Plastic #1 (PET) Put in Recycling Cart/Bin If a container once held food, empty and scrape the container as well as you can before recycling it. Containers with food and liquids can contaminate whole batches of recycling and are often sent to a landfill. If the container has a plastic lid or cap, it’s okay to recycle the caps and lids as long as they are still attached to their original plastic containers. Not Safe to Reuse PET plastic has a porous structure that absorbs bacteria over time and becomes more porous with each use. Because germs can reside inside the plastic, you can’t always wash them away. Not Infinitely Recyclable Plastic isn’t infinitely recyclable in the same way that glass and metal are. Its quality declines each time it’s recycled, so new plastic needs to be added in order to keep recycling it. Ways to Reduce Opt for Reusable Containers Most plastic is made directly from oil and natural gas, not recycled plastic. When plastic does get recycled, it is often into products that are no longer recyclable. Metal and glass, which are durable and can be recycled infinitely, are always a better container choice. Drink Filtered Tap Water Disposable water bottles are made of plastic #1 and can be avoided by drinking filtered tap water instead. Most bottled water comes from the tap in the first place, and taste tests in cities such as New York have favored tap over bottled water. Did You Know? Bottled Water: Is It the Same as Tap? Most bottled water is simply filtered tap water, and it can cost more than twice as much as what’s available from the tap. Largest Plastic Bottle Recycling Plant The Atlantic details the violent afterlife of plastic bottles. Plastic from these bottles lives as long as 500 years after you toss them. Read more about what happens to the bottles during that time, and why not enough bottles are making it into the recycling system at all.