There are many tidbits that come with recycling. Plastics have different types of packaging you will notice a number from 1 to 7 surrounded by three arrows forming a triangle, which is called the Resin Identification Code. The code indicates the type of resin the packaging is made from. Knowing these numbers can help you better organize your trash and recycling. Today, we at Mickey’s Carting would like to share the basics of the plastic numbering system.
Polyethylene Terephthalate or PETE is #1
It’s mostly used for water or pop bottles, peanut butter jars, salad dressing bottles, and other food packaging and the easiest to recycle. It is recycled into fibers or polar fleece. It is thin and degrades quicker than most other plastics and not ideal for reuse. It is generally viewed as safe since this plastic is food safe. During manufacturing, it can leach a metal call antimony that is used. Bottles left to sit in sunlight or other exposure to high temperatures will tend to leak a leach metal call antimony that is used during manufacturing.
High-Density Polyethylene or HDPE #2
This type of plastic is usually colored or opaque and commonly used for milk jugs, detergent bottles, motor oil bottles, butter tubs, some shopping bags, and household cleaner bottles. It is often recycled into plastic lumber, bottles, or drainage pipes. This is one of the safest forms of plastic. Though it still one of the most low-hazard plastics, it was found that HDPE releases estrogenic chemicals after recent studies.
Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC #3
This is usually used for shampoo bottles, medical tubing, pips, pet toys, and window trim. Since it contains phthalates, it is not used in any household items that contain consumables. Typically, this is recycled into paneling, flooring, cables, and decks. It is a type of phthalate that is used to soften plastics and not safe for storage of consumables or use by children.
Low-Density Polyethylene or LDPE #4
There are bottles designed to squeeze like shampoo or condiment bottles. Also, it is used in many toys and plastic films such as grocery bags, bread bags, shrink wrap, and produce bags. It is not known to have any known hazardous materials used to produce or found to release after production and is considered one of the safest plastics.
Polypropylene PP #5
This has a high melting point and can be used for many things. Medical bottles, cereal box liners, bottle caps, straws, some ropes, yogurt tubs, and condiment bottles is typically made from this plastic. It is usually recycled into brushes, battery cases, and bike racks. Since it is so durable, it can also be reused again and again. Because the degradation and melting point are both so high it is very safe for reuse.
Polystyrene, PS, or Styrofoam #6
Being commonly found in meat trays, packing peanuts, hot liquid cups, and some egg cartons. One plastic that is not recyclable in any form is Styrofoam. Due to its impact on the environment, it should be avoided.
BPA, Lexan, and more #7
This label carries a variety of plastics such as baby bottles, 5-gallon water jugs, and many others. Though it always worth it to call and check to see what item in the #7 category may be accepted, most recycling companies do not accept this category of plastic. Many plastics under the 7 label contain chemicals that may leach into the liquid stored within it.