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Recycling And Your Clamshell Packaging

Clamshell packaging is very common in many industries. A clamshell container is a hinged container that seals tightly, and can be found holding a variety of contents, from nails to fresh fruit. If you have been to a fast food restaurant that serves it’s burgers in a small cardboard box that flips open, you have utilized a clamshell container. To-go boxes are also considered to be clamshell. They flip open on a hinge like a clamshell. Produce, like berries and other types of fruit, will often come in plastic clamshell containers. If you look around you, you will likely see the use of these containers multiple places in your life.

The Recycling Problem

Clamshell packaging is often made out of a type of plastic. The type of plastic it is made out of can be determined by looking at the bottom of the package, where there should be number, similar to what you might find on any other plastic item.

Many other items made out of plastic, such as bottles, are consistent in the type of plastic that is used to make them, but clamshell containers are inconsistent in the type of material they are made out of. This makes them hard to sort and separate when they are recycled. They are typically considered non-bottle rigid plastic containers.

Over the last ten years recycling these types of plastics has grown in leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, it is still likely that if you put your plastic clamshell containers on the curb in your recycling bin, they could be simply considered trash at the recycling center they end up at. Many people don’t consider this, and just assume that since the item is plastic, it can be recycled.

The Recycling Solution

Recycling has come a long a way in the past decade. Due to this, more and more markets are finding a way to recycle these plastic clamshell containers. The first thing you should do is check with your recycling program to see what types of plastics they accept. Make a list and put it on your refrigerator, so when you finish off that container of strawberries you can easily look for the type of plastic and put it in the appropriate place. 

If your recycling program does not accept these containers, check out other recycling programs near you. Many programs have started to take these, and there could be a center near you that will accept them.

If your mission is hopeless, and there is no location near you that will accept your plastic clamshell packaging, get creative and find a way to reuse them! One way to reuse one of these containers is to grow seedlings in them. You can use them for the storage of small items or as craft organizers. There are also many projects you can do with children using clamshell packaging. If you don’t have children of your own, check with a local school or day care to see if they could use them for projects. 

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