How Recyclable Is Abs Plastic?

Plastics play an important role in our everyday lives, but not all plastics are created equal when it comes to recyclability. If you’re wondering about one type in particular – acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) – and how recyclable it is, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: ABS plastic is technically recyclable, but not commonly accepted by curbside recycling programs. It requires specialized equipment to recycle.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about ABS plastic recycling, including how it’s recycled, challenges with recycling it, and tips for responsible disposal.

What is ABS Plastic?

ABS plastic, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, is a versatile thermoplastic polymer that is commonly used in various industries. It is a durable and lightweight material with excellent impact resistance, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Definition and uses

ABS plastic is a copolymer made up of three different monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. Each monomer contributes to the unique properties of ABS plastic. Acrylonitrile provides chemical resistance and heat stability, butadiene enhances impact resistance, and styrene gives the plastic its rigidity and surface hardness.

ABS plastic is widely used in the automotive industry for interior and exterior parts such as bumpers, dashboards, and trim. Its high impact resistance makes it suitable for these applications, as it can withstand collisions and harsh weather conditions. ABS plastic is also commonly used in consumer electronics, appliances, toys, and even in the construction industry for pipes and fittings.

ABS plastic identification codes

To identify ABS plastic, look for the recycling symbol with the number “7” inside it. ABS plastic is classified under recycling code number 7, along with other plastics that do not fall into the categories of numbers 1 to 6. This identification code helps recycling facilities separate and process different types of plastics efficiently.

It’s important to note that not all plastic products made from ABS plastic will have a recycling code or symbol. In such cases, it is advisable to check with the manufacturer or seek guidance from local recycling centers on how to properly dispose of the product.

When it comes to recycling ABS plastic, it is worth mentioning that while it is technically recyclable, the process can be more challenging compared to other plastics. ABS plastic has a higher melting point, which requires specialized recycling facilities and processes to effectively recycle it. Therefore, not all recycling centers may be equipped to handle ABS plastic. However, efforts are being made to improve the recycling infrastructure for ABS plastic to reduce its environmental impact.

For more information on ABS plastic and its recyclability, you can visit or

Is ABS Plastic Recyclable?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a common thermoplastic polymer that is widely used in various industries due to its excellent combination of strength, durability, and heat resistance. When it comes to recyclability, ABS is technically recyclable, but there are certain challenges associated with its recycling process.

ABS is technically recyclable

ABS plastic can be recycled and turned into new products, but it is important to note that not all recycling facilities accept ABS plastic. The recyclability of ABS depends on the availability of appropriate recycling facilities in your area. Therefore, it is crucial to check with your local recycling center to determine if they accept ABS plastic.

ABS recycling challenges

One of the main challenges in recycling ABS plastic is its composition. ABS is a complex polymer that consists of three different monomers: acrylonitrile, butadiene, and styrene. These three components can have different melt temperatures and properties, making it difficult to achieve a consistent and high-quality recycled ABS material.

Furthermore, ABS plastic often contains additives, such as flame retardants and colorants, which can complicate the recycling process. These additives need to be separated and removed from the plastic before it can be recycled effectively.

ABS recycling process and equipment

The recycling process for ABS plastic involves several steps. First, the ABS plastic waste is collected and sorted based on its color and additives. Then, it is shredded into small pieces to increase its surface area and facilitate the melting process.

Next, the shredded ABS plastic is melted and extruded into pellets or granules, which can be used as raw material for manufacturing new ABS products. The quality of the recycled ABS material can vary depending on the efficiency of the recycling process and the purity of the collected ABS waste.

Specialized recycling equipment, such as shredders, extruders, and pelletizers, are used in the ABS recycling process. These machines are designed to handle the specific challenges of recycling ABS plastic and ensure the production of high-quality recycled ABS material.

It is worth mentioning that there are ongoing research and development efforts to improve the recyclability of ABS plastic and overcome the challenges associated with its recycling process. Innovations in recycling technologies and the development of more efficient recycling equipment can contribute to increasing the recyclability of ABS plastic in the future.

Tips for Recycling ABS Responsibly

Check if your local program accepts ABS

When it comes to recycling ABS plastic, it’s important to first check if your local recycling program accepts this type of plastic. Not all recycling facilities are equipped to process ABS, so it’s essential to do your due diligence. You can easily find this information by visiting your city or town’s official website or contacting your local waste management department. By ensuring that ABS is accepted, you can play your part in reducing plastic waste and promoting a more sustainable future.

Find specialty recyclers for ABS

If your local recycling program does not accept ABS plastic, don’t be disheartened! There are specialty recyclers that specifically deal with this type of plastic. These recyclers have the necessary equipment and expertise to properly handle and process ABS. With a quick internet search or a call to your local waste management department, you can find nearby specialty recyclers who will gladly accept your ABS plastic. By opting for specialty recyclers, you can ensure that your ABS plastic is being recycled responsibly and not ending up in landfills or incinerators.

Safely dispose if recycling isn’t available

If recycling options for ABS plastic are not available in your area, it’s important to remember that responsible disposal is still crucial. While ABS plastic is not biodegradable, there are still steps you can take to minimize its impact on the environment. One option is to reach out to plastic manufacturers or distributors who may have take-back programs in place. They can provide guidance on how to properly dispose of ABS plastic. Additionally, you can consider repurposing ABS plastic for other uses or donating it to schools or makerspaces. By exploring alternative options, you can ensure that ABS plastic doesn’t end up polluting our planet.

Remember, recycling ABS plastic is just one step towards a more sustainable future. Reducing our overall plastic consumption, reusing items, and opting for eco-friendly alternatives are equally important. By being conscious of our plastic usage and taking responsible actions, we can make a significant difference in preserving our environment for future generations.


ABS plastic has become a popular material for consumer products and electronics equipment due to its durability and strength. While it can technically be recycled, ABS recycling comes with challenges due to equipment requirements and limited curbside acceptance.

The good news is that opportunities exist to recycle ABS responsibly, whether through specialty recyclers or even upsizing curbside programs. With extra care taken to properly handle ABS, we can keep this useful plastic out of landfills and in circulation.

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