Recycling Plastics

Cans: Aluminum & Steel

Glass: Clear; Brown; & Blue

Plastic Bottles: #1 and #2 plastic

Rigid Plastics: Lawn Chairs, Toys, Plant pots, most any hard plastic


Plastics Recycling Explained:


Plastics are the most misunderstood item when it comes to recycling. The rules for recycling plastics are determined by the local recycling facility, which, in turn are dictated by technology, processing equipment, and supply and demand economics.

Plastic jugs or bottles must be marked HDPE #2 or PETE #1 (look for the code on bottom of container). Even though some margarine tubs, cups, and other plastics are labeled #2 or #1, they are NOT accepted for recycling The rule typically is that the item should look like a bottle in order for it to be recycled.

Accepted plastic containers, like water bottles, milk and detergent jugs, are "blow molded." This means the shape is made by blowing air into a mold, similar to blowing air into a balloon.

The tub- or cup-shaped plastics are "injection molded," whereby the plastic is "stamped" into its shape. These plastics cool and melt at different temperatures, and therefore are not compatible with "blow molded" plastics in the reprocessing stage and are not widely accepted for recycling.

In other words, it's like trying to blow bubbles with regular chewing gum. End markets for other plastics have not yet developed to the extent of #2 and #1 plastic bottles, therefore they are not collected in our day-to-day recycling program.

The numbered codes found on the bottom of plastic containers are a plastic resin identification system developed by the Society for Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988. SPI categorized hundreds of plastic resins into just 7 major categories. Some consumers see the familiar symbol with the chasing arrows and assume that ALL containers are recyclable. This is NOT true. This can be confusing for many people, and understandably so! SPI, in conjunction with the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), attempted to overhaul the coding system in 1994, without success. In case you are wondering, each code represents the following:

# 1 PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate. Accounts for 20-30% of all plastic bottles manufactured. Most commonly found in 2-liter soda bottles, and water bottles.
# 2 HDPE - High Density Polyethylene. The most common plastic used in plastic bottle manufacture, about 50-60%. Usually found in milk and detergent jugs, shampoo and lotion bottles.
# 3 V - Vinyl/Polyvinyl Chloride.
# 4 LDPE - Low Density Polyethylene. Used in film plastics and plastic grocery bags.
# 5 PP - Polypropylene.
# 6 PS - Polystyrene. Used in disposable food service tableware, plates and cups. The "foam polystyrene" variety is often mistakenly called "Styrofoam" and is used for rigid packing material and peanuts.
# 7 Other All other plastic resins and multi-material plastics