General How2Recycle Questions


  • How do we define recyclability?

    The How2Recycle label is built on nationally harmonized data. We determine recyclability based on applicable law, access to collection, technical recyclability, and end markets. Additionally, we closely monitor legislation and guidance in the US and Canada, including the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Green Guides and Competition Bureau Canada to avoid consumer deception and increase the reliability of recyclability claims.

  • If I don’t know if I can recycle something, is it better to put it in the recycling bin and hope for the best?

    If it is unclear whether or not a package is recyclable, it is best to toss it in the trash to avoid the risk of contaminating the recycling stream.

  • Why do some recycling facilities require removing the caps off bottles, and others request they remain on?

    Putting the cap back on the bottle ensures the cap gets recycled. It’s too small to flow through a recycling facility on its own. However, in some instances where the cap isn’t recyclable due to the material it is made of, our label will tell you to ‘Discard Cap.’ We closely work with the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), and they represent more than 90% of plastic recyclers in the US. You can read more about APR’s recommendation here.

  • I have a package without the How2Recycle label; how do I recycle it?

    Unfortunately, we are unable to provide guidance on packages that do not contain a How2Recycle label, as we do not have all of the package specifications to determine the appropriate recyclability designation.

    Our consumers are our biggest advocates! If you see a brand without the How2Recycle label, reach out to them and let them know this program is important to you.

  • Why aren’t Resin Identification Codes (RICs) required on all plastics?

    RICs were created in the 80s for industry workers to identify different plastics. They were never intended to be consumer-facing recycle symbols. RICs don’t tell the entire story of a package’s recyclability. For instance, the RIC may specify what number of plastic a container is, but other parts of the container may not be recyclable, causing contamination to facilities.

    Some communities do sort by “number,” but many communities specify recyclables by package type, like “bottle” or “jug.” The culture and language of recycling can be very different from town to town!

    Our technical assessments consider every part of a package before assigning it a How2Recycle label- to provide you with instructions for each component.

How2Compost: US Only

The How2Recycle Labels

  • Why is a standardized labeling system important?

    The How2Recycle program provides the disposal instructions consumers need in one concise label. Transparency from brands is crucial for consumers to understand their packages and have more success disposing of them properly.

  • Why do you put a label on items that are Not Yet Recyclable?

    It’s just as important to communicate with consumers what isn’t recyclable. The Not Yet Recyclable label keeps packages that can’t be recycled out of the recycling stream, reducing contamination and improving the quality of recycled material. If you find a Not Yet Recyclable label on a package, this item belongs in the trash.


  • Is this program available in Canada?

    Yes, the How2Recycle program is available in Canada. Please explore our site to learn about the differences in our program between the US and Canada.

  • Why can’t I find a Store Drop-off location in Canada?

    Store Drop-off for PE packages is only available in the US. Packages assigned the Store Drop-off label in the US are eligible for Widely Recyclable designations in Canada. In this case, place these packages in a curbside or drop-off bin.