A few things to keep in mind about these resin identification codes: Developed by plastics industry to faciliate recycling… It is a general catch-all for all plastics other than those identified by numbers 1-7, The little number inside the triangle tells the real story. PET plastic is recyclable and about 25% of PET bottles in the US today are recycled. The ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System, often abbreviated as the RIC, Plastics must be recycled separately, with like materials, in order to preserve the material’
Recycling Symbols 1 – 7
Within each chasing arrows triangle, there’s variety which ranges from one to seven. the aim of the amount is to spot the sort of plastic used for the merchandise , and not all plastics are recyclable or maybe reusable. There are numerous plastic-based products that can’t break down and can’t be recycled.
The ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System, often abbreviated as the RIC, Plastics must be recycled separately, with like materials, in order to preserve the material’ Chemicals like phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA) can leach out of some plastics, including plastics number 3 6 and 7, Have you ever wondered what the numbers, or recycling symbols mean at the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? Did you know that, Many plastics are highly recyclable, but understanding what the recycling symbols mean can seem daunting.
Recycle better with our guide to the 7 plastic symbols to look out for when you’re sorting through plastic recycling. Do your bit for the planet. Understanding the properties of plastic and resin codes helps you make informed 1/7. PET/SPI Code 1:
Plastic resin codes
Understanding the seven plastic codes will make it easier to settle on plastics and to understand which plastics to recycle. for instance , water bottles that display a 3 or a five can’t be recycled in most jurisdictions within the US. a 3 indicates that the bottle has been made up of PVC , a five means it’s been made from polypropylene, two materials that aren’t accepted by most public recycling centers.
Here are the seven standard classifications for plastics, and therefore the recycling and reuse information for every type.
#1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
PET is one among the foremost commonly used plastics in consumer products, and is found in most water and pop bottles, and a few packaging. it’s intended for single use applications; repeated use increases the danger of leaching and bacterial growth. PET plastic is difficult to decontaminate, and proper cleaning requires harmful chemicals. Polyethylene terephthalates may leach carcinogens.
PET plastic is recyclable and about 25% of PET bottles within the US today are recycled. The plastic is crushed then shredded into small flakes which are then reprocessed to form new PET bottles, or spun into polyester . This recycled fiber is employed to form textiles like fleece garments, carpets, stuffing for pillows and life jackets, and similar products.
Products made from #1 (PET) plastic should be recycled but not reused.
To use less PET plastic, consider switching to reusable beverage containers and replacing disposable food packaging with reusable alternatives.
#2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
HDPE plastic is that the stiff plastic wont to make milk jugs, detergent and oil bottles, toys, and a few plastic bags. HDPE is that the most ordinarily recycled plastic and is taken into account one among the safest sorts of plastic. it’s a comparatively simple and cost-effective process to recycle HDPE plastic for secondary use.
HDPE plastic is extremely hard-wearing and doesn’t break down under exposure to sunlight or extremes of heating or freezing. For this reason, HDPE is employed to form picnic tables, plastic lumber, waste bins, park benches, bed liners for trucks and other products which require durability and weather-resistance. it’s also a well-liked material for recycled plastic raised garden beds.
Products made from HDPE are reusable and recyclable.
However, since only about 30-35% of HDPE plastic utilized in America gets recycled annually , it’s knowing use as little as possible. to chop down, consider replacing your disposable produce bags with reusable alternatives.
#3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
PVC may be a soft, flexible plastic wont to explain plastic food wrapping, vegetable oil bottles, teething rings, children’s and pets’ toys, and blister packaging for myriad consumer products. it’s commonly used because the sheathing material for computer cables, to form plastic pipes and parts for plumbing, and in garden hoses. Because PVC is comparatively impervious to sunlight and weather, it’s wont to make window frames, garden hoses, arbors, raised beds and trellises.
PVC is dubbed the “poison plastic” because it contains numerous toxins which it can leach throughout its entire life cycle. most products using PVC require virgin material for his or her construction; but 1% of PVC material is recycled.
Products made using PVC plastic aren’t recyclable. While some PCV products are often repurposed, PVC products shouldn’t be reused for applications with food or for children’s use.
To avoid items made with PVC plastic, consider replacing plastic food wrap with reusable beeswax wraps; plastic toys with reclaimed wool stuffed animals; and your PVC hose with a beverage Safe hose .
#4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
LDPE is usually found in shrink wraps, cleaner garment bags, squeezable bottles, and therefore the sort of plastic bags wont to package bread. The plastic grocery bags utilized in most stores today are made using LDPE plastic. Some clothing and furniture also uses this sort of plastic.
LDPE is taken into account less toxic than other plastics, and comparatively safe to be used . it’s not commonly recycled, however, although this is often changing in many communities today as more plastic recycling programs fix to handle this material. When recycled, LDPE plastic is employed for plastic lumber, landscaping boards, ashcan liners and floor tiles. Products made using recycled LDPE aren’t as hard or rigid as those made using recycled HDPE plastic.
Products made using LDPE plastic are reusable, but not always recyclable. you would like to ascertain together with your local collection service to see if they’re accepting LDPE plastic items for recycling.
To cut down on the quantity of LDPE that you simply consume, try replacing your plastic grocery bags with fabric alternatives and taking a cloth bag to your local bakery subsequent time you purchase a loaf of bread. you’ll also replace plastic sandwich bags with platinum silicone alternatives, which are heat safe.
#5 – PP (Polypropylene)
Polypropylene plastic is hard and light-weight , and has excellent heat-resistance qualities. It is a barrier against moisture, grease and chemicals. once you attempt to open the skinny plastic liner during a box , it’s polypropylene. This keeps your cereal dry and fresh. PP is additionally commonly used for disposable diapers, pails, plastic bottle tops, margarine and yogurt containers, chip bags, straws, packing tape and cord .
Polypropylene is recyclable through some curbside recycling programs, but only about 3% of PP products are currently being recycled within the US. Recycled PP is employed to form landscaping border stripping, battery cases, brooms, bins and trays. However, #5 plastic is today becoming more accepted by recyclers.
PP is taken into account safe for reuse. To recycle products made up of PP, ask your local curbside program to ascertain if they’re now accepting this material.
To cut down on what proportion PP you consume, choose reusable straws rather than plastic ones, reusable water bottles, and cloth diapers.
#6 – PS (Polystyrene)
Polystyrene is a cheap , lightweight and easily-formed plastic with a good sort of uses. it’s most frequently wont to make disposable foam drinking cups, take-out “clamshell” food containers, egg cartons, plastic picnic cutlery, foam packaging and people ubiquitous “peanut” foam chips wont to fill shipping boxes to guard the contents. Polystyrene is additionally widely wont to make rigid foam insulation and underlay sheeting for laminate flooring utilized in home construction.
Because polystyrene is structurally weak and ultra-lightweight, it breaks up easily and is dispersed readily throughout the natural environment. Beaches everywhere the planet have bits of polystyrene lapping at the shores, and an untold number of marine species have ingested this plastic with immeasurable consequences to their health.
Polystyrene may leach styrene, a possible human carcinogen, into food products (especially when heated during a microwave). Chemicals present in polystyrene are linked with human health and genital system dysfunction.
Recycling isn’t widely available for polystyrene products. Most curbside collection services won’t accept polystyrene, which is why this material accounts for about 35% folks landfill material. While the technology for recycling polystyrene is out there , the marketplace for recycling is little . Awareness among consumers has grown, however, and polystyrene is being reused more often. While it’s difficult to seek out a recycler for PS, some businesses like Mailboxes Etc. which give shipping services are happy to receive foam packing chips for reuse.
Polystyrene should be avoided where possible.
To eliminate polystyrene from your trash, try a reusable cup , compostable or reusable picnic cutlery, and chrome steel takeaway containers.
#7 – Other (BPA, Polycarbonate and LEXAN)
The #7 category was designed as a catch-all for polycarbonate (PC) and “other” plastics, so reuse and recycling protocols aren’t standardized within this category. Of primary concern with #7 plastics, however, is that the potential for chemical leaching into food or drink products packaged in polycarbonate containers made using BPA (Bisphenol A). BPA may be a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor.
Number 7 plastics are wont to make baby bottles, sippy cups, device bottles and car parts. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic food containers often marked on rock bottom with the letters “PC” by the recycling label #7. Some polycarbonate water bottles are marketed as ‘non-leaching’ for minimizing plastic taste or odor, however there’s still an opportunity that trace amounts of BPA will migrate from these containers, particularly if wont to heat liquids.
A new generation of compostable plastics, made up of bio-based polymers like corn starch, is being developed to exchange polycarbonates. These also are included in category #7, which may be confusing to the buyer . These compostable plastics have the initials “PLA” on rock bottom near the recycling symbol. Some can also say “Compostable.”
#7 plastics aren’t for reuse, unless they need the PLA compostable coding. When possible it’s best to avoid #7 plastics, especially for children’s food. Plastics with the recycling labels #1, #2 and #4 on rock bottom are safer choices and don’t contain BPA. PLA coded plastics should be thrown within the compost and not the recycle bin since PLA compostable plastics aren’t recyclable.
The industry has conformed to regulations by applying the specified codes to consumer products, but it’s up to individuals to read and understand the codes. By understanding these simple classifications, we will best use plastics to our advantage while minimizing the health and disposal issues which will otherwise arise.