Recycling Symbols Found in Plastics
Most plastics are recyclable, but it’s the people that are sometimes the problem. A majority of the plastics, despite their recyclable properties, most of them aren’t recycled. With at least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean annually. So to help kickstart your journey towards recycling, we need to learn first the different types of plastics. The one that has a number inside a recycling symbol? Any idea on what it means? If no, then here is the rundown on the different recycling symbols that are stamped in so many plastics.
- Symbol No. 1 PET / PETE – PET or PETE stands for polyethylene terephthalate. This type of plastic is cheap to produce. Mostly found in single-used plastic bottles like soda bottles, bottled water, peanut bottle containers, and ranch dressings. They can also be found in textiles and seatbelts.l The reason why this resin is ideal for soda bottles because it can withstand internal pressure exerted by carbonated drinks and its durability. They can be recycled into tote bags, fleece linings, and food containers.
- Symbol No. 2 HDPE – HDPE (high-density polyethylene) – This plastic is also praised for its versatility. Like PET, this material is also highly recyclable. Found in milk containers, lining for various food packaging. Also like PET, they can also be recycled into plastic bottles for shampoos, oil, and laundry just to name a few.
- Symbol No. 3 PVC or V – Polyvinyl chloride and vinyl. When it comes to risks associated with PVC, when burned, the material is capable of releasing toxins in the air. Which makes them dangerous when being burned. Also found in shampoo bottles, windows, cooking oil bottles, and of course, artificial leather. . One of the most notable properties of PVC is high heat capacity (needs to be heated at 100oC in order for it to be mouldable).
- Symbol No. 4 LDPE – Low-Density Polyethylene. Because of its tough, flexible semi-transparent properties, this material is used in film applications. This material can also be used to make lids, wires, and cables. According to ACC (American Chemistry Council), some of the properties of LDP allows it to withstand acids, bases, and oils. Also used as a coating for milk cartons and single-use beverage cups, toys, and squeezable bottles.
- Symbol No.5 PP – Polypropylene. Ideal for hot liquids, this type of plastic can be found in yogurt containers. This thermoplastic material turns liquid when heated at a high temp. They can be heated over and over again, but still able to retain its properties when it is cooled. It’s also resistant to some acids and bases, an ideal container for cleaning agents like detergents.
- Symbol No. 6 PS – Best known for being used in foam products or styrofoam. Styrene monomer (stabilized) has a clear liquid to dark color with an aromatic odor. It can lead to foods and some studies suggest that it is a human carcinogen. When it comes to recycling, they are prone to break into tiny pieces so it must be disposed of in a large container or plastic bag, where the air is squeezed out.
- Symbol No. 7 Others – Uncategorized plastics that don’t fit with the list from 1-6. One of the materials that belong to this category is PLA (polylactic acid), which is derived from plants.
Now that you know what the numbers are found in plastic packagings and plastic bottles, now it’s up to us to communicate with the local recycling facility in your areas. To know what type of plastics are accepted.