There are many different green living tips that you can try to apply to your life today but what happens when you don’t fully understand the green living ideas that you are trying to execute. Recycling is one of the easiest green living moves you can make. It is often one of the first steps that people take when trying to go eco-friendly. However, when it comes to recycling, plastics are one of the most commonly recycled products but also the most confusing to recycle.
Due to plastics codes, they can be very difficult and confusing to recycle. The challenge lies in the fact that you need to decipher these plastic codes in order to recycle plastics correctly. This requires you to know which plastics can be recycled and which cannot. Many cities don’t collect plastics on their trash and recycle routes because there is so much confusion around the plastics codes.
To help you understand plastic recycling, you need to become familiar with the types of plastics. Here is a basic rundown:
• Polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) #1 – This is a plastic that you see used often in water bottles and soda bottles. It is recycled everywhere and nearly every collection program will accept PET plastics.
• HDPE (high density polyethylene) #2 – This is the type of plastic that plastic bags, milk jugs and detergent bottles are made from. This type is also typically recycled in most programs.
• PVC (polyvinyl chloride) #3- One of the most common plastics is PVC. This is found in pipes as well as blister packs. It is often called a “bad” plastic in that it cannot be recycled and ends up in landfills.
• LDPE (low density polyethylene) #4- This type of plastic is found in shrink wrap and the coatings on beverage cups and milk cartons. It’s not accepted in most recycling curbside programs but you can take it to a facility, such as your local grocery store.
• PP (polypropylene) #5- This plastic is used for microwaveable containers and bottle caps as well as medicine bottles. It is very strong and has a high melting point. Some programs accept it for recycling but not all.
• PS (polystyrene) #6- This plastic is in foam packaging, packing peanuts and many takeout containers. This is also considered a “bad plastic” and is usually not accepted in recycling programs. This is changing with time.
• Other (anything not categorized above) #7- This is the classification for anything that cannot be classified with #1-#6.
Once you gain a better understanding of the types of plastics and whether or not they can be recycled, it will make it easier for you to recycle as much as you can and also to try to avoid plastics that are not easily recyclable whenever you can. Remember that even the smallest steps make a big difference when it comes to creating a better, greener earth.