Can You Recycle Plastic And Metal Jar Lids? (Full Guide)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

So, you’ve finished a bottle of a soft drink or beer and are walking to put the lids in the recycling bin, however, can they actually go in there? 

Everyone has learned to sort through their garbage and to separate the recycling. However, sometimes it’s hard to know what goes in the recycling. Read on to find out if you can recycle plastic and metal jar lids and more!

Can You Recycle Plastic And Metal Jar Lids?

Some plastic and metal jar lids can be recycled. Furthermore, only some can be recycled as it depends on the type of metal and plastic used to make these lids, as well as the size of the metal lid. Additionally, this is because not all metal and plastics can be recycled. 

Continue reading to find out why some plastic and metals can’t be recycled and more!

What Plastics And Metals Can Be Recycled?

Here you can briefly see what can usually be recycled by your local recycling service and what cannot:

Lids that can be recycled?  Yes No Sometimes
Plastics #1 and #2 X
Plastic #5 and #6 X
Plastics #3, #4, #7 X
Metal Lids under 3 inches diameter X
Metal Lids over 3 inches diameter X

Recycling plastic and metal lids are beneficial to the environment, and it is worth taking the proper steps to dispose of them properly. 

However, there are a lot of variables that determine whether a specific lid can be recycled.

How To Dispose Of Plastic And Metal Jar Lids

There are several available options for disposing of plastic and metal lids. 

Ideally, they can be recycled, but sometimes you may have to do a little extra work to make sure they do not end up in the landfill.

Furthermore, the disposal of plastic lids is usually determined by the type of plastic used. 

For example, plastics are numbered 1 through 7 to designate their chemical composition and the chemical composition of the given plastic often determines how easily it can be recycled. 

Additionally, the disposal of metal lids is determined by the size (diameter) of the lid. 

Furthermore, although the metal used in most lids can be recycled, if it is too small of an amount it can hinder the recycling process. 

However, it is important to note that guidelines for recycling metal and plastic lids are not universal, so discuss disposal with your local recycling program

Disposing Of Lids In Your Home Recycling

Plastics #1 (soda and water bottles) and #2 (shampoo containers and milk jugs) are recyclable, and they can be thrown into a recycling bin.

Additionally, metal lids over three inches in diameter can also be easily recycled and can be thrown into a recycling bin as well. 

However, it is important to note that in some areas, the recycling program prefers plastic lids to either be on or off the container. 

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Options If Your Local Recycling Service Will Not Take Them

Certain types of plastics and small metal lids are difficult to recycle and may not be considered acceptable in your recycling bin, however, you may still have some options for recycling them.

What To Do With Small Metal Lids

It is not suggested that metal lids under 3 inches be placed in a recycling bin because their size makes them hard to process and potentially damages the machines used to sort them.  

Therefore, here are some other options:

  • Place all metal lids of the same material into a container made of the same material and then crimp or close that container.  This way the metal will be sorted correctly, and the lids will not obstruct the process or get lost. 
  • Some people or companies will take scrap metal for various projects or work, so you can seek them out and offer your spare lids. 

What To Do With Plastic Lids

The types of plastic accepted by a recycling program vary at the local level. 

Therefore, while your local recycling program may not take different types of lids because of the plastic they are made of, independent organizations can offer recycling options. 

What Materials Are Plastic And Metal Jar Lids Made of?

Believe it or not, plastic and metal jar lids are made of a variety of different things, which can impact their ability to be recycled. 

What Are Plastic Lids Made of?

Plastic lids can be made from a variety of different plastics and you’ve probably noticed the differences between plastics without knowing their technical designation. 

Type of Plastic Examples Recyclability
Plastic #1 PET(E)  Water and Soda Bottles Recyclable
Plastic #2 PEHD or HDPE Shampoo Bottles  Recyclable
Plastic #3 Vinyl or PVC  Piping, Records Sometimes
Plastic #4 PELD or LDPE Bags, Condiment Bottles  Sometimes
Plastic #5 PP Tupperware, industrial fibers Vary Rarely
Plastic #6 PS Toys, Insulation Vary Rarely
Plastic #7 Miscellaneous  Artificial lumber, Bioplastics Sometimes

Additionally, in terms of recycling, plastics #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7 often require finding an organization that specializes in recycling them.

What Are Metal Lids Made Of?

Metal lids can also be made from different materials. 

For example, the most common lids are made from aluminum and steel which are both recyclable. 

Further, sometimes metal lids have a coating or lining that is either plastic or rubber, however, this is rarely an issue for recyclers because it is melted off during the metal recycling process.

Are Plastic And Metal Jar Lids Biodegradable?

You may be wondering at a fundamental level if your lids are biodegradable.

Well, Merriam-Webster defines biodegradable as the ability to be broken down into “innocuous products” naturally. 

Though for most people interested in environmental preservation there is an implied value that the ability to degrade should also be quick.

Read More:  Can You Recycle Metal Cutlery And Utensils? (Full Guide)

Are Plastic Lids Biodegradable? 

Plastic is not biodegradable, therefore, to prevent it from polluting the environment, it needs to be recycled or upcycled. 

However, some types of biodegradable or “bioplastics” claim to have the ability to be naturally broken down or compostable, but their effectiveness is debatable

Are Metal Lids Biodegradable?

Metal is not biodegradable either, however, metals like aluminum and steel can be and are desirable for recycling but they can not be broken down in a landfill.

How To Reuse And Upcycle Plastic And Metal Jar Lids?

How To Reuse And Upcycle Plastic And Metal Jar Lids?

Even if you cannot recycle your lids, you still have other options to dispose of them. 

For example, there are many ways to use lids around your home for DIY projects, arts and crafts, or just general utility. 

Keep reading as below there are a few ways that you can reuse plastic and metal lids around the house!

Ways To Repurpose Plastic Lids

You can use plastic lids for a host of things around your home. Some projects and uses include:

  • Making sun catchers
  • Use as coasters
  • Use to scrape food off a non-stick cooking surface
  • Use to scrape ice off a car window
  • Place under furniture legs 

Luckily, plastic does have a lot of utility, and there are a variety of practical ways to repurpose your plastic lids. 

Furthermore, this is a great way to prevent plastic lids that may not be recycled locally from ending up in your landfill. 

Ways To Repurpose Metal Lids

Metal lids can also be used for a variety of projects and crafts and these include:

  • Use as coasters
  • Use as baking trays
  • Use as candleholders
  • Various magnetic crafts

Fortunately, Metal lids can also be handy for a variety of projects and crafts.

Furthermore, while most of the metal used in lids are recyclable, you may want to see if there are any projects that they can be used for before you recycle them. 

Where To Recycle Plastic And Metal Jar Lids?

Most plastic and metal jar lids are recyclable, furthermore, they can often be recycled by placing them in a home bin or going to a local recycling center.

However, in some cases, you will need to take some extra steps to ensure that they are recycled.

Where To Recycle Plastic Lids

In most cases, plastics #1 and #2 can be placed in a home recycling bin or taken to a recycling center. 

However, for plastics #5-#7, you will need to get in contact with your local recycling center to find out if they are accepted. 

Furthermore, if some plastic types are not accepted by your local recycling services, some organizations will accept the plastic in drop-offs or through the mail. 

Where To Recycle Metal Lids

Metal lids are recyclable through your local recycling services, however, the size of the lid may be an issue. 

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Therefore, you will need to check with your local recycling service to find out if they accept lids under three inches in diameter. 

If small metal lids are an issue for your recycling services, check to see if they accept an alternative method of delivery like placing the lids in a similar container and crimping it closed. 

Additionally, you can also check local businesses or groups that take and use the scrap metal. 

Furthermore, they may be willing to take your metal lids and, in some cases, pay for them. 

Are Plastic And Metal Jar Lids Bad For The Environment?

Both plastic and metal lids are hazardous to the environment. 

However, plastic, in particular, is the source of an ecological crisis.

How Plastic Lids Damage The Environment

Since 1950, 7,800 metric tons of plastic have been produced and the amount of production has only increased with time. 

Furthermore, beyond the volume produced, plastic lasts an exceptionally long time, a lifespan better approximated in centuries than years.

Additionally, plastic is also very harmful to the environment because it can leach chemicals during its slow decomposition, and it can be ingested by wildlife.

How Metal Lids Damage The Environment

Metal lids are also a source of pollution for the environment, and this is because depending on the metal it can pollute the soil. 

However, for metals like steel and aluminum, the genuine concern is not waste.

Additionally, the production of steel and aluminum is awful for the environment because this includes emissions into the atmosphere and destroying habitats. 

However, the benefit of recycling metal lids for the environment is that it decreases the demand for the mining and production of metals which is the real hazard associated with metals.

Furthermore, like plastic lids, the specific environmental hazard of metal lids is that they are easily ingested by wildlife.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether you can recycle nails, screws, and bolts, whether you can recycle nail polish remover bottles, and whether you can recycle metal cutlery and utensils.


Plastic and metal lids produce environmental hazards that can be curtailed if they are recycled or repurposed. However, you will usually need to speak with someone from your local recycling service to find the best method for recycling these items. 

It is also important to remember that even if your local recycling service does not accept some types of lids, there are still other organizations that may accept the material. Therefore, you can search them out and find the best means of delivering your lids.  


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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