How to Recycle Five-Gallon Water Bottles

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Old five-gallon bottles were once made from glass, and most glass recycling facilities will accept them.

Five-gallon water jugs made from glass (in good condition) can be sold online, as they are valued by home brewers.

Five-gallon water bottles are common in offices.

Five-gallon water bottles are the most common jug size available through home or office water delivery services. Large water jugs, or carboys, were once made out of glass, but are now made from Number 7 mixed plastic. Reputable water delivery companies take back empty water cooler jugs themselves in order to sanitize and reuse them. However, water jugs may become worn out or damaged after years of use, in which case they should be recycled.


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Step 1

Contact your water delivery service if you have unwanted, excess or damaged five-gallon water bottles. Water delivery companies usually pick up their own bottles and recycle them at a specific facility.

Step 2

Call your curbside recycling or waste disposal service to inquire if it accepts Number 7 plastics or large five-gallon water bottles. Some curbside services will accept these jugs along with other mixed plastics.

Step 3

Locate plastic recycling facilities in your community by searching online. Enter your town and zip code for a list of local recyclers, their hours and driving directions.


Step 4

Rinse off the water bottles or jugs if they are excessively dirty. Some recycling centers will not accept plastics coated in dirt and grime.

Step 5

Bring your five-gallon water bottles to the appropriate recycling facility. Combine the bottles with other recyclable materials in order to save gasoline and reduce transportation costs.


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Cassandra Gailis

Cassandra Gailis lives outside of Anchorage, Alaska and began writing self-improvement articles in 2010. Gailis has extensive experience in professional grant writing, health research and international travel. She holds a Master of Science degree in health education from Minnesota State University.