Mother Earth Living

Know Your Plastics: Plastic Recycling Guide

Get to know your plastics.
By Brian Clark Howard
September/October 2008
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

All plastics are not created equal. If you must buy plastic, use this handy guide from The Daily Green to choose the best type.

Number 1: PET or PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate)
Found in: Soft drink and water bottles, boil-in-bag containers, condiment containers
Recycling: Most curbside recycling programs
Recycled into: Fleece and other fibers, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling

Number 2: HDPE (High density polyethylene)
Found in: Milk jugs, personal care bottles, trash and shopping bags, butter/yogurt tubs, cereal box liners
Recycling: Most curbside recycling programs
Recycled into: Detergent bottles, pens, floor tile, pipe, lumber, outdoor furniture, fencing

Number 3: V or PVC (Vinyl or polyvinyl chloride)
Found in: Cleaning product bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping
Recycling: Rarely recycled but accepted by some plastic lumber makers
Recycled into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats

Number 4: LDPE (Low density polyethylene)
Found in: Grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, squeezable bottles, tote bags, clothing, furniture, carpet
Recycling: Not often recycled through curbside programs; shopping bags can be recycled through many stores
Recycled into: Trash cans/liners, compost bins, shipping envelopes, lumber, landscaping, tile
 
Number 5:
PP (Polypropylene)
Found in: Syrup/ketchup bottles, yogurt containers, drink lids, caps and straws, medicine bottles
Recycling: Recycled through some curbside programs
Recycled into: Streetlights, battery cables, brooms, rakes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, bins

Number 6: PS (Polystyrene)
Found in: Disposable dishes, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, medicine bottles, CD cases
Recycling: Recycled through some curbside programs
Recycled into: Insulation, light-switch plates, egg cartons, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers

Number 7: (Miscellaneous, including polycarbonate)
Found in: “Bullet-proof” materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod/computer cases, signs and displays, food containers, nylon
Recycling: Traditionally not recycled; some curbside programs now take them
Recycled into: Plastic lumber,  custom-made products








Post a comment below.

 














Subscribe Today!

Pay Now & Save 58% Off the Cover Price

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here