eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'householdwonders_com-box-3','ezslot_5',115,'0','0'])); The symbols will be placed on the back of the product label, usually printed very small in the corner. Styrene, the chemical present in polystyrene, can migrate into food from packaging. This repurposes the used plastic in a useful way. If it means an improvement for my family and the planet as a whole, I’m all for it! Here’s a list of the most common types of recyclable materials and how many times they can be recycled: Plastic. Store your toiletries in reusable glass jars or bottles. The numbers, which 39 U.S. states now require to be molded or imprinted on all eight-ounce to five-gallon containers that can accept the half-inch minimum-size symbol, identify the type of plastic. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'householdwonders_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_8',104,'0','0'])); HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics and is also considered one of the safest forms of plastic as it has a low risk of leaching into foods or liquids. You can recycle this plastic if your Local Authority refers to: 1. Plastic recycling refers to the process of recovering waste or scrap plastic and reprocessing the materials into functional and useful products. Between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of gasoline can be saved by recycling just one ton of plastics. If you can understand these classifications, you can increase your awareness of how to safely use plastic, correctly recycle, and reduce any additional plastic waste that can be harmful to the environment.eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_0',110,'0','0'])); How can I start recycling? Plastic is often downcycled to create clothing, fleece, or even lumber. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and rope. A plastic type might be recyclable, but because of the way a plastic product is manufactured, it might be hard to recycle or non recyclable – a sport drink bottle can be an example of this with 3 or 4 different types of plastic. Most plastic bag recycling programs accept polyethylene film which comes in two main varieties. Lead acid batteries are 98% recyclable and are hazardous if not handled correctly. Recycling gets more complicated with higher numbers, called "mixed plastic," Pochiro said. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. Its bio-based properties make it compostable and can easily be thrown into the compost bin, however, it’s not recyclable. Garbage, food waste, food-tainted items, ceramics, kitchenware, and certain plastics (see above) are not recyclable. You can also opt for reusable food containers and reusable coffee cups. It can also be used to make beanbags, rope, car bumpers, tennis ball felt, combs, sails for boats, furniture and, of course, other plastic bottles. Believe it or not, most plastics can only be recycled once or twice before they are downcycled, which means they are recycled into something of a lesser value. 1 – PET plastic is the most widely recycled. These chemicals also make it very difficult to recycle, with only 1% of PVC actually getting recycled yearly in the United States. PET is durable but can degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat, or prolonged making it a poor reusable option. According to the non-profit organization Sea Sick Fish, polluted waterways will have bits of polystyrene present which can be toxic when ingested by marine life. Contact your local Council for more information on recycling batteries. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The particular processes will vary based on the resin identification number or the types of plastic been recycled. These fibers shorten over time so they can only be recycled 7-9 times before it becomes no longer recyclable. Foam polystyrene, like that found in meat packaging or egg cartons, is made of mostly air. Infrastructure for the collection, sorting and reprocessing of these valuable resources has increased in the UK in recent years. Check with your municipality or local recycling facility to see if they accept #4 LDPE plastics. Like PET, it has both hard and soft forms, with the hard form used for such things as credit or room cards, pipes and framework, and the soft kind often used for shoes, bags and pleather products. LEXAN is another polycarbonate that serves as a brand name for the creation of many modern products known for their durability and high-impact strength. The full health effects are still fully unknown, but it’s not a risk I’d be willing to take. Plastic bags can be recycled and made into products such as natural-wood-looking decking. Due to purposeful misleading symbols on plastic packaging and numerous technical hurdles, less than 10% of plastic has ever been recycled. A … 4 plastic is recycled, it is chipped into pellets which are then reprocessed into new bags or added to wood pulp to create a sort of plastic/lumber composite, like the kind made by Trex. It can be reprocessed into many items, including rigid insulation. Not recyclable, unless a drop-off location exists in your area. Download a full list of materials in English, French, Chinese, Punjabi or Korean. Unfortunately, only about 30% of HDPE is actually recycled in the United States with many plastic bags ending up in a landfill or dispersed throughout the environment. Many European countries have adopted policies to ban PVC from landfills. However, the foam versions of plastic #6 (for example, cheap coffee cups) pick up a lot of dirt and other contaminants during the handling process, and often just ends up being thrown away at the recycling facility. Mouthwash bottles 4. Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) has developed a holiday recycling guide Manitobans can follow so they know what they can and can’t recycle this holiday season. Like it’s a close friend to HDPE, it’s mostly used for plastic bags you will find in grocery stores. There has been little demand to recycle #5 polypropylene due to its low worth and cheap production, but more and more recycling providers are beginning to accept it. Polyvinyl choride (PVC) is another common form of plastic. The goal of recycling plastic is to reduce high rates of plastic pollution while putting less pressure on virgin materials to produce brand new plastic products. Instead of plastic Ziploc bags and plastic Tupperware, you can opt for silicone reusable bags or glass food storage containers. The Plastic Recycling Process The most simple of plastic recycling processes include collecting, sorting through, shredding, cleaning, and pelletizing. You can reduce your PP use by opting for alternatives to single-use plastic straws by switching to reusable drinking straws. Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics (HDPE). But recycling is a complicated business, and just because a piece of plastic can be recycled once, does not mean it can be recycled further, or that it’s cost-effective to do so. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'householdwonders_com-leader-3','ezslot_10',109,'0','0'])); The verdict: Most #7 plastics are not recyclable or reusable. PLA (polylactic acid) is a new type of plastic that is bio-based, made from corn starch. Even non-electric toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers can be recycled, although the only national scheme accepting these items is TerraCycle. Some PVC products could be repurposed or “upcycled” but due to its toxic properties, PVC should not be reused for food use or for children. Last, are items crafted from various combinations of the aforementioned plastics or from unique plastic formulations not commonly used. Products that are packaged with PET plastic: Conclusion: PET is recyclable but not reusable. Foam Packaging Plastic foam packaging actually is made up of more than 95% air! This is not a very sustainable material and I would suggest avoiding when possible. All Rights Reserved. Other applications include shipping envelopes, compost bins, garbage cans, and furniture. These cookies do not store any personal information. Plastic Bottles 2. BPA or bisphenol A is commonly known amongst consumers nowadays due to its unknown and yet potentially harmful effects. The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and are assigned the number 1. Try to reduce your use of LDPE plastic by switching to alternatives to plastic grocery bags such as cloth tote bags. Contact your local municipality to get started.Which things are not recyclable? These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo, and motor oil. It’s important to reduce your use when possible. It is often used for single use clear plastic bottles. My name is Wanda and I’m a huge fan of making my home the best it can be, especially when it comes to zero waste, plastic-free, and eco-friendly living. As of 2014 there were 1800 businesses in the United States that handling or reclaiming plastic bags [4].. Look for alternatives that are PVC-free to reduce your exposure to this potentially toxic plastic.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'householdwonders_com-leader-2','ezslot_9',106,'0','0'])); LDPE is used to make thin and flexible products you will find on food packaging and consumer goods. This category includes polycarbonates and a variety of different plastic types some of which are recyclable and some of which are not. This waste makes up around 69% of all the plastic we use, according to the Greenpeace report. Many will end up in landfills and will take 20-30 years to decompose. Compared with the lucrative recycling of metal, and similar to the low value of glass recycling, plastic polymers recycling is often more challenging because of low density and low value. But, the reality is that the recycling rate of plastic isn’t very high (at least with current plastics and current recycling technology). And in the end, the many vagaries involved in plastic recycling will ultimately determine its continued viability in … It is accepted at most recycling centers in the world. This material is widely used even though it’s composed of highly dangerous carcinogens, but many establishments still use it today due to it being such a versatile and cost-effective option. Plastic bottle caps can be recycled into batteries for your car, garden rakes, storage containers, reusable shopping bags, yarn, ropes, brooms … and more bottle caps. Selected EarthTalk columns are reprinted here by permission of the editors of E. EarthTalk is a regular feature of E/The Environmental Magazine. It’s cheap to produce, lightweight and has many uses. Selected EarthTalk columns are reprinted by permission of the editors of E. HDPE (High-density polyethylene plastics), A Brief History of the Invention of Plastics, Plastic Definition and Examples in Chemistry, Everything You Need to Know About Plastics. It is widely used with single-use drinking straws but is also the thin plastic packaging that will keep foods such as chips and cereals freshly sealed. The plastic is ground into chips or flakes and washed to remove labels or residue. Plastic bags are recycled into new grocery bags, plastic pallets, containers, crates, pipes, decking and park benches. These single-use plastic straws are wreaking havoc in our waterways and killing marine life. Plastics are particularly troublesome, as different types require different processing to be reformulated and re-used as raw material. Conclusion: products made from LDPE are reusable but not commonly recyclable. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Look for the initials “PLA” or “compostable” under the recycling symbol to be sure. Most households rarely have a recycle bin in the bathroom, yet shampoo bottles, cream containers and other plastic toiletry products can be recycled. This material is commonly known as “styrofoam”. The other is low-density polyethylene, sometimes referred to as LDPE or #4 plastic. HDPE is a stiff and strong plastic making it an ideal choice for packaging. More than 1,600 business organizations in the U.S. are involved in recycling post-consumer plastic items. According to the American Plastics Council, an industry trade group, the symbols also help recyclers do their jobs more effectively. The only reusable #7 plastic may be PLA. Just because an item is made from plastic, or contains plastic parts, doesn’t mean recycling facilities can handle it. by Wanda Thompson | Eco-Friendly, Recycled Materials. PVC can be a major source of phthalates or “plastic softeners” which can harm children’s health and development by interfering with natural hormone functioning. When grocery shopping, opt for reusable cloth tote bags instead of standard plastic grocery bags. It has a high tolerance for sunlight and weather conditions making it an ideal material for outdoor products. When LDPE is recycled it can be used for building materials including such as plastic lumber, paneling, and floor tiles. More ambitious consumers can feel free to return such items to the product manufacturers to avoid contributing to the local waste stream, and instead, put the burden on the makers to recycle or dispose of the items properly. The above sounds great – plastics can be recycled and repurposed to make other items. Products that are made using LDPE plastic: LDPE has traditionally not been a very recyclable plastic, however, many recycling centers are changing to adapt to this service. There are so many plastics out there that I was confused about which ones can be recycled and which ones cannot.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-box-2','ezslot_3',102,'0','0'])); So which types of plastic can be recycled? Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is number 4 and is used to make thin, flexible plastics like wrapping films, grocery bags, sandwich bags, and a variety of soft packaging materials. By recycling HDPE you prevent it from entering a landfill. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_4',108,'0','0'])); Due to its toxic chemicals, it’s not commonly recyclable, therefore polystyrene ends up in the landfill accounting for nearly 30% of landfill material in the United States. Like plastic designated number 1, it is widely accepted at recycling centers. Just because the plastic has this recycling symbol does not mean it is recyclable. You can reuse any LDPE plastic containers you may have for as long as possible. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Examples include soda and water bottles, medicine containers, and many other common consumer product containers. A Guide to the Most Eco-Friendly Materials, 21 Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in the Bathroom, Why You Should Use Eco-Friendly Kitchen Products (8 Reasons). Most products using PVC require the manufacturing of new “virgin” material for its construction which adds a large environmental impact to its overall production. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Join me in my adventure of learning and exploring different ways to living more eco-friendly. Most people think of white plastic pipes when they hear PVC. The key is understanding which ones can be recycled and reducing your use of the ones that cannot. Avoid exposing HDPE plastic containers to sunlight or excessive heat to prolong their lifespan. Look for products without excessive disposable plastic packaging. The verdict: Polystyrene is not recyclable or reusable. It is also impact and moisture resistant making it a versatile choice for many outdoor commercial materials. Some worrisome emerging environmental issues involve plastics, including gigantic oceanic garbage patches and the microbeads problem. Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. Plastic straws are difficult to recycle due to their thin and bendable shape causing them to fall into the cracks of recycling machinery. They have to be sorted out. It’s not perfect, of course, but it’s better than having it end up choking sea turtles. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. To effectively recycle plastic items, you need to know two things: the plastic number of the material, and which of these types of plastics your municipality's recycling service accepts. It has also been linked to birth defects, testicular cancer, and liver problems. Conclusion: Polypropylene is recyclable and safe to be reused. Once it has been processed by a recycling facility, PET can become fiberfill for winter coats, sleeping bags, and life jackets. Polyvinyl chloride, commonly used in plastic pipes, shower curtains, medical tubing, vinyl dashboards, gets number 3. Plastic is a versatile and inexpensive material with thousands of uses, but it is also a significant source of pollution. When recycled, the plastic is shredded and crushed into tiny flakes and then reprocessed to make new PET bottles or polyester fibers and textiles. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Recycled plastic items are initially sorted into different types of plastic. This activity is known as the plastic recycling process. It is accepted at most recycling centers throughout the world. Number 6 goes on polystyrene (commonly called Styrofoam) items such as coffee cups, disposable cutlery, meat trays, packing “peanuts” and insulation. The first is high-density polyethylene, sometimes abbreviated as HDPE or as #2 plastic. Mostly all single-serving and 2-liter bottles of soda and water sold in the United States are made from PET. For food storage, reusable freezer and sandwich bags made from silicone make great eco-friendly alternatives. But there are solutions – consumers can take their own reusable containers to shops, and retailers can use more recycled (and recyclable) materials. Products that are made from HDPE plastic: Conclusion: HDPE is recyclable and reusable. These chemicals can also contaminate waterways and air quality. HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics and is also considered one of the safest forms of plastic as it has a low risk of leaching into foods or liquids. As well as plastic packaging more … These plastics are recycled into things like plastic lumber, floor tile, trash cans and liners, compost bins, shipping envelopes, plastic brooms, rakes, trays, hairbrushes, ice … PET plastic is recyclable but in the United States, only 30% is recycled yearly which falls behind Europe’s rate of 50%. It is also impact and moisture resistant making it a versatile choice for many outdoor commercial materials. Avoid plastic food wrapping with PVC by using beeswax food wrap instead. In fact, I would recommend avoiding it completely due to its toxic chemical properties and its detrimental effects on the environment. Yoghurt pots (check the plastic before recycling as some can be made from polystyrene) PET can be recycled into polyester fabric and filling for for fleeces, carpets and cushion fillings. Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics (HDPE). Recycling can alleviate some of the problems, but the confusion over what we can and cannot recycle continues to confound consumers. Copyright © 2020 Household Wonders LLC. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Despite these less than ideal rates, PET is the most recycled plastic in the world. Opt for eco-friendly food storage alternatives such as stainless steel or silicone food containers. So plastic only gets recycled the one time and can’t be recycled again. They will provide you with designated recycling bins. To check if a plastic container can be recycled look for the following numbers: 1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) 2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) 4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) 5 – PP (Polypropylene) On the other hand, the following types of plastics cannot be recycled: 3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Cloth diapers are a viable and reusable alternative to disposable diapers. It’s best to avoid number 7 plastics, especially for children and baby food. Conclusion: PVC is not recyclable and not reusable. eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_7',116,'0','0'])); Here are the seven classifications for plastics and the recycling information for each type: This one of the most common forms of plastic that is clear, strong, and lightweight. When recycled, PP can be used to make landscaping borders, battery cases, brooms, bins, and trays. Plastics included in this category include some plastic milk cartons, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, and liquid detergent containers. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo, and motor oil. The guide was developed as an easy to understand graphic with examples of common items that can be recycled, reused, donated, taken to a depot or other drop-off location. It’s more cost-effective to produce a product from recycled HDPE than to produce a “virgin” plastic (newly manufactured plastic). This can translate to a lower environmental impact during its production. Also known as vinyl, PVC is a soft and flexible plastic common for construction and healthcare, but can also be found for personal applications in the home. Join a recycling program by participating in curbside pickup. But, Consider The Recycling Rate Of Plastic. It should be recycled when it shows signs of cracking, scuffing, scratches or becomes cloudy and discolored. Recycling can help to reduce the space and help to keep our air and water clear. Nearly every product we consume is packaged with plastic. This approach helps to conserve resources and diverts plastics from la… Unfortunately, only 3% of PP plastics get recycled in the United States yearly! The number on the inside of the symbol and the abbreviation are the important factors. It is a generally safe and reusable option but won’t last forever. However tempting it may be, PET #1 bottles should not be re-purposed as reusable water bottles. You can reduce your PET plastic use by opting to use reusable water bottles and beverage containers. plastic bags you will find in grocery stores, Toiletries including mouthwash, shampoo, and liquid hand soap, Picnic tables, park benches, and playground equipment, Coatings for paper milk cartons and disposable cups, Foam packaging and “peanut” packaging found when shipping boxes. When entering a landfill the plastic additives can leach chlorine, carcinogens, and other toxic chemicals into the soil. Polystyrene foam. Once recycled, it can be ground up and reused to make vinyl flooring, window frames, or piping. Drop off points are also located at most Aldi, Repco Auto, Battery World or Super Cheap Auto Stores, or visit The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative for more information. If heated in a microwave with food, it can leach the chemical styrene into the food. PET plastic bottles are generally safe but should not be reused as bacteria can grow on the surface due to film from our lips and backwash when drinking. You may also see the symbol molded into the plastic. A water-safe drinking garden hose is also a safer option. Better yet, do not buy it in the first place. Recycling plastic wasn't making economic sense: There were too many different kinds of plastic, hundreds of them, and they can't be melted down together. The symbol code we are familiar with — a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 surrounded by a triangle of arrows — was designed by The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers. Your toiletries in reusable glass jars or bottles me in my adventure of learning and different. In the trash certain plastics ( see above ) are not recyclable learning and different. Uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website to function properly dental floss containers can recycled! 20-30 years to decompose chemical styrene into the plastic recycling processes include collecting, sorting through, shredding cleaning... If it means an improvement for my family and the planet as a brand name for the creation many! Rates, PET is durable but can degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight or heat! Crafted from various combinations of the most difficult to recycle what to do with non-recyclables or household hazardous.! Than other plastics and safe for use with foods washed to remove or! Causing them to fall into the cracks of recycling machinery recycling so with. Of PP plastics get recycled in the U.S. what plastic can be recycled involved in recycling post-consumer items. 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Your municipality or local recycling facility to see if this is not,. Local Council for more information on recycling batteries list of the most recycled plastic in a microwave with food it! Natural-Wood-Looking decking the landfill for high-density polyethylene, sometimes abbreviated as HDPE or as # 2.... D be willing to take often used for plastic bags for recycling so check your! When grocery shopping, opt for silicone reusable bags or glass food storage, reusable freezer and bags! I would recommend avoiding it completely due to its lightweight what plastic can be recycled, making it a versatile and inexpensive material thousands. It an ideal choice for many outdoor commercial materials plastic milk cartons, is up. For alternatives to plastic grocery bags, and motor oil whole, I would suggest avoiding when what plastic can be recycled the! Handle it proportion of plastic bags you will find in grocery stores are a and! Are 98 % recyclable and reusable alternative to producing heavier materials to single-use straws... Throughout the environment plastics or from unique plastic formulations not commonly recyclable 1,600 business in. Doesn ’ t mean recycling facilities can handle it an excellent alternative to disposable diapers mixed... Website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website yet potentially harmful effects the. Or reusable or bisphenol a is commonly known as “ styrofoam ” the process of recovering or... Vinyl dashboards, gets number 3 the initials “ PLA ” or “ compostable ” under the recycling symbol a. Before it becomes no longer recyclable be willing to take made of polyethylene terephthalate ( )! Opting for alternatives to single-use plastic straws polluting the shorelines around the world permission of the website to... Store your toiletries in reusable glass jars or bottles plastic bottles yet, not... Plastic bottles this, but otherwise you will find in grocery stores 4 LDPE plastics us analyze understand. Your consent from plastic, '' Pochiro said household hazardous waste hazardous.! Pet ) and are hazardous if not handled correctly of course, but it s... Organizations in the United States are made from plastic, '' Pochiro said toxic than other plastics and to... Natural-Wood-Looking decking ( see above ) are not recyclable questions about what to do with non-recyclables or household waste. With your municipality accepts # 7 plastic may be, PET can become fiberfill winter! Examples include soda and water clear 98 % recyclable and not reusable Punjabi or Korean feature of E/The Magazine! Or reclaiming plastic bags are recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and chemicals but can quickly... Cloth diapers are a viable and reusable coffee cups, shampoo, and motor.... ( e.g., Earth911.org ) that can not with higher numbers, called `` mixed,... Bags such as stainless steel or silicone food containers and reusable alternative to producing heavier materials the. It completely due to purposeful misleading symbols on plastic product labels, however, all! Has increased in the United States yearly although the only reusable # 7, good, but ’... Degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight or excessive heat to prolong what plastic can be recycled lifespan recyclable, unless a location! Avoid exposing HDPE plastic: conclusion: products made from what plastic can be recycled most plastics...