Recycling Numbers ♻️ – Do You Know The Plastic Recycling Codes?
Recycling Numbers ♻️: In this blog, we will discuss the 7 recycling codes or numbers and help you know what you should recycle or throw in the general waste bin. Read on to learn more.
Not everyone is aware that you can recycle certain types of plastic and throw the other types in the general waste bin.
As someone who does not have general knowledge of that, how can you determine a plastic’s recyclability? Answer: it lies in its SPI code, or what we could simply call the plastic’s recycling number or code. As mentioned above, Waster will give its readers an overview of the different types of plastics. Additionally, we will determine what you should consider before recycling plastic. Should you follow plastics’ recycling numbers or codes?
Below, we will expand on that.
A bit about Waster
Before we go further with plastics’ recycling numbers, let me share with you more information about Waster.
We here at Waster provide you with innovative solutions for you and your business’s waste management and recycling needs. Furthermore, we provide flexible, 30-day contracts instead of the typical lock-in contracts, which proves to be better.
Click on the blue button to learn more.
Know your plastics with recycling numbers
Obviously, it can become quite confusing for the average citizen to determine a plastic’s recyclability based on its recycling symbol without prior knowledge about it. First things first, there exist 7 types of plastics. If you memorise these 7 plastic numbers, you will not have too many problems determining them, particularly because manufacturers usually print out a plastic item’s recycling symbol number.
Determining the recyclability of a certain item has become even easier with the arrival of the Australasian recycling labels.
Different kinds of plastics and their recycling numbers
It is hard to determine whether a plastic item is recyclable or not. What’s more – the product might have a “recyclable” label engraved on it, but that does not mean your local council will accept them right away. It is best to contact local authorities first before putting a plastic product in the kerbside recycling bin.
With that being said, it is still important to know the different kinds of plastic so that you will have a better idea of how to handle them. Basically, we encourage you to engrave in your hearts and minds the what to (and what not to, of course) recycle. So, we enumerate the 7 different plastic recycling numbers:
Easily recycled ones
PETE or PET (#1) – the first of the plastic recycling numbers. It is abbreviated from Polyethylene Terephthalate, it is most commonly found in soda, water, and juice bottles. Additionally, it is also found in most food packaging. This type of plastic is often clear in colour. It is one of the most recyclable types of plastic and most recycling programmes accept them. They can either be reprocessed into recycled plastic bottles and packaging or turned into fibre for the creation of textile products such as fleece garments and carpets.
HDPE (#2) – the next type of plastic is derived from High-Density Polyethylene. The second one of the recycling numbers is also known as commonly recycled plastic. You can usually find this type of plastic in milk jugs, household carpet cleaner and detergent containers, and also some plastic bags. Furthermore, they are considered a safe form of plastic. Recyclers often turn the recycled HDPE into plastic lumbers, bed liners and picnic tables. Looking for a way to recycle your HDPE products? You can recycle these soft plastics at supermarkets with the REDcycle bins.
More or less not recyclable like the first two
PVC (#3) – the third of the plastic recycling numbers are derived from the words Polyvinyl Chloride. You can usually find it in plumbing pipes, windows, and in some cases, cooking oil and shampoo bottles. Specialised recycling programmes are done to process it into flooring and panelling. Additionally, it is to be kept away from foods and drinks because of its toxicity.
LDPE (#4) – or Low-Density Polyethylene. We can consider this as a clean and safe plastic like its counterpart: HDPE. The common people usually find them in their household items like frozen food containers, condiment bottles, and shopping or produce bags. Recycling facilities usually turn LDPE into garbage cans, bubble wrap, and flooring.
PP (#5) – or Polypropylene. We can usually find them in Tupperware boxes, medicine bottles, and ketchup bottles. It makes a great hot liquid container because of its high melting point. Additionally, recycling programmes can accept products made from PP and turn them into clothes and playground equipment, and ice scrapers.
Hard to recycle
PS (#6) – polystyrene or what we commonly know as styrofoam, it is usually found in takeaway coffee cups and egg cartons. Unlike the ones stated above, recycling facilities usually find it hard to recycle styrofoam because of low demand; you cannot recycle PS and turn it back into recycled PS, so the closed-loop recycling concept does not apply. But if you still want to recycle it, you can contact your local council and ask if the facilities available accept such plastic.
Mixed Plastics (#7) – the last of the plastic recycling numbers, also known as “other plastics”. Depending on your local council, you may or may not recycle such type of plastic. But more often than not, recyclers do not accept mixed plastics. Additionally, they also contain the dangerous chemical BPA, a known toxic, synthetic compound that compromises one’s fertility.
Recycling numbers: how to easily determine what plastic items to recycle
As we have mentioned above, you still have to think about where to send your recyclable plastic. Not every plastic deemed recyclable can go through your recycling bin.
Yarra City council shared good advice: do not follow the number. Some examples of plastics you can put into the recycling bin and recycle include the following:
- Cleaning product bottles
- Detergent bottles
- Ice-cream containers/lids
- Juice bottles
- Milk bottles
- Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel bottles
- Soft drink bottles
LDPE recycling rates: becoming better
Even though it is not as common as recycling type 1 and 2 plastic, LDPE plastics are now getting more traction because of many consumers buying products that contain such plastic.
In recycling your LDPE products, here is what you should do:
Ask for instructions first from your local council before doing anything else. If they accept LDPE for recycling, then you can go ahead and put them in the kerbside recycling bin. Follow the instructions laid out by your local waste authority. Furthermore, if they do not accept such plastics, there are other alternatives that can help you.
One example is REDcycle, where they accept different kinds of plastics – include LDPE 4 – they can recycle. You only need to collect them and drop them off at the given locations; REDcycle has partnered up with many Australian supermarkets that you can choose from.
And, remember to always collect them in bulk if you wish to recycle them. Remove their labels and other unnecessary non-plastic parts before recycling LDPE.
Remember that the higher the recycling symbol number, the less chance the plastic product has of being recycled in your local waste facilities. However, through the power of science and technology, managing and recycling plastic has become more doable than in the past. An example of that is the recycling robots blog we have linked above, which we encourage you to read to learn more.
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