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VERIFY: Is black plastic recyclable?

Some people may believe that only clear or white plastics can be recycled.

AUSTIN, Texas — A viewer named Suzanne reached out to us with a recycling-related question.

She heard her plastic disposable coffee cup lid wasn't recyclable and, when she googled it, she said articles stated that white lids can be recycled but black lids cannot.

Well, the rules of recycling are a little murky sometimes and we figured it was a good time to check in on the process.

When we did a quick Google search ourselves, we found that Suzanne was right: the articles are there making those claims. They stated that black plastic is too difficult to reuse and machines won't sort out the dark colors.

Our sources for this verify are Austin Resource Recovery and Balcones Resources. So, let's break down what they had to say.

Recycling centers vary how they sort recyclables, and the technology they use to do it can be different. However, it's pretty across-the-board about what materials a center accepts.

When it comes to hard plastic, both sources said it doesn't matter the color and it can be recycled here. 


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The difference is white or clear plastic can be re-made into any color, so it's more sought after. Dark plastic or bright colors can only be made into the same color or something darker, so they go to different commodity markets.

While we can't speak for every recycling center in the country, we can verify the claim that black plastic isn't recyclable is false here in Austin.

Have something you want us to verify? Reach out to us on KVUE.com or use the hashtag #Verify on social media.


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