Numbers On Plastics Means More To Plastic Recycling Industries

Recycling symbols on plastics

6:35 AM, 4th January 2013
Research News On Plastics

The number inside the triangle which is embossed on the bottom of plastic containers identifies the type of plastic from which the container is made. The purpose for this is to make it easier for folks to sort and recycle. The lower the number the easier it is to recycle as well.

Number 1 Plastics

PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)

Found in: Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; ovenable food trays.

Recycling: Picked up through most curbside recycling programme.

Recycled into: Polar fleece, fibre, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, occasionally new containers.


Number 2 Plastics

HDPE (high density polyethylene)

Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners.

Recycling: Picked up through most curbside recycling programme, although some allow only those containers with necks.

Recycled into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing.


Number 3 Plastics
V (Vinyl) or PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)
Found in: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping
Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers. 
Recycled into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats.

Number 4 Plastics

LDPE (low density polyethylene)

Found in: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet.

Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programme, but some communities will accept it. Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.

Recycled into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile.

Number 5 Plastics

PP (polypropylene)

Found in: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles.

Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programme.

Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays.

Number 6 Plastics

PS (polystyrene)

Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases.

Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programme.

Recycled into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers.

Number 7 Plastics


Found in: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, ‘bullet-proof’ materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon

Recycling: Number 7 plastics have traditionally not been recycled, though some curbside programme now take them.

Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products.


© The daily green News 




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