Recycling the new school yogurt container
In a hurry?… Post Summary:
New yogurt containers use a paper cardboard shell
The cardboard shell provides support for a container that uses less plastic
How to recycle the new container:
- Remove the outside and recycle the label where you normally recycle papers
- Check the ♻ symbol for a the number: #5 plastics might need to taken to a separate recycling center depending on where you live (resource included at end of post)
Same great taste… new package!
Some yogurt manufacturers have adapted a new style of packaging that is a bit more eco-friendly and makes recycling easier. The tear-off label allows you to separate the paper label of a yogurt cup from the plastic to make recycling easier.
Another small upside to this is that yogurt containers are produced with less plastic than the traditional containers. The cardboardesque label’s rigidity has replaced the need for thicker plastic to maintain the container’s composure. It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction and the accumulative impact is significant.
Have you seen this?
How to recycle the new yogurt container
Recycling the paper label is nbd – just remove the label and place it in your recycle bin with the rest of the papers.
Recycling the plastic part isn’t as easy – Most plastic yogurt containers are made of #5 polypropylene plastic which isn’t always accepted in your standard recycling center. Check for the number here:
Is the new container more sustainable?
Yes – The new yogurt container makes recycling easier and more accessible to more people. Most curbside recycling in the US doesn’t accept #5 plastics and most people unknowingly put their #5 plastic yogurt containers in the recycle where they are eventually diverted to a landfill. The paper is recyclable and its design gives the container more rigidity so it doesn’t need as much plastic. This new method is more eco-friendly for two reasons:
- The paper allows you to recycle part of the container easily even if your local recycling center or curbside service doesn’t accept #5 plastics.
- The new container design uses less plastic.
This video shows you the difference between the new and standard yogurt containers. The new container is much thinner and lighter; I’d guess it reduces the plastic content by 50% or more.
If you eat yogurt a few times a week like I do, you can imagine how fast the cups add up. Over time this new container can save a tremendous amount of plastic and it’s a step in the right direction. If consumer show support for this “more eco-friendly” version, producers will continue to innovate to meet demand.
Your Action Items:
- If you’re buying yogurt in bulk – I wouldn’t change your habits (especially if you are recycling the larger containers at a center that accepts #5 recyclables or you’re upcycling them).
- If you buy individual yogurts – Look for this new container where you can.
- Not sure about #5 plastics? – See below for a place to recycle #5 plastics near you.
Recycling #5 Plastics
Use the Recyling 911 Tool to see if your curbside pickup accepts #5 plastics and if not, where you can take them. Just update your zip code and select search to find out!
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