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Recycling Plastic by the Numbers

Are you wondering about the little numbers on your milk container? They identify what the container is made of and what it will be in its next life.

The #1 on containers (polyethylene terephthatate): water and pop bottles; recycled into pillow fill.

The #2 on containers (high density polyethylene): plastic milk bottles, detergent bottles; recycled into new detergent bottles.

The #3 on containers (polyvinyl chloride): take-out boxes, shampoo; recycled into drainage and irrigation pipes.

The #4 on containers (low-density polyethylene): Grocery bags, shrink wrap; recycled into new bags.

The #5 on containers (polypropylene): Yogurt containers, bottle caps; recycled into plastic lumber.

The #6 on containers (polystyrene): Packing peanuts; recycled into plastic lumber, cassette tape boxes.

The #7 is for “other:” includes squeezable ketchup bottles and microwavable dishes; these items cannot be recycled.

Bonus Remix: Most cities allow recycling of plastics 1 and 2. In addition to recycling, consider calling or writing to companies who sell their products in plastic containers that are not labeled or are not made with the plastic numbered 1 or 2. Just call the toll-free number on the package and tell them that you really like their product but that you have dedicated yourself to purchasing products with containers which can be recycled. If more people let companies know that they want containers that can be recycled, we may see far reaching changes in packaging.


About Dawn

intense creative independent parent loving life



  1. Pingback: Some plastic recycling info « cartoon life - December 1, 2011

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