The answer to this question will vary dependent upon the type of lid that is used. Most lids used in fast food chains are plastic, but the kind of plastic that is depends on if it can be recycled or not. If a person looks at the lid, they can determine what type of plastic it is and see if a recycling center will accept it or not.
Most lids also have a recycling symbol, which will indicate that the lid can be recycled. If it can, it is best for the patron to contact local recycling facilities to see if the lid can be accepted, as all facilities don't accept all types of plastics.
Usually, you can't; however, there are probably ways that plastic lids can be recycled, but many of the recyclers don't want them because the plastics in them can be many different kinds and are often not the correct thickness for them to be recycled with other plastics. Often, recyclers will only ask for a specific type of plastic product, usually soda or water bottles. The bottles are then shredded down into small chips which can be processed to make new plastic products.
However, when other plastics got into the mix, they make the mix uneven and unusable. You have to check the lids to see if they have a recycle symbol with a number inside. If there is no symbol, it can’t be recycled. Recycling lids and caps can contaminate recycled plastic.
Just like fast food cups may be made of different materials, their lids may be also. A person would have to look at a fast food lid and see what material it is made of in order to determine if the lid is recyclable. Also, the rules at a recycling center that is close to the fast food restaurant would also have to take this material. Some recycling centers do not.
For example, straws are occasionally accepted at recycling centers based on the material they are made of. Plastic cups are also recyclable and accepted at most recycling centers. However, some of the paper cups that have a wax film over them can’t be recycled. They have to be thrown in the trash.