Have you ever observed embossed markings and numbers at the bottom of plastic containers or bottle caps? These plastic recycling codes give information about the type of plastic and whether it can be recycled. Understanding these codes is essential for responsible recycling practices that minimize the ecological footprint of plastic products.
Plastic Recycling Codes
The recycling symbols chart provides information about the type of plastic used in their production.
The plastic recycling codes and numbers, encapsulated within a triangular symbol known as the resin identification code, offer valuable information about the composition of plastic products.
Recycling facilities use the codes to sort plastics efficiently during the recycling process. Different types of plastics require specific processing methods, and the codes aid in separating them appropriately. Some curbside bins accept plastic trash based on this numbering.
Plastic Recycling Symbols Chart
Here is a table with plastic recycling numbers 1-7 chart with examples and recyclability.
Now, let’s go through the recycling numbers 1-7 chart in detail.
Code 1: PET/PETE for Polyethylene Terephthalate
Examples: beverage bottles, water bottles, food containers, personal care products, and liquid dispensers.
Recycled into: new bottles and containers; and polyester fibers for textiles.
Code 2: HDPE is High-Density Polyethylene
Examples: Water and gas pipes, heavy-duty trash bags, milk jugs, detergent bottles, and grocery bags.
Recycled into: Plastic lumber used for furniture, automotive parts such as fuel tanks and bumpers, bins, and buckets.
Code 3: PVC is Polyvinyl Chlorine
Examples: Plumbing pipes, cables wires, bubble wrap, playmats, children’s toys, table cloths, and vinyl flooring.
Recycled into: This material is tough to recycle, but there are very rare recycling processes that make garden hoses and traffic cones.
Code 4: LDPE is known as Low-Density Polyethylene
Examples: Plastic wrap, stretch film, squeezable toys, caps, and bottles, and carrier bags.
Recycled into: It is low-quality plastic that is not worthy of recycling but can be made into bin liners and packaging films.
Code 5: PP is called Polypropylene
Examples: Medical products (syringes, vials), margarine tubs, woven bags, battery cases, storage bins, and kitchenware.
Recycled into: This kind of plastic is very difficult to recycle and an expensive process.
Code 6: PS is Polystyrene (Soli & Foam)
Examples: Styrofoam cups, plastic plates and bowls, takeout containers, transparent cases for CDs and DVDs, egg cartons, meat and poultry trays.
Recycled into: It is rarely recycled because it’s not cost-effective.
Code 7: Other Types of Plastics
It includes Polylactic Acid (PLA), Acrylonitrile Butadiene (AB), Bisphenol A (BPA), acrylic, nylon and polycarbonate.
Examples: Sports equipment, baby milk bottles, CD, DVDs, eye lens, automotive parts, roofing sheets, oxygenators, dialysis machines, and bulletproof glass.
Recycled into: Due to the use of various types of plastic, the products made from them are difficult to recycle.
Also, check out How to Recycle Plastic Properly at Home: 10 Creative Ways
Recycling Plastic Guidelines for Safety
Reducing our reliance on plastic and minimizing its use is crucial. While it may be impractical to eliminate plastic usage, plastic recycling codes provide us with a valuable tool to differentiate between recyclable and non-recyclable plastics, enabling us to make informed choices.
Plastics labeled with Codes 2, 4, and 5 are the most suitable for recycling.
Code 1 plastic is considered safe for recycling, but it can only be recycled once. Therefore, it is highly recommended to avoid using this type of plastic.
Plastics labeled with Codes 3, 6, and 7 are not suitable for standard recycling procedures and can potentially have negative impacts on both human health and the environment. It is strongly advised to refrain from using or disposing of these types of plastics.
What does the Plastic Recycling Symbol Mean?
The term universal recycling symbol also known as Mobius loop does not have a language barrier, it is a unifying symbol for the global recycling movement.
1. First arrow – It is about using less stuff to make less waste generation.
2. Second Arrow – It shows the importance of reusing products and materials more than once. It makes them last longer, and we can use fewer new resources.
3. Third Arrow – It indicates recycling, i.e. putting things in special bins to be made into new stuff. It’s a good way to keep things out of the garbage and use them again.
The arrows in the recycle symbol go in a clockwise direction on purpose. It shows that we should always try to use less, reuse what we can, and recycle to keep things going in a cycle. This is like a continuous loop showing the whole process.
Cross-Referenece: What do the numbers on plastics really mean?
The plastic recycling codes and numbers chart provide a systematic approach to identifying and recycling different types of plastics. As you are now aware of these codes, you can actively participate in responsible waste disposal practices. For more such informative content, keep exploring our website.