Packing Materials and Plastic Disposal During COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

With the increase of online retail shopping and to-go food orders, questions about what to do with shipping materials, packaging and containers are understandable. Below, you will find some helpful links and information about what to do with your packing materials and plastics.

Trash Safety!

PUBLIC SAFETY REMINDER: Properly dispose of your gloves and face masks.

Gloves and masks CANNOT be recycled. Leaving masks and gloves on the ground, floor or anywhere other than the trash, puts others at risk for infection. Please dispose of your masks and gloves in a proper trash receptacle. If possible, after disposing of your gloves and mask, tie up the trash bag and place in an outside, secured container. It’s imperative during this time that we all take the proper measures to ensure the safety of ourselves and others. Please do not litter your masks and gloves.

It’s important to not let trash linger after it enters your home. According to the both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 can live on hard surfaces, such as plastic and cardboard, for three or more days. WHO states, “It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.”

  • Dispose of all trash as soon as you can and be sure to secure it in plastic trash bags.
  • Disinfect and clean any recyclable materials before putting them into your recycle bin.
  •  Do not place recyclables in plastic bags! Recyclables should be clean and loose in your bin.
  •  Be sure to wash your hands and any surfaces that outside materials have encountered before putting these objects in your refrigerator, cabinets or bins.

For more information from the CDC on how to clean and protect your home from the spread of COVID-19 click here:

Online Orders Coming In!

As for those Amazon and Ulta boxes piling up…most cardboard boxes CAN be recycled.

  • You CAN leave tape and labels on boxes; however, if they can be easily removed, please do so.
  • Boxes need to be broken down and flattened before being put in the recycling or garbage bins.
  • REMOVE all metal pieces such as staples, paper clips or bindings.
  • No plastic wrap, plastic films or soft plastics (plastic that can be scrunched up in your hand).
  • Bubble wrap and shipping peanuts are NOT recyclable; however, some shipping stores will take back peanuts and reuse them. Check with your local shipping facilities for more information.

Recycling at Home!

Waste Management has a very informative website where you can find a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to recycling:

and what resources and services are available to you in your area:

Recycling 101

A brief breakdown of recycling, according to Waste Management:

  • DO recycle paper, plastics, cardboard, bottles, or cans that are clean and dry.
  • Remove any liners from boxes or containers before recycling.

The Do Nots:

  • No plastic wrap, film or loose tape. Plastic wrap, bubble, wrap, sandwich bags and freezer bags should not go in the recycle bin.
  • No polystyrene foam or plastic (most to-go containers and cups are made of non-recyclable materials, like Styrofoam).
  • No disposable cups with wax or plastic coatings. The plastic lids should be put in the trash as well.
  • No food or liquid in or on recycling.
  • No loose plastic bags and no bagged recyclables. The average grocery store plastic bags are not accepted as part of curbside recycling programs.
  • No items that will TANGLE. Examples of tangling items:  garden hoses, ropes, leashes, wires, holiday lights, strings, chains, fishing lines.
  • No flexible packaging, such as chip bags and juice or soup pouches.
  • No garage waste such as car parts, scrap metals, paint cans, filters, etc.
  • No medical waste. Check with your local Waste Management or trash company and see if there are medical waste appropriate bins for your home or office.
  • Household items such as clothing textiles, shower curtains, mini-swimming pools, fencing and furniture.


If you can keep your unwanted and non-recyclable items out of the landfill, do so! Worried about donating while staying safe and following social distancing guidelines? Check with your local donation centers and see if there are drop off locations near you. Most donation organizations have a convenient curb-side drop off, you don’t even need to exit your vehicle! Just pull up, pop your trunk and staff will remove your items for you. It’s always a good idea to call ahead to confirm and let them know you’re coming.



The Salvation Army USA

Have questions about recycling or disposing of glass? Check back soon for a new post all about glass! As always, thank you for doing your part to help keep Arkansas beautiful. Stay safe!

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