Dear Recycle Lady

Dear Recycle Lady,

Are white prescription bottles recyclable? They have a recycle triangle on them.


Dear Doubtful,

It’s a good to be doubtful about prescription bottles as there are two potential problems with them. The first is that these bottles have held medications with diverse chemical components and traces of the medications may remain in the bottles. Thus, prescription containers can only be recycled if the processing plant that recycles the bottles has a washing and heating process sufficient to remove any traces of a drug. The second problem is the size of the bottles. Small bottles often slip through the machines during processing and can cause damage to the machinery or stop it entirely.

Unfortunately, this is the case with the Recycle Center. They are unable to recycle small bottles that are roughly three inches or smaller. Finding a good way to dispose of the medicine contained in prescription bottles is just as important as finding a good way to dispose of the bottles. Under no conditions should they be flushed down the toilet. According to, even the best sewage treatment plants will not remove all prescription medications from the water before it is discharged into rivers and streams.Drugs can affect fish and other wildlife, and they will eventually make their way back into human consumption.


Dear Recycle Lady,

I have an old lawn mower that I can no longer use. Since much of it is made of metal, I was wondering if it would recycle?

Grass Cutter

Dear Grass Cutter,

Yes, since old lawn mowers are made of metal, your old lawn mower can be recycled. Newer lawn mowers have some parts that are plastic, but they can still be recycled. Take your lawn mower to the Recycle Center and look for the sign on the right-hand side of the building pointing to aluminum can recycling. Push the indicated button for recycling aluminum cans and someone will come to assist you with the lawn mower. Before you go to the Recycle Center, why not check all your other garden tools, such a leaf blowers, weed trimmers, chainsaws and hedge trimmer. They can be recycled also.


Dear Recycle Lady,

I read that a large percentage of plastic bottles end up in landfills and are not recycled. How many plastic shampoo bottles end up in landfills?

Bottle Recycler

Dear Bottle Recycler,

According to, more than 552 million (552,000,000) plastic shampoo bottles end up in landfills every year. In the US alone, the number of plastic shampoo bottles thrown away annually could fill over 1,100 football stadiums! Fortunately, there are beginning to be several companies now selling shampoo in plastic-free bottles. They can be found on the web.


Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to  Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.



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