I noticed my pet food bag has a recycling symbol with a new number in it - #81:

Package with #81 recycling symbol

The only resource I've found about this symbol is the Wikipedia page on recycling codes, which describes it as Paper/Plastic composite material.

Can this material be recycled anywhere in the USA? Is there any more information about this (new?) recycling category?

  • 3
    Recycling plastic-coated paper is hard because you'll need to separate the plastic from the paper. That's why most recycling programs don't accept it.
    – THelper
    Aug 11, 2014 at 9:48
  • 2
    I don't know much about recycling programs in the US, but according to this presentation many US compost collection programs accept plastic-coated paper products, strangely enough!?. I'm not sure how they solve the problem of microplastics ending up in the compost (they probably don't!), so I think it would be best to either throw it in the general waste for now, or along with other plastics (if you have such a recycling scheme). Alternatively, you can also ask your local waste management facility for advice.
    – THelper
    Aug 11, 2014 at 9:49

2 Answers 2


According to this list on Wikipedia, #81 is paper and plastic composite.

When it comes to recycling, you have two options:

  1. Go to the website of your county or city recycling agency to see if they will accept this material. If they don't, you could try neighboring counties/cities (areas with larger populations will tend to have broader recycling programs). For the US, I was not able to find any comprehensive listing of recycling policies and/or agencies.
  2. Take a look at this video for instructions on how to separate the paper and plastic layers - typically the interior paper layer (which is in contact with the food) would be soiled and thus non-recyclable, while the outer plastic layer could be recycled with other similar plastics.

Try Terracycle, look on their website as they recycle hard to recycle items and have a mixture of paid for and free schemes.

  • Welcome to Sustainable Living! Please be aware that we require all answerers to state their affiliation to recommended products and services. Are you affiliated with Terracycle?
    – THelper
    Aug 4, 2021 at 17:47

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