How to Recycle Plastic Furniture

Elton Dunn

Home plastic recycling has come a long way, but getting rid of large objects like patio chairs or side tables remains tricky for homeowners. Not all communities are able to recycle large plastics, and some don't recycle the rigid types of plastic cast into furniture.

Finding a recycler for your old furniture can be tricky.

Throwing your items on the curb and hoping for the best can mean they don't get picked up, creating litter. Spend a little time researching the options, then choose the one that's most convenient for you.

    This is the recycling symbol.
  1. Look for the recycling logo--three arrows forming a triangle--on your plastic furniture. Write down the number you see there, which can range from 1 to 7. This tells you the type of plastic you have.

  2. Call your town to find out what local options exist. Ask whether you can recycle that type of plastic, then ask whether bulky items or rigid items are acceptable. Some communities may not take bulky items. Others, like the town of Davis, California, allow you to drop off plastic furniture at the recycling center.

  3. Not all communities can recycle plastic furniture; Springfield, Missouri, for example, lists no local options.

  4. Break down plastic furniture into parts if it's held together with metal screws or contains any non-plastic pieces. Metal chairs with plastic seats, for example, need to be taken apart because the metal and plastic can't be recycled together.

  5. Search for other recycling options near you at Earth911. Type in the plastic grade of your furniture--for example, type in "#3 plastic"--and your ZIP code. Contact matching recyclers in or around your town and ask about drop-off recycling for furniture. Take apart your furniture if necessary and bring it to a nearby recycling center.

  6. Recycle furniture that's in good condition by donating it for reuse. Earth911 suggests donating to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, holding a garage sale or listing items at online community sites. Some communities have "swap shop" areas at a landfill, so bring old plastic things there.