Adding Up the Numbers When You Recycle Plastic Products and Containers
From Earth Talk
The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allowconsumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers.
The numbers, which 39 U.S. states now require to be molded or imprinted on alleight-ounce to five-gallon containers that can accept the half-inch minimum-size symbol, identify the type of plastic. According to the American Plastics Council, an industry trade group, the symbols alsohelp recyclers do their jobs more effectively.
Easy Plastics to Recycle
The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PETE) and are assigned the number 1.Examples include soda and water bottles, medicine containers, and many other common consumer product containers. Once it has been processed by a recycling facility, PETE can become fiberfill for wintercoats, sleeping bags and life jackets. It can also be used to make bean bags, rope, car bumpers, tennis ball felt, combs, cassette tapes, sails for boats, furniture and, of course, other plasticbottles.
Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo and motor oil. Plastic labeledwith the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, plastic lumber and rope. Like plastic designated number 1, it is widely accepted at recycling centers.
Plastics Less Commonly Recycled
Polyvinylchloride, commonly used in plastic pipes, shower curtains, medical tubing, vinyl dashboards, and even some baby bottle nipples, gets number 3. Like numbers 4 (wrapping films, grocery and sandwichbags, and other containers made of low-density polyethylene) and 5 (polypropylene containers used in Tupperware, among other products), few municipal recycling centers will accept it due to its very low...