Rigid Plastics Recycling

Orange County collects large non-bottle rigid plastics for recycling at Waste & Recycling Centers only. You may not recycle these in your blue curbside recycle cart.

Purple Plastic DumpsterAcceptable Items

You can recycle small rigid plastics such as Plastic Number 2, 4, and 5 tubs, cups and buckets (and all plastic bottles) the curb, at apartment complexes, or commercial recycling programs, or at the 24-hour recycling drop-off sites. The purple dumpsters at the Waste and Recycling Centers accept small rigids as well as larger items listed. Look for the purple roll-off containers.


Rigid plastics are defined in Orange County as Number 2 HDPE, Number 4 LDPE, and Number 5 PP non-bottle plastics and include the following items:

  • All totes and tote lids
  • Cups and tubs
  • Dish drainers
  • Drums (empty)
  • Flower pots (must be larger than one pint)
  • Garbage cans
  • Laundry baskets
  • Lawn furniture (no PVC Number 3)
  • Milk crates
  • Nursery trays (must be rigid no soft bubble packs)
  • Pet carriers
  • Plastic buckets
  • Plastic toys
  • Recycling bins
  • Soda crates
  • Stadium cups

Examples of Rigid Plastic

Rigid Plastics

Rules & Restrictions

When recycling rigid plastics please follow these important rules:

  • Do not recycle plastic bottles in the purple dumpsters! The "Rigid Plastics" collection is specifically for plastics that are not bottles. Recycle bottles with single stream mixed recycling in the blue containers at drop-off sites, at the curb, or at apartment complexes.
  • No battery operated toys (recycle these with electronics).
  • No clear plastic PET Number 1 or PLA Number 7 clam-shell take out/fruit and lettuce containers.
  • No metal! This includes toys with axles such as wagons and "Big Wheels." Please remove metal grates from pet carriers and metal handles from buckets when possible. We want the buckets!
  • No non-bottle plastics Number 1, Number 3, Number 6, Number 7.
  • No plastic bags.
  • No styrofoam.
  • Rigid plastics be empty and clean, free of dirt and food residue. When possible please remove metal such as screws, axles, and bucket handles.

Large Items

Over-sized items can be accepted at Walnut Grove Convenience Center only. Such as: 

  • Kiddie pools
  • Large plastic drums (both ends removed)
  • Plastic playground slides
  • Plastic playhouses

This center has an open box, as opposed to the others with small windows for deposit.

Second Life

Rigid plastics are recycled to make new plastic pots and buckets, plastic pipe and other products. Orange County sells the rigid plastics we collect to a market located in North Carolina. They tell us what kinds of plastics they can use, and we pass those rules on to you. The provided image shows the wide range of items that fit the category "rigid plastics."