What Do Recycling Numbers Mean?

The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) implemented a coding system in 1988 to help recyclers determine types of plastics when sorting. On most plastic packaging, you’ll find a recycling logo with a number, one to seven, stamped in the center. The numbers in the triangle indicate the grade of plastic or the resin ID code.
· Code 1- PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)
Found in: soft drink, water, and beer bottles; peanut butter and salad dressing containers; vegetable oil containers; and oven-safe food trays. This is the easiest of plastics to recycle and it can be remade in to bottles and polyester fibers.
· Code 2- HDPE (high-density polyethylene)
Found in: milk jugs, juice, shampoo, detergent bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners. This plastic is also easily recyclable and in to bottles or bags.
· Code 3- PVC or V (polyvinyl chloride or vinyl)
Found in: clear food packaging; wire jacketing; medical equipment; siding; windows, piping. This plastic is difficult to recycle and is an environmental and health threat.
· Code 4- LDPE (low-density polyethylene)
Found in: squeezable bottles; bread, dry cleaning, and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing. Used for different types of wrapping and bags, this type can be recycled in to more of the same.
· Code 5- PP (polypropylene)
Found in: some yogurt containers; syrup bottles; ketchup bottles; caps; straws; medicine bottles. This plastic can be recycled in to fibers.
· Code 6- PS (polystyrene)
Found in disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carryout containers; CD cases. Polystyrene or Styrofoam is difficult to recycle because it is bulky, yet very lightweight.
· Code 7- Other
Found in: bulletproof materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod, computer cases; signs and displays. These materials are not readily recyclable.
Neighborhood News July 2011

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