Today, it’s easy to be confused by where your recyclables go and how to make sure you’re actually recycling correctly. One of the ways to help you determine where your recycling should end up is in the form of recycling symbols. Many times, however, this doesn’t solve the problem as many people aren’t sure what these symbols mean.
At Recyclops we continue to work to educate our customers and communities about recycling and best practices you can use on a daily basis. That’s why we have put together this guide on what the recycling symbols mean and how you can tell the difference between them.
The easiest plastic to recycle and most commonly found in plastic water/soda bottles and some food packaging. PETE is commonly recycled into fibers or polar fleece. It is not recommended for reuse which means it ends up in the recycling stream quickly. PETE plastic is recyclable and about 25% of PETE bottles in the US today are recycled. The plastic is crushed and then shredded into small flakes which are then reprocessed to make new PETE bottles, or spun into polyester fiber.
Find out more about where your recycling goes.
This kind of plastic is usually colored or opaque and can be found in milk jugs and detergent or household cleaner bottles. HDPE can easily be recycled into plastic lumber, more bottles or drainage pipes and is considered one of the safest forms of plastic. However, since only about 30-35% of HDPE plastic used in America gets recycled each year, it’s wise to use as little as possible. To cut down, consider replacing your disposable produce bags with reusable alternatives.
Find out more about how to start living a more sustainable lifestyle.
Found in shampoo bottles, medical plastics, some dog toys, and window trim, this plastic is typically not used for household items that can be consumed as it can contain phthalates. PVC is usually recycled into paneling, flooring, cables and decks. Almost all products using PVC require virgin material for their construction; less than 1% of PVC material is recycled. While some PCV products can be repurposed, PVC products should not be reused for applications with food or for children’s use.
Find out more about what plastics Recyclops uses and why.
Bottles you can squeeze like shampoo or condiment bottles are made from LDPE. LDPE is considered less toxic than other plastics, and relatively safe for use. It is not commonly recycled, however, although this is changing in many communities today as plastic recycling programs like Recyclops gear up to handle this material. When recycled, LDPE plastic is used for plastic lumber, landscaping boards, garbage can liners and even our Recyclops bags. Products made using recycled LDPE are not as hard or rigid as those made using recycled HDPE plastic.
To cut down on the amount of LDPE that you consume, try replacing your plastic grocery bags with fabric alternatives and taking a cloth bag to your local bakery the next time you buy a loaf of bread. You can also replace plastic sandwich bags with platinum silicone alternatives, which are heat safe.
The #7 category was designed as a catch-all for polycarbonate (PC) and “other” plastics, so reuse and recycling protocols are not standardized within this category. Of primary concern with #7 plastics, however, is the potential for chemical leaching into food or drink products packaged in polycarbonate containers made using BPA (Bisphenol A). BPA is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor.
A new generation of compostable plastics, made from bio-based polymers like corn starch, is being developed to replace polycarbonates. These are also included in category #7, which can be confusing to the consumer. These compostable plastics have the initials “PLA” on the bottom near the recycling symbol. Some may also say “Compostable.”
To avoid chemicals leaking into your foods from food packaging, try going homemade and storing your leftovers (or your lunches) in platinum silicone or stainless steel.
Our team at Recyclops makes it easy to recycle today straight from the convenience of your home. With our service, you know that your recyclables are going to a designated recycling facility and not a landfill. Learn more about where your recycling goes here.
Depending on your location, recycling is as easy as putting all your materials in one or more bags (depending on how many you have) and putting them right on your doorstep or curbside. Your local Recyclops driver will be there to pick up your materials and ensure they arrive at the destination. And don’t worry about making space for another bin, Recyclops bags or carts come with all our services and pickups come at your convenience.
We want to make recycling easy and simple, and that starts with recycling on your schedule.
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