Plastic Tubs and Lids

Ever wonder why you see so many shapes and sizes of plastic tubs?

Most refrigerators contain a sea of tubs – for yogurt, cottage cheese, other deli items, ice cream and more.

Every one of these tubs and their lids perform important functions – like withstanding the extreme cold of a freezer, or managing the high heats required at the point where the tub is filled. Because of the wide range of functions, even though they may be the same approximate dimensions – with wide-mouth lids, they’re made from different plastic resins.

Can tubs and lids be recycled?

Tubs and lids are often reused many times before their end of life, but when they can no longer be used, they are very recyclable.

Tubs and lids are made from resins that could include high density polyethylene (HDPE #2), polypropylene (PP #5) or low density polypethylene (LDPE #4) – they are accepted in 60% of Canadian recycling programs.

Resins from plastic tubs make their way back into diverse products and packaging. Plastic resin from today’s yogurt container or margarine tub may return in a food storage container, as tableware, an area rug, planter or crate or even as part of a picnic bench at your local park.

And when they're recycled...

Tubs & Lids

What is CPIA doing?

CPIA continues to work with municipalities and recyclers to ensure that secure and stable markets exist for tubs leading to opportunities to increase the amount of tubs recycled across the country.

Fast facts

  • Although access rates vary province by province, the most recent study of Access to Recycling in Canada showed a national access rate of at least 63% for tubs and lids. View: Access to Recycling, 2016.
  • Dairy containers (including plastic tubs) must meet stringent health and safety packaging specifications to ensure that the container can withstand hot or freezing filling and storage conditions.
  • Between 1990-2000, there was a 20% reduction in energy consumed and emissions throughout the life cycle from extraction of raw materials through to the manufacture of a 6 oz PP yogurt cup. That’s just one material type and it didn’t stop there.

For more information: see Recycling Resources