Is Number 2 Plastic Recyclable?

With plastic waste becoming an increasingly pressing environmental issue, many consumers want to know if the plastic items they use every day can be recycled. One common question is whether number 2 plastic, the resin code for high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics, is recyclable.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, number 2 plastic is widely recyclable.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about recycling number 2 plastics, including what types of products it’s used for, how it’s recycled, where you can recycle it, and tips for proper recycling.

What Products Are Made from Number 2 Plastic?

Plastic Milk Jugs

One of the most common products made from number 2 plastic is plastic milk jugs. These jugs are used to store and transport milk and other dairy products. Number 2 plastic, also known as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), is chosen for milk jugs because it is strong, durable, and resistant to impact.

Detergent and Shampoo Bottles

Another popular use for number 2 plastic is in the production of detergent and shampoo bottles. HDPE’s chemical resistance makes it ideal for storing household cleaning products and personal care items. The sturdy nature of HDPE also ensures that these bottles can withstand the rigors of transportation and use.

Juice and Water Containers

Number 2 plastic is also commonly used in the manufacturing of juice and water containers. These containers need to be able to hold liquid without leaking or breaking, and HDPE provides the necessary strength and durability. It is important to note that not all juice and water containers are made from number 2 plastic, so be sure to check the recycling symbol on the packaging.

Yogurt Cups

Yogurt cups are another product that is often made from number 2 plastic. HDPE is an excellent choice for yogurt cups because it is resistant to moisture and can help protect the contents from spoiling. Additionally, HDPE’s ability to be easily molded allows for the creation of various cup sizes and shapes.

Toys and Outdoor Furniture

Number 2 plastic is also used in the production of toys and outdoor furniture. HDPE’s strength and resistance to weather make it an excellent choice for these applications. It can withstand exposure to sunlight, rain, and other environmental factors without deteriorating.

How Is Number 2 Plastic Recycled?

Number 2 plastic, also known as high-density polyethylene (HDPE), is one of the most commonly recycled plastics. It is used in a wide range of products such as bottles, containers, and even pipes. Recycling number 2 plastic is not only environmentally friendly but also helps in conserving resources and reducing waste. Let’s take a closer look at the recycling process for number 2 plastic.


The first step in recycling number 2 plastic is the collection of the waste. This can be done through curbside recycling programs, drop-off centers, or specialized recycling facilities. It is crucial to separate number 2 plastic from other types of plastics to ensure efficient recycling.

Sorting and Processing

Once the number 2 plastic is collected, it undergoes a sorting and processing phase. The plastic is sorted based on its type and color. This step is important as different types and colors of plastic may have different recycling processes. After sorting, the plastic is cleaned and shredded into small pieces for further processing.


After the plastic is shredded, it goes through a process called pelletizing. In this step, the plastic pieces are melted and formed into small pellets. These pellets are easier to transport and store. They can be used as raw material in the manufacturing of new plastic products.


The final step in recycling number 2 plastic is remanufacturing. The pellets produced in the previous step are used as feedstock for manufacturing new products. These products can range from new bottles and containers to plastic lumber and even playground equipment. By using recycled number 2 plastic, we can reduce the demand for virgin plastic and lessen the environmental impact of plastic production.

It’s worth mentioning that not all number 2 plastic can be recycled. Some items, such as plastic bags and film, may not be accepted in regular recycling programs. However, many grocery stores have drop-off locations specifically for these types of plastic. So, be sure to check with your local recycling facilities or visit websites like for more information on recycling plastic bags and films.

Recycling number 2 plastic is a great way to contribute to a more sustainable future. By understanding the recycling process and properly disposing of number 2 plastic, we can all play a part in reducing waste and protecting the environment.

Where Can You Recycle Number 2 Plastic?

If you’re wondering about the recyclability of number 2 plastic, also known as HDPE (high-density polyethylene), you’ll be happy to know that it can be recycled. This type of plastic is commonly used for items such as milk jugs, shampoo bottles, and laundry detergent containers. Recycling number 2 plastic not only helps reduce waste but also conserves resources and energy.

Curbside Recycling Programs

One of the most convenient ways to recycle number 2 plastic is through curbside recycling programs. Many cities and municipalities offer curbside pickup for recyclable materials, including HDPE plastic. Simply separate your number 2 plastic items from other recyclables, place them in the designated recycling bin, and leave it out on your designated recycling day. Check with your local waste management or recycling department to see if they accept number 2 plastic.

Grocery Stores

Another option for recycling number 2 plastic is through grocery stores. Some larger grocery chains have recycling bins specifically for plastic bags and other types of plastic packaging. Next time you’re at the grocery store, look for these bins near the entrance or in the customer service area. Remember to remove any non-recyclable items or materials from the plastic before recycling it.

Big Box Stores

Many big box stores and retail chains also have recycling programs in place for number 2 plastic. These stores often have designated recycling bins located near the entrance or in the parking lot. They accept not only plastic bags but also other types of number 2 plastic packaging. Next time you’re shopping at a big box store, take a moment to locate their recycling bins and do your part in recycling number 2 plastic.

Specialty Recycling Events and Drop-off Locations

For those who want to go the extra mile in recycling number 2 plastic, specialty recycling events and drop-off locations are worth considering. These events are often organized by local communities or environmental organizations and provide a convenient way to recycle items that might not be accepted in curbside programs or at grocery and big box stores. Check your local community calendar or visit websites like to find out about upcoming recycling events or drop-off locations near you.

Remember, recycling number 2 plastic is an important step in reducing waste and preserving our environment. By taking advantage of the various recycling options available, you can make a positive impact and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Tips for Proper Recycling

Recycling is an important part of reducing waste and conserving resources. When it comes to recycling plastics, it’s crucial to understand the guidelines and best practices for different types of plastic. In this article, we will discuss some useful tips for properly recycling number 2 plastic.

Rinse Containers

Before throwing your number 2 plastic containers into the recycling bin, make sure to rinse them out thoroughly. This helps to remove any food residue or contaminants, ensuring that the recycling process is more effective. It also helps to prevent odors and keeps your recycling area clean and free from pests.

Remove Caps and Lids

When recycling number 2 plastic containers, it’s important to remove any caps or lids that may be attached. These caps are often made from a different type of plastic and can cause issues during the recycling process. By removing them, you can ensure that the number 2 plastic is properly sorted and recycled.

Avoid Bagging Recyclables

While it may be convenient to bag your recyclables, it’s best to avoid doing so when it comes to number 2 plastic. Bags can get tangled in the recycling machinery, causing delays and potentially damaging the equipment. Instead, place your number 2 plastic directly into the recycling bin or use a reusable container.

Check Local Guidelines

Recycling guidelines can vary depending on your location, so it’s important to check the specific guidelines provided by your local recycling facility. Some facilities may accept all types of number 2 plastics, while others may only accept certain items. By familiarizing yourself with the local guidelines, you can ensure that your number 2 plastic is being properly recycled.

Remember, proper recycling practices can make a significant difference in reducing waste and protecting the environment. By following these tips for recycling number 2 plastic, you can contribute to a more sustainable future.


In summary, number 2 plastic is widely accepted by recycling programs across North America. By properly cleaning and sorting your plastics, you can divert HDPE containers from landfills and give them new life. Recycling number 2 plastics is one small but meaningful way we can all contribute to reducing plastic waste and moving towards a circular economy.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top