More than 60 firefighters tackled the flames which ripped through the industrial yard of the WRC Recycling plant in Floors Street, Johnstone, last night.
Giant bundles of plastic, packed for recycling, burned from around 5.30pm well into the night and nearby homes were evacuated.
The plant is close to the railway line between Johnstone station and nearby Milliken Park and trains were prevented from travelling along the line.
At the height of the blaze last night, the sky was lit up by the flames and thick, choking smoke filled the air.
WRC owner Robert Capper said: "The fire brigade seemed to have contained it to only within our yard, thankfully.
"We just hope that the flames haven't spread to the building, because there is a lot of expensive equipment in there."
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said it had several calls from the public at around 6pm and fire engines rushed to the scene.
Late last night it was still not known how the fire started and a full investigation is expected to be carried out when the area is safe.
A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said: "Fire crews attended a large fire and are still at the scene. It is anticipated crews will be at the scene for some time."
Train services between Johnstone and Kilwinning were suspended and a replacement bus service drafted in.
Other train services affected were on routes to Paisley Gilmour Street, and from Glasgow Central to Ayr, Largs and Ardrossan.