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Plastics Explained

MSU's plastics recycling changed in September 2021. Find more info on our blog. Also, tune in for the Campus Recycling 101 SSRC Town Hall on Thurs. 9/23 at 11 a.m. Register to receive the link to attend via Zoom.

Plastic you can recycle on campus

Items shaped like a bottle or tub. There's no need to look for the number on the item you want to recycle, just make sure it's a bottle or a tub.

What’s a bottle or tub?


    • The neck of the container is smaller than the body of the container and accepts screw-type or snap on cap closures.
    • Usually contains liquids.
    • Examples: water bottles, milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles


    • A tub is a container that is circular, oblong, or square.
    • It may have an unattached snap-on lid or cover.
    • Examples: butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt containers.

Clamshells are NOT tubs

Plastic containers with a hinged top (called clamshells) that are used for takeout, prepackaged fresh fruits or vegetables, and other foods are NOT considered tubs. 

Plastic you can’t recycle on campus

  • Plastic cutlery
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic containers with a hinged top (called clamshells)
  • Plastic to-go cups (including Starbucks)
  • Plastic straws
  • Pipets/pipet tip boxes
  • Plastic toys