Plastic Recycling Guide

Plastic Recycling Numbers Section


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Plastic Recycling Numbers Article

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The Meaning of the Plastic Recycling Numbers

In recent history, there has been a lot of attention paid the numbers found on plastic items of all kinds. Those numbers are in place for recycling purposes.

Just like there are all kinds of plastic products in the world, there are almost as many different types of plastics. In order to be able to properly categorize the plastics, the plastic recycling numbers are placed on a huge assortment of plastic products to help consumers and recycling companies keep which plastics can be recycled and which can’t straight.

As confusing as it seems in the beginning with a little bit of practice you won’t have any trouble keeping the various categories of plastics clear in your mind.

Of course, the easiest place to start is at the beginning. The plastic recycling numbers also start at the beginning with one. Plastics found in the category include soft drink, water, and some beer and other drink bottles. In some cases, the food trays that sometimes come with convenience foods can be used as well.

Most of these plastics are marked with a 1 inside the recycling symbol on the bottom of the container. These plastics can be recycled in used in products like carpets and fiberfill for an assortment of jackets, coats, or even sleeping bags.

Number 2 on the list of plastic recycling numbers refers to such plastic products as laundry detergent bottles and containers. Milk jugs classify as well. As long as the plastic of this type is clear, it can be recycled. It often finds new life as plastic lumber.

That is the material that is typically found in children’s outdoor play sets, but it can also be used for faux wood decks as well.

At this point in the plastic recycling numbers, things start to get a bit harder to recycle. Number 3 plastics consist of things like plumbing piping and clear food packaging.

Most common plastic recycling centers aren’t going to be able to recycle these. As a consumer you can choose to avoid buying products containing number 3 plastics. Number four plastics are virtually impossible to recycle as well. These bags are used for frozen foods and other grocery items.

It’s not that they can’t be recycled. They are so lightweight that it takes more gas and energy to transport them to the recycling center than it does to make virgin plastic bags of this type. Until that changes, number four plastics will continue to go to the landfills.

As a general rule, the higher the plastic recycling numbers, the less likely the items are to be recyclable. When you are putting your recycling together for collection, be sure to double check your numbers.