Sorting plastics for recycling is one of the many ways that we can help lessen the negative impact that it has on our environment. Consumer goods are ever increasing in the market and different kinds of plastics are the go-to containers for them. So, it is important that we know what kind of plastics we are bringing into our homes; to make it easier for us to identify them for recycling. It is one of the easiest way to taking your first step towards environmental wellness.
Common Uses of Plastic
A plastic water bottle is the most common item that comes to mind when we talk about recycling plastic. But there are different types of plastics that we use in our everyday life and a lot of these plastic items can be recycled.
- LDPE film (stretch wrap, sheet film, clean plastic bags)
- PET pallet banding
- Big bags
- PP/PE packaging
- Kraft Poly-lined bags (the kraft is paper)
- Plastic drums and buckets
- HDPE belting and tooling
- Various PPE gear
Types of Plastic
Plastic producers use a numeric resin identification coding (RIC) system to determine the polymers or resin used in them. Not all plastics have resin in them but this coding system help make them easier to identify for recycling. You will usually see this code at the bottom of bottles or at the bottom corner of other plastic items.
1 PETE – Plyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE): water bottles
2 HDPE – High Density Plyethylene (HDPE): milk bottles, bags
3 PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): juice bottles, cling wrap
4 LDPE – Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): squeezable bottles
5 PP – Polypropylene: yogurt cups, plasticware
6 PS – Polystyrene (PS): egg cartoons, packing peanuts
07 O – Other: Often Polycarbonate or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), bottles, auto body parts
Even though not all plastics contain resin codes; it is important t still sort them because they can still be reused. Sorting plastic by their type also helps to reduce contamination during recycling so that they can be recycled properly. Remember to wash them thoroughly with soap and water and dry them before taking them to a recycling center.
Don’t forget that electronic gadgets have plastic parts too but they contain more chemicals than household plastics. There is a proper way to dispose of electronic wastes that we should follow for these items.