un·​re·​cy·​cla·​ble | \ ˌən-(ˌ)rē-ˈsī-k(ə-)lə-bəl How to pronounce unrecyclable (audio) \

Definition of unrecyclable

: unable to be recycled : not recyclable unrecyclable waste unrecyclable plastics

Examples of unrecyclable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That includes improving waste collection and recycling, redesigning products to eliminate packaging made from unrecyclable plastics, expanding refillables, and in some cases substituting other materials. Laura Parker, National Geographic, "Plastic pollution is a huge problem—and it’s not too late to fix it," 6 Oct. 2020 Unfortunately, that means more unrecyclable refuse getting thrown in the recycling bin: items such as bubble wrap, cellophane, Christmas lights, ribbons, clothing, foam and electronics. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "‘Tis the season to recycle (the right way)," 29 Nov. 2019 Executives admit the new cup isn’t perfect — it’s still lined with plastic, rendering it unrecyclable by most standards — and the lid is still plastic as well. BostonGlobe.com, "Dunkin’ fans, prepare yourselves: The end of the foam cup is finally at hand.," 15 Nov. 2019 Since then, Southeast Asia has seen a huge spike in waste shipments — much of it contaminated plastic that is unrecyclable — from developed countries. Hillary Leung, Time, "Sri Lankans Ask the U.K. to Take Back Rotten Waste," 25 July 2019 Many toothbrushes are unrecyclable because the composite plastics most are now made of are difficult, if not impossible, to break apart efficiently. National Geographic, "How your toothbrush became a part of the plastic crisis," 14 June 2019 The company’s mission is recycling the previously unrecyclable, such as cigarette butts, contact lenses and chewing gum. Laura Daily, Washington Post, "Contact lenses, corks and Christmas lights can all be recycled. Here’s how.," 25 June 2019 Officials said a contributing factor is people mistakenly trying to recycle plastic bags and not rinsing their plastics, glass and metal — leading to contamination that makes materials unrecyclable and increases costs for local governments. David Eggert, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan wants to double recycling rates with $2M campaign kickoff," 23 Apr. 2019 The risk is that devices like old iPads could become unrecyclable, at least in economic terms, for scrap companies that aren't getting paid some other way. Anchorage Daily News, "The explosive problem with recycling iPads, iPhones and other gadgets: They catch fire.," 12 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unrecyclable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of unrecyclable

1960, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unrecyclable

Time Traveler for unrecyclable

Time Traveler

The first known use of unrecyclable was in 1960

See more words from the same year

Statistics for unrecyclable

Cite this Entry

“Unrecyclable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unrecyclable. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

Comments on unrecyclable

What made you want to look up unrecyclable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!