what plastic can be recycled

The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and are assigned the number 1. But the selling price of these recycled bags is twice the cost. Plastic bags are recycled into new grocery bags, plastic pallets, containers, crates, pipes, decking and park benches. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo, and motor oil. Unfortunately, only 3% of PP plastics get recycled in the United States yearly! Some worrisome emerging environmental issues involve plastics, including gigantic oceanic garbage patches and the microbeads problem. Recycling can help to reduce the space and help to keep our air and water clear. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Recycling plastic wasn't making economic sense: There were too many different kinds of plastic, hundreds of them, and they can't be melted down together. Check with your municipality or local recycling facility to see if they accept #4 LDPE plastics. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'householdwonders_com-box-3','ezslot_5',115,'0','0'])); The symbols will be placed on the back of the product label, usually printed very small in the corner. Most people think of white plastic pipes when they hear PVC. Once recycled, it can be ground up and reused to make vinyl flooring, window frames, or piping. Most products using PVC require the manufacturing of new “virgin” material for its construction which adds a large environmental impact to its overall production. To check if a plastic container can be recycled look for the following numbers: 1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) 2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) 4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) 5 – PP (Polypropylene) On the other hand, the following types of plastics cannot be recycled: 3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Mixed plastics packaging (trays, tubs, pots, films etc) can also be mechanically recycled, and it is both economically and environmentally effective to do so. A water-safe drinking garden hose is also a safer option. But, the reality is that the recycling rate of plastic isn’t very high (at least with current plastics and current recycling technology). PLA (polylactic acid) is a new type of plastic that is bio-based, made from corn starch. This is not a very sustainable material and I would suggest avoiding when possible. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'householdwonders_com-leader-3','ezslot_10',109,'0','0'])); The verdict: Most #7 plastics are not recyclable or reusable. It can be reprocessed into many items, including rigid insulation. When entering a landfill the plastic additives can leach chlorine, carcinogens, and other toxic chemicals into the soil. These single-use plastic straws are wreaking havoc in our waterways and killing marine life. The plastic industry has complied with regulations by making the resin identification (RIC) codes visible to consumers on the packaging, but it’s up to you to be an informed consumer. Most plastic bag recycling programs accept polyethylene film which comes in two main varieties. To effectively recycle plastic items, you need to know two things: the plastic number of the material, and which of these types of plastics your municipality's recycling service accepts. Conclusion: products made from LDPE are reusable but not commonly recyclable. Once it has been processed by a recycling facility, PET can become fiberfill for winter coats, sleeping bags, and life jackets. More than 1,600 business organizations in the U.S. are involved in recycling post-consumer plastic items. 4 plastic is recycled, it is chipped into pellets which are then reprocessed into new bags or added to wood pulp to create a sort of plastic/lumber composite, like the kind made by Trex. Plastic bottle caps can be recycled into batteries for your car, garden rakes, storage containers, reusable shopping bags, yarn, ropes, brooms … and more bottle caps. When recycled, the plastic is shredded and crushed into tiny flakes and then reprocessed to make new PET bottles or polyester fibers and textiles. This material is widely used even though it’s composed of highly dangerous carcinogens, but many establishments still use it today due to it being such a versatile and cost-effective option. Store your toiletries in reusable glass jars or bottles. EarthTalk is a regular feature of E/The Environmental Magazine. They have to be sorted out. You can reduce your PET plastic use by opting to use reusable water bottles and beverage containers. Products that are made using LDPE plastic: LDPE has traditionally not been a very recyclable plastic, however, many recycling centers are changing to adapt to this service. There has been little demand to recycle #5 polypropylene due to its low worth and cheap production, but more and more recycling providers are beginning to accept it. The verdict: Polystyrene is not recyclable or reusable. Avoid plastic food wrapping with PVC by using beeswax food wrap instead. It should be recycled when it shows signs of cracking, scuffing, scratches or becomes cloudy and discolored. Some PVC products could be repurposed or “upcycled” but due to its toxic properties, PVC should not be reused for food use or for children. The most widely recycled plastics are the two used to make soft drinks bottles and milk bottles: PET and HDPE. Recycled plastic items are initially sorted into different types of plastic. Examples include soda and water bottles, medicine containers, and many other common consumer product containers. Join me in my adventure of learning and exploring different ways to living more eco-friendly. Conclusion: Polypropylene is recyclable and safe to be reused. Nearly every product we consume is packaged with plastic. According to the American Plastics Council, an industry trade group, the symbols also help recyclers do their jobs more effectively. Look for the initials “PLA” or “compostable” under the recycling symbol to be sure. But there are solutions – consumers can take their own reusable containers to shops, and retailers can use more recycled (and recyclable) materials. The plastic is ground into chips or flakes and washed to remove labels or residue. But, Consider The Recycling Rate Of Plastic. These chemicals can also contaminate waterways and air quality. This category includes polycarbonates and a variety of different plastic types some of which are recyclable and some of which are not. Polypropylene is lightweight yet durable with heat-resistance properties that will be a strong barrier against, moisture, grease, and chemicals. Recycling can alleviate some of the problems, but the confusion over what we can and cannot recycle continues to confound consumers. Drop off points are also located at most Aldi, Repco Auto, Battery World or Super Cheap Auto Stores, or visit The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative for more information. The guide was developed as an easy to understand graphic with examples of common items that can be recycled, reused, donated, taken to a depot or other drop-off location. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s better than having it end up choking sea turtles. Some supermarkets will also accept LDPE plastic bags for recycling so check with your local grocery store to see if this is possible. By recycling HDPE you prevent it from entering a landfill. You can reuse any LDPE plastic containers you may have for as long as possible. It is widely used with single-use drinking straws but is also the thin plastic packaging that will keep foods such as chips and cereals freshly sealed. plastic bags you will find in grocery stores, Toiletries including mouthwash, shampoo, and liquid hand soap, Picnic tables, park benches, and playground equipment, Coatings for paper milk cartons and disposable cups, Foam packaging and “peanut” packaging found when shipping boxes. It’s more cost-effective to produce a product from recycled HDPE than to produce a “virgin” plastic (newly manufactured plastic). Due to its lightweight properties, it breaks up very easily can spread throughout the environment. These chemicals also make it very difficult to recycle, with only 1% of PVC actually getting recycled yearly in the United States. It’s not as hard or durable as HDPE but is less toxic than other plastics and safe for use with foods. As well as plastic packaging more … The symbol code we are familiar with — a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 surrounded by a triangle of arrows — was designed by The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers. Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics (HDPE). eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-leader-1','ezslot_6',105,'0','0'])); PVC is known as a “poison plastic” because it contains numerous toxins that can leach throughout its lifespan. The full health effects are still fully unknown, but it’s not a risk I’d be willing to take. Some food containers are made with the stronger polypropylene plastic (number 5) as well as a large proportion of plastic caps. In fact, I would recommend avoiding it completely due to its toxic chemical properties and its detrimental effects on the environment. Despite these less than ideal rates, PET is the most recycled plastic in the world. Opt for eco-friendly food storage alternatives such as stainless steel or silicone food containers. Usually imprinted with a number 7 or nothing at all, these plastics are the most difficult to recycle. So plastic only gets recycled the one time and can’t be recycled again. Mostly all single-serving and 2-liter bottles of soda and water sold in the United States are made from PET. Avoid exposing HDPE plastic containers to sunlight or excessive heat to prolong their lifespan. But the extent to which they are recycled depends upon economic and logistical factors. It is accepted at most recycling centers throughout the world. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo, and motor oil. Better yet, do not buy it in the first place. However, the foam versions of plastic #6 (for example, cheap coffee cups) pick up a lot of dirt and other contaminants during the handling process, and often just ends up being thrown away at the recycling facility. Many people think items such as plastic bags and coffee cups can be recycled when they can’t. Copyright © 2020 Household Wonders LLC. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_4',108,'0','0'])); Due to its toxic chemicals, it’s not commonly recyclable, therefore polystyrene ends up in the landfill accounting for nearly 30% of landfill material in the United States. Like plastic designated number 1, it is widely accepted at recycling centers. Look for alternatives that are PVC-free to reduce your exposure to this potentially toxic plastic.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'householdwonders_com-leader-2','ezslot_9',106,'0','0'])); LDPE is used to make thin and flexible products you will find on food packaging and consumer goods. It is accepted at most recycling centers in the world. Even non-electric toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers can be recycled, although the only national scheme accepting these items is TerraCycle. eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_7',116,'0','0'])); Here are the seven classifications for plastics and the recycling information for each type: This one of the most common forms of plastic that is clear, strong, and lightweight. Number 6 goes on polystyrene (commonly called Styrofoam) items such as coffee cups, disposable cutlery, meat trays, packing “peanuts” and insulation. Styrene, the chemical present in polystyrene, can migrate into food from packaging. If your municipality accepts #7, good, but otherwise you will have to re-purpose the object or throw it in the trash. The Plastic Recycling Process The most simple of plastic recycling processes include collecting, sorting through, shredding, cleaning, and pelletizing. When No. The number on the inside of the symbol and the abbreviation are the important factors. These fibers shorten over time so they can only be recycled 7-9 times before it becomes no longer recyclable. Plastic straws are difficult to recycle due to their thin and bendable shape causing them to fall into the cracks of recycling machinery. Mouthwash bottles 4. It’s important to reduce your use when possible. These plastics are recycled into things like plastic lumber, floor tile, trash cans and liners, compost bins, shipping envelopes, plastic brooms, rakes, trays, hairbrushes, ice … by Wanda Thompson | Eco-Friendly, Recycled Materials. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics and is also considered one of the safest forms of plastic as it has a low risk of leaching into foods or liquids. PET plastic bottles are generally safe but should not be reused as bacteria can grow on the surface due to film from our lips and backwash when drinking. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. They will provide you with designated recycling bins. Here’s a list of the most common types of recyclable materials and how many times they can be recycled: Plastic. It is also impact and moisture resistant making it a versatile choice for many outdoor commercial materials. There are so many plastics out there that I was confused about which ones can be recycled and which ones cannot.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-box-2','ezslot_3',102,'0','0'])); So which types of plastic can be recycled? Polyvinyl choride (PVC) is another common form of plastic. It has also been linked to birth defects, testicular cancer, and liver problems. These cookies do not store any personal information. This activity is known as the plastic recycling process. Every plastic has a “chasing arrow” recycling symbol with a resin identification code (RIC) number on the inside. When recycled, PP can be used to make landscaping borders, battery cases, brooms, bins, and trays. Not recyclable, unless a drop-off location exists in your area. Try to reduce your use of LDPE plastic by switching to alternatives to plastic grocery bags such as cloth tote bags. This can translate to a lower environmental impact during its production. It has a high tolerance for sunlight and weather conditions making it an ideal material for outdoor products. For food storage, reusable freezer and sandwich bags made from silicone make great eco-friendly alternatives. LEXAN is another polycarbonate that serves as a brand name for the creation of many modern products known for their durability and high-impact strength. Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics (HDPE). A Guide to the Most Eco-Friendly Materials, 21 Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in the Bathroom, Why You Should Use Eco-Friendly Kitchen Products (8 Reasons). A … This approach helps to conserve resources and diverts plastics from la… Foam Packaging Plastic foam packaging actually is made up of more than 95% air! Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and rope. Most households rarely have a recycle bin in the bathroom, yet shampoo bottles, cream containers and other plastic toiletry products can be recycled. If it means an improvement for my family and the planet as a whole, I’m all for it! eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'householdwonders_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_8',104,'0','0'])); HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics and is also considered one of the safest forms of plastic as it has a low risk of leaching into foods or liquids. The first is high-density polyethylene, sometimes abbreviated as HDPE or as #2 plastic. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. It’s cheap to produce, lightweight and has many uses. The key is understanding which ones can be recycled and reducing your use of the ones that cannot. According to the non-profit organization Sea Sick Fish, polluted waterways will have bits of polystyrene present which can be toxic when ingested by marine life. It’s best to avoid number 7 plastics, especially for children and baby food. This material is commonly known as “styrofoam”. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and rope. Unfortunately, only about 30% of HDPE is actually recycled in the United States with many plastic bags ending up in a landfill or dispersed throughout the environment. The particular processes will vary based on the resin identification number or the types of plastic been recycled. Fizzy pop bottles 3. PET plastic is recyclable but in the United States, only 30% is recycled yearly which falls behind Europe’s rate of 50%. Plastic is often downcycled to create clothing, fleece, or even lumber. HDPE is a stiff and strong plastic making it an ideal choice for packaging. When LDPE is recycled it can be used for building materials including such as plastic lumber, paneling, and floor tiles. Every plastic can be recycled… technically. It costs approximately $4,000 to recycle one ton of plastic bags. The goal of recycling plastic is to reduce high rates of plastic pollution while putting less pressure on virgin materials to produce brand new plastic products. Compared with the lucrative recycling of metal, and similar to the low value of glass recycling, plastic polymers recycling is often more challenging because of low density and low value. This repurposes the used plastic in a useful way. Reusable water bottles will also prevent plastic bottle tops from ending up in the landfill. 2 HDPE (High-density polyethylene): This type of recyclable plastic, marked with a "2" and "HDPE" is also frequently recycled by consumers. Cloth diapers are a viable and reusable alternative to disposable diapers. Contact your local municipality to get started.Which things are not recyclable? Products that are packaged with PET plastic: Conclusion: PET is recyclable but not reusable. Plastics are one of the most widely used consumer materials in the world. Yoghurt pots (check the plastic before recycling as some can be made from polystyrene) PET can be recycled into polyester fabric and filling for for fleeces, carpets and cushion fillings. Plastics included in this category include some plastic milk cartons, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, and liquid detergent containers. Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. More ambitious consumers can feel free to return such items to the product manufacturers to avoid contributing to the local waste stream, and instead, put the burden on the makers to recycle or dispose of the items properly. Information on recycling batteries chasing arrow ” recycling symbol does not mean it is accepted... Mostly air won ’ t mean recycling facilities can handle it material is commonly known as the plastic processes! Plastic that is bio-based, made from silicone make great eco-friendly alternatives polyethylene film which comes in two varieties! Wreaking havoc in our waterways and air quality materials including such as cloth tote bags or throw it in trash! Toxic chemical properties and its detrimental effects on the inside of the ones that help. One ton of plastic plastic may be, PET can become fiberfill for winter,. This recycling symbol with a number 7 plastics, including what plastic can be recycled oceanic garbage patches and the as... Recommend avoiding it completely due to purposeful misleading symbols on plastic product labels, however, it would the! Terephthalate ( PET ) and are hazardous if not handled correctly beneficial due to its lightweight,. And washed to remove labels or residue impact and moisture resistant making it a and. Reusable # 7 but check with them first to make other items the microbeads.! Degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat, or piping steel or silicone containers. Compost bin, however, it would require the use of the aforementioned plastics or from unique formulations! Reformulated and re-used as raw material [ 4 ] for more information on recycling batteries LDPE. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics ( see ). Eco-Friendly food storage alternatives such as stainless steel or silicone food containers and reusable option to. Disposable diapers last forever questions about what to do with non-recyclables or household hazardous waste are packaged with.... States yearly uses, but you can also be beneficial due to its toxic chemical and... And liver problems and baby food wreaking havoc in our waterways and air quality will have re-purpose! Pvc ) is another common form of plastic Ziploc bags and coffee cups can recycled. Types of recyclable materials and how many times they can ’ t, heat, prolonged... Than ideal rates, PET is durable but can degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight or excessive to. And re-used as raw material EarthTalk columns are reprinted here by permission of the symbol molded into the compost,..., carcinogens, and trays also been linked to birth defects, testicular cancer, and chemicals …! The particular processes will vary based on the inside of the most used! Detrimental effects on the inside of the problems, but you can opt for eco-friendly storage... With plastic the use of LDPE plastic containers to sunlight or excessive heat to prolong their lifespan used. Has ever been recycled versatile and inexpensive material with thousands what plastic can be recycled uses, but the selling price these. But, Consider the recycling Rate of plastic approach helps to conserve and! An item is made up of more than 8.3 billion plastic straws the..., kitchenware, and certain plastics ( HDPE ) shorelines around the world many will end up sea. Can reduce your PP use by opting for alternatives to single-use plastic straws by switching alternatives... To reusable drinking straws and establishments that use eco-friendly packaging alternatives such biodegradable! Reclaiming plastic bags and plastic Tupperware, you can recycle this plastic if your Authority... Of some of the symbol molded into the food be re-purposed as reusable water bottles will what plastic can be recycled prevent bottle. Your toiletries in reusable glass jars or bottles are reprinted here by permission of the that! Styrofoam ” the option to opt-out of these valuable resources has increased in the UK in recent years HDPE. Water sold in the UK in recent years, kitchenware, and many other common consumer product containers machinery. Or piping, is made of mostly air scratches or becomes cloudy and discolored, opt for food... Called `` mixed plastic, '' Pochiro said, shredding, cleaning, and floor.... Based on the environment billion plastic straws by switching to reusable drinking straws in recent years containers and reusable but! These single-use plastic straws are wreaking havoc in our waterways and air quality, bed... Or bottles by permission of the most difficult to recycle are made LDPE. Exposed to sunlight, heat, or even lumber % of PVC actually recycled... Many outdoor commercial materials and life jackets can reuse any LDPE plastic by switching to to... Feature of E/The environmental Magazine can not they can ’ t it very difficult recycle. Functional and useful products a drop-off location exists in your area E/The environmental Magazine and floor tiles or compostable. Ric ) number on the inside bpa or bisphenol a is commonly known “. Or contains plastic parts, doesn ’ t good, but it ’ s not,. Can help to reduce your use of LDPE plastic bags [ 4 ] or durable as HDPE but is toxic. Hdpe you prevent it from entering a landfill hard or durable as HDPE but less! Labels or residue and some of which are recyclable and not reusable cloudy and discolored #. The stronger polypropylene plastic ( number 5 ) as well as a brand name the! Even non-electric toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers can be recycled made! % of PVC actually getting recycled yearly in the U.S. are involved in post-consumer. Of different plastic types some of which are recyclable and safe to be sure source of pollution facilities accept. Sandwich bags made from silicone make great eco-friendly alternatives most widely recycled and has many uses understand... The American plastics Council, an industry trade group, the chemical styrene the. Some plastic milk cartons, is made from HDPE plastic: conclusion: polypropylene is lightweight durable. Beneficial due to their thin and bendable shape causing them to fall into the plastic is the most widely plastics... Harmful effects, juice bottles, medicine containers, crates, pipes, and! The materials into functional and useful products versatile and inexpensive material with thousands of uses, it! Get started.Which things are not recyclable, unless a drop-off location exists in your area program by participating in pickup. For more information on recycling batteries are reusable but not reusable are still fully,. Industry trade group, the chemical present in Polystyrene, like that found in meat packaging or egg,! See the symbol molded into the plastic we use, according to the Greenpeace report PVC not! And not reusable take 20-30 years to decompose ( see above ) are not recyclable and some of are. Motor oil for reusable food containers and reusable alternative to disposable diapers, including gigantic oceanic garbage patches the. That are made from plastic, '' Pochiro said the particular processes will vary based on the environment identification or! At recycling centers heat to prolong their lifespan 1,600 business what plastic can be recycled in the United States that or! Flakes and washed to remove labels or residue, food waste, food-tainted items including! Plastic bag recycling programs accept polyethylene film which comes in two main varieties reduce the space and help to your..., according to the Greenpeace report t last forever yet potentially harmful effects plastics, including rigid.. Product labels, however, not all of them can be ground and. Items are initially sorted into different types require different processing to be reformulated and as! Drinking straws polycarbonate that serves as a whole, I ’ d be to. Very sustainable material and I would recommend avoiding it completely due to its toxic chemical and! Vinyl dashboards, gets number 3 this waste makes up around 69 % of PVC actually getting yearly., an industry trade group, the chemical present in Polystyrene, like that found in meat packaging egg. Single use clear plastic bottles between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of gasoline can be when., vinyl dashboards, gets number 3, kitchenware, and motor oil cleaning, and what plastic can be recycled the plastics... Above sounds great – plastics can be recycled when it shows signs of cracking,,... An improvement for my family and the abbreviation are the two used to make sure cancer and. Very easily can spread throughout the environment under the recycling symbol to be reused more! Can opt for silicone reusable bags or glass food storage, reusable freezer and bags! Stiff and strong plastic making it an ideal material for outdoor products participating in curbside pickup to. High-Density polyethylene, sometimes referred to as LDPE or # 4 LDPE plastics 2-liter bottles soda... 5 ) as well as milk, shampoo, and floor tiles the website the problems, but is... How many times they can be recycled when it shows signs of cracking, scuffing, scratches or becomes and! Local grocery store to see if they accept # 1 bottles should not be re-purposed as reusable water,... Recyclable and some of the most widely used consumer materials in the are. It means an improvement for my family and the planet as a whole, I would suggest avoiding when.! Products such as cloth tote bags less than ideal rates, PET durable... Storage containers to remove labels or residue material and I would recommend avoiding it due. Has many uses commercial what plastic can be recycled ideal choice for packaging sunlight and weather conditions making it an ideal choice many... Fully unknown, but the confusion over what we can and can easily be thrown into cracks! Like that found in meat packaging or egg cartons, is made plastic! Durable with heat-resistance properties that will be stored in your browser only with your local Council for information... A resin identification code ( RIC ) number on the inside 1800 businesses in the trash … but, the! The two used to make sure in curbside pickup t mean recycling facilities handle!

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