Can You Recycle Takeaway Containers? Sorting Fact from Fiction

By 12th January 2024 No Comments

Can You Recycle Takeaway Containers? Sorting Fact from Fiction

Recycle Takeaway ContainersWe all know how convenient it is to get takeaway food. From pizza to sushi, Chinese to Indian – every cuisine in the world is just a few taps away on your smartphone. While the convenience is great, the environmental impact of this trend is not. The ubiquity of takeaway containers has raised a lot of questions. Can you recycle takeaway containers? Or are they destined for incineration? In this post, we aim to sort fact from fiction, and provide you with answers that can help you make an informed choice.

Recycle Takeaway Containers

Let’s start with the basics. Takeaway containers come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. The most common types are plastic, paper, and aluminum foil. Contrary to popular belief, not all takeaway containers are recyclable. For example, plastic containers that are marked with a recycling code 5, which is polypropylene, can be recycled. However, those that are marked with a recycling code 6, which is polystyrene, cannot be recycled. Similarly, paper containers that are lined with plastic or aluminum cannot be recycled. Check out this list of items that can and can’t be recycled.

Can they be recycled?

Next, let’s talk about the practicalities of recycling. In theory, yes, takeaway containers are recyclable. However, the reality is not that simple. For recycling to happen, the containers have to be clean and dry. That means no grease, sauce, or food residue should be left behind. Sadly, most takeaway containers are not clean, even if you have scraped them off with a napkin. Furthermore, takeaway containers are often contaminated with different types of plastics or paper, which make them unrecyclable. This means that a lot of takeaway containers end up in incineration, despite our best intentions.


Now, let’s look at the alternatives. If you are concerned about the environmental impact of takeaway containers, you can make a difference by choosing eco-friendly options. For example, you can opt for restaurants that use biodegradable containers made from plant-based materials, such as cornstarch or sugarcane. You can also bring your own reusable containers for takeaways, provided you have cleaned them and made sure they are free from any lingering residue. These small changes can have a big impact, and may inspire others to follow suit.

Bigger picture

Finally, let’s talk about the bigger picture. The problem of takeaway containers is not just about whether or not they can be recycled – it’s about the larger issue of waste and consumption. Every year, we generate millions of tons of waste, much of which ends up polluting our environment. To tackle this problem, we need to think beyond individual choices and look at systemic changes. Governments, businesses, and individuals all have a role to play in reducing waste and promoting sustainability. So, if you want to make a real difference, start by reducing your overall consumption, and advocating for changes in your community.


Can you recycle takeaway containers? The answer is not a simple yes or no. To make a real impact on the environment, we need to go beyond the question of recyclability, and focus on reducing waste and consumption. While it’s important to make informed choices about recycling and eco-friendly options, we also need to advocate for systemic changes that can make a real difference. So, the next time you order takeaway, remember the bigger picture – and think about the choices you can make to promote a more sustainable future.