Takeout Containers (Plastic)


Athens recycles clear plastic #1(Polyethylene or PET) and #5 (Polypropylene or PP) takeout containers.

Takeout containers made from #6 (Polystyrene or PS) are not a desirable product for recyclers. Black plastic (made from any resin type) is also hard to sort and may not get recycled.

Prep for Recycling

  • Empty all contents from clamshells
  • Food and other items such as condiment packages and utensils are considered contaminants – please keep them out of the recycling.

No Bioplastics: NEVER place “compostable” plastics, even those marked as PLA, in the recycling or organics container. These items should be placed in the trash due to the challenges they currently pose at recycling and composting facilities. Find out more about bioplastics.

Athens Services accepts in their recycling most #1-7 plastics. Some plastics are highly recyclable, including #1 bottles and clamshells, and #2 and #5 containers. Other plastics might be acceptable in the recycling containers, but may not have a market to be recycled.

To identify your products’ plastic type, look for the resin number inside the chasing arrows, usually located on the bottom of the item. The recycling symbol does not indicate if the product is recyclable or not.


Do Not Reuse

Plastic takeout containers are made up of chemicals that may leach into your food if you use them more than once.

Ways to Reduce


Bring Your Own To-Go Container

When dining out, bring a reusable to-go container so that you can bring leftovers home sustainably.

Reusable Packaging For Businesses

Check out Upstream’s catalog of reusable packaging and unpackaging innovators that provide ways for consumers to obtain products, mostly food and beverages, in returnable, reusable, or refillable packaging – or they deliver products to consumers unpackaged altogether.

Did You Know?

The Preferred Takeout Container

Out of all the types of takeout containers — aluminum, cardboard, wax-lined paperboard, plastic and foam — aluminum is the easiest for recycling plants to recycle, while foam is the most difficult.