Question of the Week: Plastic Clamshells

January 29th, 2014 | Kyle Reed

bottle-isolatedTime for our Question of the Week!

The first person to respond with the correct answer will win a reusable 20 oz OSU water bottle!

Submit your answer here (“Leave a Reply,” below) or on our Facebook page. Only one post per person, please.

Question of the Week

What are three reasons why plastic clamshells are not commonly accepted as recyclable material at collection facilities? (Hint: Our Recycling Mythbusters blog  dealt with plastic recyclables this week.)


There are several reasons why plastic clamshells are not accepted in commingled recycling, including:

  • They are not one of the four shapes of recyclable containers in Corvallis and OSU, which are bottles, tubs, jugs, and jars.
  • They are very inconsistent with what kind of plastic they are made from and there isn’t a quick and easy way to sort them.
  • They have little benefit economically and environmentally; essentially, the amount of energy and resources going into recycling the clamshells is far greater than that of simply creating it anew.
  • They commonly have food contamination and it is difficult to tell whether or not the container has been cleaned or not.

Due to these facts, there is little or no market value for clamshells, and the items may be labeled as trash at collection facilities if suitable markets don’t exist.

Learn more in our most recent Recycling Mythbusters blog post.

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