I am an avid recycler and try to toss everything possible into the recycle bins. I fear, however, that I may inadvertently placed some non-recyclable items in from time-to-time because the acceptable items aren’t always clear. For instance, McDonald’s coffee cups: the bottom of the cup has a 6 in the triangle, but there is a “PS” just outside of the triangle — does this mean they are a styrofoam material?
I assumed these cups were recyclable because they are 6s, but now I am not so sure. I use Republic recycling services and their literature states they do not accept styrofoam. Does this mean even styrofoam that is marked with a number inside a triangle — a la the McDonald’s coffee cup that appears to be a coated styrofoam-type material?
Any clarification you can provide is greatly appreciated!
Sometimes it seems like recycling rules are about as clear as a vanilla latte. In this case, you’re right to wonder. In fact, disposable foam coffee cups are not recyclable, despite the recycle symbol on the bottom.
My rule of thumb is that foam food and beverage containers are a no-go in the recycling bin. This also includes disposable plates, meat trays, egg cartons and carry-out containers.
It’s not really my place to offer health advice, but you may want to reconsider your hot beverage of choice – or at least its delivery method. Polystyrene (a.k.a. #6 PS) is a known carcinogen and a neurotoxin, especially when heated. And most coffee lids are also made with the same plastic. A paper to-go cup, sans lid, is better for your heath, but a reusable coffee mug is better for your health and the environment.