Step-by-step guide to plastic recycling


There is now a great number of consumer products on the market, either coming in plastic bottles or being wrapped in plastic packaging.

Recycling this plastic can sometimes seem complex and difficult. However, many recycling centres and even the green bins now accept certain plastics for recycling.

Below is a step-by-step guide to recycling plastics and the various locations in the four Dublin Local Authorities where you can recycle plastic packaging.

Your step by step guide to plastic recycling
Detailed below is a step-by-step guide to the procedures involved in the recycling of plastics - either for depositing at recycling facilities or bring banks or into your green bin.

Step 1. Get familiar with the types of plastics you can recycle.
There are 7 different types of plastic that you need to be familiar with. There is a triangular symbol that is commonly found on the bottom of plastic containers and bottles. This symbol usually has a number inside the triangle which indicates what type of plastic material it is.

Step 2. Find out where you can recycle different types of plastic.
There are numerous outlets around Dublin where plastic packaging can be recycled. Click on the links below to view the locations for recycling plastic packaging in the Dublin Region. Your green bin will also accept clean and dry plastic bottles.

Step 3. A few quick and simple preparations may sometimes be required to make a particular plastic product suitable for recycling.
All plastic packaging should be free of any contamination when bringing it for recycling. This includes giving all containers, bottles, cartons, etc. a rinse out to remove contaminants. Remove any additional paper or cardboard that may be attached to the container where possible.

Step 4. Recycling products that comprise of more than one type of plastic.
A plastic composite is a plastic container that consists of more than one type of plastic. An example would be supermarket meat containers. Such a container would usually consists of up to 3 different elements -

  • The absorbent mat that the product is placed upon to absorb excess liquids from the product.
  • The clear cover sheet with the labels and information about the product - and
  • The rectangular rigid container itself.

The easiest way to handle such a product would be to break it down into its 3 separate plastic components and handle each separately as follows

  • The absorbent mat must be put in your black bin.
  • The clear cover sheet - once cleaned - can be sent for recycling. Check the category code, but this may usually be category 4 type plastic.
  • The rigid rectangular container - once cleaned - can be sent for recycling. Check the category code - but this may usually be one of a number of different categories of plastic. 

Locations for recycling plastic packaging in Dublin
Each local authority in Dublin provides recycling facilities for recycling plastic packaging. Click on the links below to find the one in your locality. You can download and print these leaflets to put on your fridge for handy reference .... and don't forget your green bin will also take plastic bottles as long as the lids are removed first -

The green bin now accepts plastic bottles. These bottles must be type 1 and type 2 plastic bottles only. (These numbers can be seen at the bottom of the plastic bottle inside the triangular symbol).
The bottles must be clean and dry before going into the green bin and the lids must be removed.