Can You Recycle Tupperware

Can You Recycle Tupperware? (Both Branded and Non-branded)

Determining whether Tupperware can be recycled can be a bit difficult. This is because you have both the brand Tupperware and the fact that Tupperware is often used as a generic name for any plastic container used to store food.

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All Tupperware branded products can be recycled. Off-brand plastic and rubber food storage containers are recyclable if they have a recycle symbol with a 1 or 2. A recycle symbol of 4 and 5 can be recycled in many areas but not all. All other recycle symbols are not normally recyclable.

Can Tupperware-Branded Containers Be Recycled?

All Tupperware products over the last few years can be recycled. Although, if you have some older Tupperware, you will want to check the logo on it. If the recycling symbol has either a 1 or a 2 on it, then you are ‘good to go’. If the number is anything else…then check the next section.

For the most part, all Tupperware can be taken to your standard recycling center. However, Tupperware also runs a scheme where you can send your old Tupperware to them. Basically, head to any one of their distributors and they will probably tell you exactly what you need to do.

Can all Non-Branded Tupperware Be Recycled?

So, how about that off-brand stuff? Well, it is all going to be dependent on the recycling logo on there.

If the number is 1 or 2, then you can take it to any recycling center. This is standard recyclable plastic.

If the number is 3, 6, or 7 then the item cannot be recycled. Sadly, this is something that is going to need to go into the standard trash can. You can’t really do much about that.

This is all due to the way in which the plastic has been manufactured. They have been packed to the brim with chemicals, and that means they are almost impossible to separate.

Tupperware Recycling

It is very, very annoying. Thankfully, we are starting to cut back on the number of plastics that are not recyclable e.g. you have probably seen that more and more companies are looking to cut back on the production of PVC.

So, this leaves two numbers. You have numbers 4 and 5. So, can these be recycled? Well, it all depends on where you live.

Is Vintage Tupperware Dangerous?

Vintage Tupperware can be hazardous to your health! Tupperware made prior to 2010 has the potential to leach harmful hormone-changing BPAs into your food. Tupperware made several decades ago has even tested positive for lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium!

Not all recycling centers will be able to accept these plastics. This is because they are going to be a lot harder to recycle.

Not everybody will have the equipment available for this. That being said, there are programs throughout the United States where you will be able to send in plastics with the number 4 or 5 on them without any issues. It is an extra step that you will need to take, but at least you will be keeping the Tupperware out of a landfill, right?

How Do You Prepare Tupperware for Recycling?

It doesn’t take that much effort to prepare your Tupperware for recycling. All you really need to do is ensure that it is completely clean.

Yes. It is going to be cleaned a little bit during the recycling process, but it is often going to be sitting around for a long time before that.

If you do not clean it off, then mold will grow. There is a chance that this could hamper the recycling process ever so slightly.

If you can, try to make sure that you have the lid on top of the Tupperware. It isn’t vital, but a lot of recycling centers out there seem to suggest this, so we feel that you should try to do it if you can. Obviously, if you do not have the lid for your Tupperware, you can’t do this.

What Happens When Tupperware is Recycled?

It depends on the process that the recycling center will be using. All of it will start with the plastic being washed, though.

In most cases, the Tupperware will be ground up with all of the other plastic. As it is ground up, it will make very, very small grains. The idea is that these grains are going to be easier to process than if the Tupperware was complete.

Once everything is a powder, it is all melted down and then purified. Once the plastic has been melted down, it can be made into completely new items.

Can You Put Tupperware In the Normal Trash?

You can. Although, you may have to look into the laws for your area. There are some towns and cities that may prohibit putting plastic inside of the normal trash can.

Do bear in mind that we absolutely would not recommend that you put Tupperware inside of a standard trash can, though. This is because one of two things will happen:

  • The Tupperware will be sent to a landfill.
  • The Tupperware will be burned.

If the Tupperware is sent to a landfill, then the plastic will start to release all of those awful chemicals into the surrounding soil. This will eventually get into the local water supply.

It makes the area surrounding a landfill virtually uninhabitable for centuries to come. Certainly, no plants will be able to grow on the land.

If the Tupperware is burned, then toxic fumes will be sent up into the atmosphere. We are almost certain that you know just how bad this is going to be.

In addition to this, if the plastic is not recycled, then it increases the demand on the plastic industry to produce more new plastic. This is much more polluting than recycling.

In our opinion, if you have the ability to recycle something, then you should always be recycling it. Absolutely no exceptions. It isn’t that difficult to do.

Can You Repurpose Tupperware Any Other Way?

If you have Tupperware that is in reasonably good condition i.e. it is not stained or cracked, then you can just take it to your local charity shop or thrift store. This is something that will sell quite well for them. This means that they will be more than happy to take it off of your hands.


Almost all Tupperware can be recycled. There will be a few exceptions when it comes to the off-brand stuff, so do make sure that you check the logos on the product. Almost all Tupperware can be taken to your local recycling center for further recycling.