Can You Recycle Yogurt Cups And Lids? (Your 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.

One morning, you have eaten a cup of yogurt and placed it in the recycling bin. Your significant other, behind you, take the yogurt out of the trash bin and place it in the trash. 

They say that you can’t recycle yogurt cups, but you argue otherwise, creating a debate. It leaves you to wonder, “Can you recycle yogurt cups and lids?” Continue reading to find out this answer and more below!

Can You Recycle Yogurt Cups And Lids?

Yogurt cups and lids can be recycled. However, the plastic that the yogurt cups are made out of is called Plastic #5, or polypropylene. This specific type of plastic can cause recycling items such as yogurt cups to be made expensive and recycling companies just skip around putting them in recycling machines. 

Keep reading to find out the specifics on recycling yogurt cups and lids, including how to recycle yogurt cups and lids based on their difference in materials, how using large containers of yogurt compared to smaller ones is easier for recycling, and more!

Can You Recycle Yogurt Cups And Lids?

Most of us have learned in grade school that plastic is a recyclable material, so you may have guessed that plastic yogurt cups are recyclable. 

However, some yogurt products like the ever-famous Yoplait single-serving yogurt cups have an aluminum foil lid. This raises the question, “Can you recycle yogurt lids?”

Generally, aluminum foil yogurt lids can be recycled. 

However, if it is coming from a food product like in this case, you should keep in mind that some recycling companies may not accept the aluminum foil as it has come in contact with food.

Furthermore, aluminum lids are more difficult to recycle if they had direct contact with food, as this contaminates it and could compromise the other aluminum products it is being melted into. 

Therefore, check in with your local recycling centers to see if your aluminum lids can be recycled or not. 

Although it may be expensive to recycle yogurt cups, recycling companies that do accept them will, generally, melt them.

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Keep reading as you will find instructions on how you can recycle your yogurt cups and lids below. 

How To Recycle Yogurt Cups?

It can seem overwhelming to figure out where to take your yogurt cups as you don’t want to waste them. 

However, here are two ways that you can recycle your yogurt lids. 

Contact Your Local Recycling Center

Get into contact with your local recycling center and see if they accept yogurt cups for recycling. 

Recycling center websites typically have a list of what kind of recyclables they do and do not accept. 

Furthermore, you can also call your recycling coordinator, which is normally located on your local website for information. 

Additionally, if you have any extra questions or need clarification, you can get a confirmation from the coordinator themselves or you can email them with your questions. 

Mail The Yogurt Cups To A Recycling Program

If your local recycling center doesn’t accept the type of plastic material for your yogurt cups, you can mail them to a company called Preserve, which accepts plastic #5. 

You can also drop off your yogurt cups at your local Whole Foods Market, as Preserve participates in their Gimme 5 recycling program.

Furthermore, to mail them your yogurt cups, seal them in a reused box and acquire a shipping label to be sent to the location found on their website. 

Once they receive the plastic #5 items, their goal is to create new products out of the plastic. 

How To Recycle Yogurt Lids?

How To Recycle Yogurt Lids?

It can be overwhelming to figure out how to make sure that your yogurt lids get recycled, especially when it’s not as simple as just placing them into a recycle bin. 

However, here are three ways that you can recycle your yogurt lids. 

Thoroughly Clean The Aluminum Yogurt Lids

If your local recycling center allows aluminum products, you can recycle the aluminum lids from your yogurt by thoroughly and gently cleaning them off. 

Furthermore, cleaning the lid will make sure that it is rid of the food that has come into contact with it, preventing it from being contaminated

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Crumple The Aluminum Yogurt Lids Into A Ball

After cleaning them, crumple your aluminum yogurt lids into a ball.

Doing this prevents any mishaps when they go into the recycling machine as the aluminum lids are typically thin and flexible

Request A Pickup For Your Local Recycling Center

After all of the steps are complete, you’re ready to turn in your aluminum foil lid collection to your local recycling center. 

Furthermore, you can either drop them off at the center or request a pickup and they will come and take them off of your hands for you.

What To Do If You Can’t Recycle Yogurt Cups And Lids?

If you feel as though there are no other options for recycling your yogurt cups, then there are a few things you can do. We will dive deeper into the subject below.

Buy Larger Containers Of Yogurt

If you are having trouble recycling single-serving yogurts, you can always buy your yogurt in large containers. 

Furthermore, buying your yogurt in large containers can be more affordable, reduce waste, and the yogurt container and lid is easier to recycle together as opposed to the separate plastic.

Reuse The Yogurt Cup

Separately, you can reuse yogurt cups for other purposes. Furthermore, you can find some creative and useful methods for reusing yogurt cups below.

Use The Yogurt Cup As A Supplies Holder

This can be a good way to decorate the outside of the cup and then use it as a holder for your pencils, pens, crayons, paintbrushes, etc. for your office or your kids’ playroom. 

Additionally, if your kids have multiple same-colored crayons, then you can use your cups as a way to know what colors you do and don’t have. 

Use The Yogurt Cup As A Paint Holder

Additionally, placing your paint in your small yogurt cups for your kids can be a great way to reuse them. 

Furthermore, this is a great way to portion out how much paint you, or your child, will need without creating too much of a mess. 

Create A Homemade Ice-Pop Maker With The Yogurt Cup

Yogurt cups are a great size to make your own DIY ice pop while also reducing the cost of what you would have to purchase an ice mold from the store. 

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Pour in whatever juice you are wanting to create the ice pop with into the yogurt cup, cover in aluminum foil and let it freeze for a couple of hours. 

Use The Yogurt Cup As A Planter

After you clean your yogurt cup, then you can fill it up with soil and plant your desired seed. 

Next, to drain out the water cut a few holes at the bottom. 

This can be a good way to start off growing your plant indoors before transferring them outdoors into a larger container

Use The Yogurt Cup For Food Storage

Depending on the size of your yogurt cup(s), you can use them as food storage.

For example, if you have a smaller cup, then they can be good to use as a dip.

If they’re a little bit larger, then you could store a few cut-up grapes, small candies, or any other food item that you can think.

Yogurt Cups And Lids: Recycle Or Reuse? 

Yogurt cups and lids are made of a plastic material called Plastic #5, or polypropylene. 

Furthermore, it is the second-most used plastic to create yogurt cups (or containers), plastic bottle tops, disposable diapers, etc. 

However, since it is more difficult to recycle polypropylene, it is recommended that people try to reuse items like yogurt cups so they don’t end up in landfills. 


Now you know you can recycle yogurt cups and lids in certain circumstances and the different ways to recycle them. Also, the material they are made from, plastic #5, and its difficulties in the recycling industry.

However, remember that if you aren’t able to recycle your yogurt lids and cups, you can resort to reusing them!


  • 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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