Today’s Solutions: April 19, 2024

Do you wish to conquer the world of takeaway container recycling? Let’s dive into the deceptively complex world of packaging—sustainable and otherwise— armed with knowledge to ensure that we dispose of them in the best way possible.

Chinese food containers

Consider the lovely folded paperboard boxes that are the trademark of Chinese food takeout. While its plastic coating may make recycling difficult, don’t worry! Some communities accept these containers for recycling if they are washed and clean of food waste. Look into your local recycling regulations and help these containers find new uses.

Plastic takeout containers

These containers, made of low-density polyethylene or polypropylene, can be melted down and molded into different shapes. Remember to give them a quick washing and cleaning before they embark on their recycling adventure.

Styrofoam containers and cups

Oh, those perplexing foam containers! While they excel at insulating, their environmental impact has prompted concerns. But never fear! Specialty recyclers who accept expanded polystyrene (EPS) do exist. You can use web tools to find recyclers near you and work together to solve this problem.

Paper containers and wrappers

Paper containers and wrappers that have not been contaminated by grease or food have a particular place in the hearts of recycling aficionados. Most municipal recycling programs accept them, so let us celebrate their sheer potential as we toss them into the bin, knowing they’ll be given a second chance.

Cardboard food containers

Although cardboard food containers are certainly recyclable, they have a flaw: grease and food waste. We can overcome this obstacle by keeping these containers clean and dry. By doing so, we protect the sorting process and the integrity of recycling gear, guaranteeing that our cardboard containers will have another life.

Waxed paper cups

The waxy coating inside a paper cup is an ingenious way to keep your drink from tasting like paper, but it complicates recycling. In these cases, keep an eye out for PLA biodegradable cups, or better yet, bring your own reusable cup to add an eco-friendly touch to your daily coffee routine.

Ice cream cartons

The plastic polyethylene liner of ice cream cartons presents a particular recycling difficulty. Fortunately, some communities offer recycling programs that take them. Check with your city to see whether you may repurpose these cartons. Remember that an empty and clean container ensures a more pleasant recycling experience for everyone.

Juice boxes

Juice boxes look like ordinary cardboard, but they are actually a smart blend of paper, polyethylene plastic, and aluminum. It may appear difficult to recycle them, but don’t worry! TerraCycle and other specialized recyclers may hold the key to a solution.

Foil containers

Aluminum foil food containers offer an excellent recycling opportunity. Give them a quick rinse and remove any excess food waste, and they’ll fit into almost any curbside recycling program.

Can takeout containers be composted?

Food packaging frequently creates unique issues, but composting offers a sustainable answer. Let’s embrace the compost pile when it comes to paper or cardboard takeout containers. Look for compostable labels or the “PLA” symbol, and bid these containers farewell as they begin their trip to enrich the planet.



We are highlighting this piece as part of our annual “Best Of” roundup of articles published at The Optimist Daily this year. Today’s focus is on the top Environment solutions of 2023.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

3 ways to get the most benefits out of your daily walk

During the pandemic, walking has become many people's new workout? With fitness facilities closed, people got a little more creative with how to stay ...

Read More

These ultra-low-cost batteries use CO2 to store renewable energy

While the price for lithium-ion batteries has dropped significantly in recent years, the technology is still a tad too expensive to be the best ...

Read More

16 fun ways to celebrate Earth Day this year

Tomorrow, April 22nd, you can honor Earth Day by learning about your ecosystem and contributing to its health. Here are 16 great activities you ...

Read More

Count, roll, and win! Why board games are experiencing a well-deserved revival 

Board games are making a successful comeback in this age of screens and virtual realities. Nostalgia fans are ecstatic about the opportunity to recreate ...

Read More