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Confused about what you can stick in that single-stream recycling bin, Philly? We made a handy guide of do’s & don’ts for you based on the Philadelphia Streets Department guidelines.

This guide doesn’t cover every consumer product but should give you an idea. We also cover a lot of the harder recycling questions in our Where Can I Wednesday column.) Find out where to get a FREE recycling bin in Philadelphia.

Download a FREE Printable Philadelphia Recycling Guide here: 

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Philly Single Stream Recycling Guide 2017

Created by Samantha Wittchen, iSpring

Philadelphia Recycling Do’s:


  • Orange juice cartons
  • Milk cartons
  • Juice boxes
  • Soup boxes
  • Ice cream cartons
  • Egg Cartons


  • Pie tins
  • tin and aluminum cans
  • empty aerosol cans
  • empty paint cans


  • Jars and bottles

Mixed Paper:

  • Newspaper
  • Magazines
  • Mail (junk and personal) & Flyers
  • Phone books
  • ALL books (including hardback books
  • Food boxes (remove plastic liner)
  • Computer paper
  • Wrapping paper (no plastic wrap)
  • Soda and beer cartons (no food-soiled paper, please!)

Plastic Containers:

The majority of your household Plastic Containers are recyclable in your single-stream curbside recycling bin:

#1 – PET (Polyethylene)Soda and water bottles, condiment and peanut butter jars, etc.

#2 – HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)Milk, water and juice jugs, detergents, shampoo bottles, dairy product containers, flower pots, some household cleaners

#3 – PVC – (Polyvinyl Chloride)Rigid plastic containers and juice bottles, Charcoal lighter, mineral water, cooking oil bottles, etc.

#4 – LDPE – (Low Density Polyethylene)Plastic tubs and lids from butter, margarine or similar products, Fabric softener bottles, lotion & sunscreen containers, etc

#5 – PP (Polypropylene)Yogurt containers and deli trays

#6 – PS (Polystyrene)Plastic cups, plates and to-go containers (clear, rigid #6 only, NOT Styrofoam* products)

#7 – (Other plastic)Many mixed plastic containers and plastic products like ketchup squeeze bottles, syrup bottles, microwave containers

You can also download the Plastics Recycling Fact Sheet for more info.


  • Empty and flattened

Philadelphia Recycling Don’ts:


  • Aluminum foil, pots & pans, paper clips


  • Light bulbs, window glass

Mixed Paper:

  • Tissues, paper towels, napkins, wax-coated cups or containers, food-soiled paper, file folders


  • Plastic bags, PVC pipe, packing inserts or “peanuts”, medical plastics, including IV tubing, sharps, and syringes. Please refer to proper disposal guidelines from your medical service providers.


  • Styrofoam*, chemicals, rubber, wood, and ceramic or porcelain plates or cups containers

*Note: Styrofoam CAN be recycled if you take it to the Streets Department Northeast Philadelphia Drop-Off Center at State Road & Ashburner Street, Philadelphia PA.

Green Philly

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