Double the Amount of Plastic You Recycle

RichieMost of us (I hope) recycle all the plastic bottles we use. But do you also recycle the many other small plastic containers you use daily, or do you just throw them away?

Cheese and other dairy containers, small salads, yogurts and the occasional hummus container used to make up a large part of my garbage… Turns out, they can all be recycled just as well as the PET bottles I’ve been collecting for recycling. The reason the recycling companies don’t advertise this fact is a sound one. Throwing these containers in the recycling bin (at home or on the street) and having them stay there for days, or sometimes weeks, can be a serious sanitary hazard and health risk. On the other hand, asking the public to rinse all containers before throwing them is a huge waste of water.

If you have a healthy active dog, cat or another pet that is willing to help, you can increase the amount of plastic you recycle instantly.


  • 1 or more pets
  • 1 or more plastic containers


  • Place plastic container in front of pet.
  • Watch as your pet helps the recycling effort by making sure that plastic container is so clean, it shines.
  • Optional: Grab a camera and take some photos/video. You won’t be disappointed.
  • Collect plastic containers and place in recycle bin.

As always, use your own discretion when deciding what your pet can and should eat. Chocolate puddings are of course out of the question, but so are foods that are too sugary, spicy or contain artificial sweeteners. Many foods are usually fine, especially considering the relatively minuscule portion size your pet gets from just cleaning the container.

If your pet is overweight or obese, this tip is not for you! Obese and overweight pets constitute an estimated 48% of all pets in the USA, I encourage you to learn more about the risks, which include Osteoarthritis, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and even cancer. Even if your pet is not overweight, you should spend at least a couple of minutes online learning about the potential risks of an overweight pet.

I am still in negotiations with my dog regarding his offer to help make our compost heap smaller… he’s such a helpful character.

Final note: What materials are actually recycled changes from country to country and from town to town. Do a web search for your local recycling rules and see what is actually accepted. Filling the recycling bin with stuff that isn’t actually recycled just lowers the efficiency of the recycling center.

This guest post was written by Tal Ater the creator of Green Any Site

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8 thoughts on “Double the Amount of Plastic You Recycle”

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  2. JTR says:

    There are hardly any recycling facilities within reach anywhere.

  3. Yelena says:

    I live in Israel and myself also do as other ppl that I use water that has been already used for my washing up. However, I wonder what happens in Israel with the plastic bag over excessive usage is an absolute mistery for me. I really would like to start a campaign against that. People just don’t realise here that it is ending up on landfills and it is absolutely unnecessary to use the amount that they are given for free. I would also be curious if there is now companies that use biogradable plastic for their products. It is still not environment friendly but maybe a better solution than fossil based oil. As for now, we also decided to buy such as sour cream or cheese with taking back our on boxes/jars and buy for weight these products as in Israel there are shops that sells these for weight instead pre-packed.

  4. @Michele

    The last time I checked the Aviv Plastic website (the company that collects the plastics) it said that they accept plastics with the following codes: 1, 2, 4, and 5.

    So if a container has one of these numbers on it, you can recycle it.

  5. Colin Waters says:

    One of the things that I do with my plastic containers to prep them for recycling is setting them aside in somewhere in the house and when i’m washing dishes I use the discarded water to rinse them out.

    I actually started recycling these containers earlier this year after I moved back to Denver. The city’s recycling program sends hand outs and labels what can be recycled on them, as well as the bins themselves. Another thing I love about the program is that you can put all the recycling in one bin…therefore saving an hassle with sorting.

  6. Michele says:

    Do the recycling companies in Israel take these small containers?

  7. Maskil says:

    I recall reading somewhere that the water required to rinse or wash a plastic container for recycling is still much less than what’s required to produce the container from scratch.

    What we do (OK, mainly my wife) is to use the hot water and detergent left over from washing dishes in order to clean out these containers. Not just plastic, but also glass jars or bottles, and steel or aluminium food and beverage cans.

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