Mobius loop, while the numbers from #1 to #7 pertain to materials used in making the product. This system is called the Material Identification Code, and it helps identify the resin content of the plastic products, so people can sort them properly.
However, these numbers should not be used to measure the safety of the product.
What’s on my Tupperware?
- The triangle symbol. Without a number within the international Universal Recycling symbol. This means your Tupperware can be recycled. These containers are most commonly recycled into non-food items such as vases, watering cans, container fillers etc.
- The fork and glass icons. This guarantees the suitability of using Tupperware products for food. It is our assurance as consumers that this product is proven to not transfer components into food in quantities that can endanger human health.
- Freezer-resistance symbol. Specifically designed with round corners, Tupperware’s FreezerMate range also features recessed bottoms allowing air to circulate through. This is purposely designed to be easily stacked together for space-saving.
- Suitable for oven use symbol. Not only are these oven-safe, but also safe to use in the fridge, freezer, and dishwasher.
When should you replace your plastic containers?
Due to the convenience they offer, plastic storage containers have become an easy solution for packed lunches and leftover storage.
Because they are lightweight and less breakable than glass, it is no wonder how Tupperware became a popular household item for many years now. However, they do not last forever. At some point, you have to let go of your trusted plastic container.
Here are a few telltale signs when it’s time to replace them.
- It’s more than 10 years old. Only in the last decade have we started to understand the potential dangers of plastics like bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates. These harmful chemicals can leach into our food from storage containers. Although manufacturers like Tupperware have removed them from their products, old containers might still be at risk. It’s better to let them go and replace them with glass containers instead.
- Lids are either missing or broken. The reason these containers are trusted to store food is because they come with airtight covers. Indeed, their lids are key to container success. Unless you have replacement lids, you’re better off throwing those containers without them. Every year, make it a point to go through your containers and match up the lids. If you find some without covers, it’s time to let them go.
- It smells funky. The thing about plastics is they are unable to get rid of smell and stains. Once you notice a weird smell that cannot be removed by disinfecting, put it in the recycling.
- It has a weird texture. Any disruption on the surface of your tupperware means that your food safety is compromised. This just increases the chances of leaching harmful toxins to your food, which is definitely not worth any risk.
Common questions about disposing old Tupperware
Can you recycle plastic storage containers?
While most plastic storage containers are technically recyclable, the process they have to go through is complex. This means you cannot just place them in the recycling bin. These hard plastics are not readily recyclable. The best thing to do is to check with your local recycling facility to make sure they accept these trash.
How do you dispose of old plastic containers?
In recycling, it is advised to keep the same types of trash together. This explains the importance of waste segregation at home. Once you are sure that your community can process the recycling for these containers, place them in a large bag before putting all of them in the recycling bin.
What type of plastic cannot be recycled?
PVC-made materials are not recyclable. The same goes with plastic products made from polystyrene. These types of plastic are known to release toxic chemicals when recycled, so they’re better off brought directly to landfills instead of risking human health.
Despite many plastic containers branding themselves reusable, there is no denying how they also come with a shelf life. They get worn over time and reach the end of durability, that we have to dispose of them. At the end of the day, it is still better to choose something more sustainable over Tupperware, if we really want to make greener choices and give our environment a better treatment.