There are three basic ways in which communities can offer plastic recycling collection services for plastic bottles and containers. The first, and most widely accessible, collection method is curbside collection of recyclables. Curbside recycling programs are generally the most convenient for community residents to participate in and yield high recovery rates as a result. Communities that provide curbside collection generally request residents to separate designated recyclables from their household garbage and to place them into special receptacles or bags, which are then set out at the curb for collection by municipal or municipally-contracted crews.
The second collection method is known as drop-off recycling. In this method, containers for designated recyclable materials are placed at central collection locations throughout the community, such as parking lots, mosques, schools, malls or other civic associations. The containers are generally marked as to which recyclable material should be placed in them. Residents are requested to deliver their recyclables to the drop-off location, where recyclables are separated by material type into their respective collection containers.
The last collection method employs the use of buy-back centers. Most buy-back recycling centers are operated by private companies and pay consumers for recyclable materials that are brought to them. Buy-back centers usually have purchasing specifications that require consumers to source separate recyclable materials brought for sale. These purchase specifications can greatly reduce contamination levels and allow the buy-back center to immediately begin processing the recyclables they purchase, while providing consumers with an economic incentive to comply with the specifications.