Monday, July 5, 2010

Recycling numbers...what do they mean?

Many of the plastics and products that we all have in our kitchen and around the house have the chasing arrow recyclable symbols with numbers on them. But what do they mean?

Well, I have looked into it and here is an explanation:

1 (PETE) -Poly(ethylene terephthalate) - soft drink bottles, etc
2 (HDPE) - High-density Polyethylene - containers for milk, laundry powders, softeners, etc
3 (V) - Poly(vinyl cloride) - pipes, shower curtains, baby bottle nipples, etc
4 (LDPE)- Low-density Polyethylene - plastic wrap, plastic bags, etc
5 (PP)- Polypropylene - nappies, plastic containers
6 (PS) - Polystyrene - disposable cutlery, cups, meat trays, etc.
7 (Other) - other - who know what this is?

What can you truly recycle in your weekly recycling bin picked up by your local Council?

Apparently according to Choice magazine, most Council accepts products marked as either 1 or 2. Choice also indicates that quite often all the rest of the recyclable plastics (3-7) are bundled together and reproceesed overseas.

What can't be recycled:
The following are some unacceptable recyclables, even though they’re made of recyclable plastic.

  • A high-density polyethylene (HDPE) container if it has carried a hazardous substance.
  • Plastic shopping bags, low density polyethylene (LDPE) packaging film, small bits of polystyrene packaging. This lightweight packaging is likely to get blown out and contaminate the paper stream in the MRF, unless the facility is fully automated and uses optical laser sorting technology.
  • Plastic bottle lids. They’re generally made of different plastic from the container and may fall through the holes in the sorting cylinder (trommel), or create air pressure in a closed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle when it’s compressed, so that when the bottles pop open, the bales can fall apart. However, because they’re a valuable source of recyclable plastic, some MRF operators now advise recycling plastic lids, as optical sorters can deal with the different plastics issue – so follow your council’s advice.
More information about your local Council's situation can be found at:

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment