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What the Numbers Mean on Plastic

By admin - Last updated: Monday, December 21, 2009 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Many of us recognize the recycling triangle that is stamped on the bottom of many plastic products. One thing that many us do not know is what the numbers mean or what they are for, that are stamped within this triangle. These numbers tell the recycling plant what type of plastic the container or product is made out of.

Plastic #1 is poltethylene terephtalate or sometimes called PET or PETE for short. Many of the water and soda bottles that are made use this type of plastic. Poltethylene terephtalate is generally a clear type of plastic. This type of plastic is commonly recycled and is picked up by many of the recycling programs in the United States.

water bottle for recyclingPlastic #2 is polyethylene and has a high density. This type of plastic is also called HDPE. Many common product containers are made out of this such as detergent bottles, butter containers, juice bottles, milk jugs, shampoo bottles and other toiletry containers. This is another type of plastic that is picked up by most recycling programs also.

Plastic #3 is polyvinyl chloride or commonly known as PVC. This is used to make many of the plastic food wraps, plumbing pipes and in bottles that hold different types of cooking oils. Many curbside programs pick up PVC.

Plastic #4 is low density polyethylene or LDPE. Low density polyethylene is used in the making of plastic grocery bags; squeeze bottles, bread bags and some plastic food wraps. Many recycling programs do not accept plastic #4 at this time.

Plastic #5 is polypropylene. Wide neck bottles such as yogurt containers, water bottles with an opaque finish, drinking straws, medicine bottles, ketchup and syrup bottles are made out of polypropylene. Many curbside-recycling programs are now accepting it.

Plastic #6 is polystyrene or more commonly known as Styrofoam. Polystyrene is used in the making of many products for packing material, food containers, disposable plates and cups. This type of plastic is extremely hard to recycle and is not accepted by many recycling programs.

Plastic #7 is put on plastic products that are made out of all the other types of plastic and plastic combinations. This type of plastic product is used in the making of baby bottles, food containers that resist staining, computer cases and many other products. It should be noted that many of the recycling programs do not accept this type of plastic since it is a combination of plastics and one is note sure what or how much of each type is in it.

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