Monday, July 7, 2008

What Do Those Plastic Recycling Numbers Mean?

I recently moved away from one of the best recycling facilities in the U.S. where literally everything could be recycled. Now I'm having to re-learn the numbers on plastics and different types of paper products my local community will accept.

I've found a tidy list on today that will work perfect! I'm going to print out this list and put it on the fridge for everyone to learn. (Getting everyone in the house to cooperate is another story!) I'll write the numbers on the plastic recycling bin to help.

For plastics, recycling numbers usually appear on the bottom of containers.
Usually recyclable:
1. PET - 2-liter and mouthwash bottles, boil-in-bag pouches.
2. HDPE - milk jugs, trash bags, detergent bottles, some yogurt cups.
Sometimes recyclable:
3. PVC - cooking-oil bottles, meat packaging, office binders.
4. LDPE - grocery bags, produce bags, food wrap.
5. PP - diapers, straws, yogurt containers.
6. PS - CD cases, egg cartons, Styrofoam.
Not so much...
7. Other - other types of plastic, plus things made from more than one type of plastic (see below).
Bioplastics (7, and marked as either compostable or biodegradable):
7. Compostable Plastic - is nontoxic and breaks down as fast as paper in compost.
7. Biodegradable Plastic - may contain toxins, so you have to send it to a special composting facility (enter compost and your zip at Earth911, see below).

Commonly questioned items:

Container Caps - typically different plastics than the container; take 'em off, check the # inside, and either recycle or throw them away.

Grocery Bags - reuse them first! You usually can't recycle them curbside, but some supermarkets have bins in-store. Check out these reusable canvas bags from, very good and very inexpensive! Reusable Grocery Tote Bag 5 Pack Combo or Try these bags that are made from recycled plastic that I recently started using. They have a nice flat bottom! - go here to find out if you can recycle specific items in your area.

This reminds me.... we also saw the movie Wall-e, and it really got my 8yro thinking about the "story of stuff" video. (If you haven't seen this one yet, do it now and forward this to your friends!) He's actually starting to save money instead of it burning a hole through his pocket into the toy store!

1 comment:

  1. I wondered what all those numbers meant! Totally cool story of stuff video too. I like your blog!


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