Can You Recycle Subway Packaging? (Papers, Cups, Straws + More)

As a multi-national chain, Subway is potentially creating lots of waste worldwide, so I wondered whether you could recycle any of Subway’s packaging.

If you’re a fan of Subway and also environmentally conscious, you may be wondering the same thing. Fortunately, I’ve done some research, and here’s all I have found out about the recyclability of the packaging Subway uses!

Can You Recycle Subway Packaging?

Around 95% of Subway’s packaging materials can be recycled. For example, you can recycle Subway’s cups, catering trays, and salad bowls. Additionally, Subway was the first US fast-food chain to implement in-store recycling, meaning you can recycle Subway packaging in its restaurants.

If you want to find out which packaging materials can and cannot be recycled and if Subway uses recycled materials in its packaging, keep reading!

Can You Recycle Subway Cups?

Subway made the switch to recyclable cups back in 2007, moving away from polystyrene cups and changing to polypropylene-based cups instead.

Furthermore, these cups are made from recyclable thermoplastic, meaning you can recycle them at locations across the country.

However, many products made with this plastic still end up in a landfill.

Can You Recycle Subway Paper?

Yes, around 95% of Subway’s paper packaging products can be recycled. So long as the proper recycling facilities are available, you can recycle Subway paper.

In addition, you can also compost Subway sandwich paper, either at a facility or in your own compost bin at home.

Can You Recycle Subway Salad Boxes?

Yes, Subway salad boxes can be recycled where facilities exist.

That said, the Subway salad bowls are made from PETE, which is made from post-consumer waste, meaning it can be recycled.

The change to this new, recyclable material came in 2012 as Subway committed to making its operations more environmentally responsible.

Can You Recycle Subway Napkins?

Can You Recycle Subway Napkins?

Yes, Subway napkins are made with 100% recycled fiber and are printed with soy and water-based ink.

Paper napkins, in general, can be recycled so long as they haven’t been used to mop up grease.

Also, napkins are compostable, meaning you can dispose of your Subway napkin in several environmentally friendly ways.

Are Subway Lids Recyclable?

Yes, Subway lids are also recyclable. Moreover, Subway’s cup lids are made from the same recyclable thermoplastic as salad bowls, which you can recycle if the proper facilities exist.

Are Subway Bags Recyclable?

Though Subway chains in other countries have banished plastic bags, Subways in the US still use plastic bags. That said, these plastic bags are recyclable where facilities exist in your state.

Though the bags are recyclable, choosing not to accept a plastic bag may be the best option for the environment.

Does Subway Use Recycled Materials?

Subway has rigorous sustainability standards as part of its commitment to an environmentally responsible operation.

So, Subway aims to make reusable, responsible packaging, so it won’t end up in a landfill and instead is recycled.

That said, Subway towels and tissue products are made with 100% recycled material, and the napkins are made with 100% recycled fiber.

Also, Subway sandwich wraps are made from 40% post-consumer waste, and its specialty sandwich pouches are made of 50% post-consumer waste.

Finally, Subway salad bowls and lids are made from 25% PETE recycled plastic, as are Subway’s catering trays.

Is Subway a Sustainable Company?

As you can see, Subway has several sustainable initiatives in place as a company. Along with the in-store recycling facilities, Subway also:

  • Work with farmers to improve natural biodiversity and sustainability within the agricultural practice and empower and protect local communities enabling better well-being for workers and the environment.
  • Support increased farming productivity and yields as well as protecting animal welfare.
  • Use more energy-efficient technology in stores.
  • Work to ensure water is conserved by implementing better practices and new technology in suppliers’ systems and Subway stores.
  • Taking climate action and working to end deforestation throughout its supply chain.

To know more about Subway, you can also read our posts on whether or not Subway has salads, whether Subway has pizza, and if Subway has soup.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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