Everything You Need to Know About Plastic Grades
April 6, 2024 at 4:00 AM
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Plastic is an essential material in our modern world, but its disposal and recycling can be a significant environmental concern. Understanding the different grades of plastic and its recyclability is vital to making sustainable choices and reducing our carbon footprint.

In this blog post, we will discuss the seven standard classifications for plastics and provide recycling and reuse information for each type, so you can make informed decisions about the plastics you use and dispose of.

Introduction to Plastic Grades and Recycling

Plastic is a versatile material that is used in a wide range of products, from beverage containers to automotive parts. Understanding the different types of plastics and their recycling capabilities is crucial for reducing waste and promoting sustainability. The seven standard classifications for plastics, as defined by the Resin Identification Code (RIC), play a key role in determining the recyclability and reuse potential of each type.

Plastics are designated with a number between 1 and 7, usually stamped on the bottom of containers. Each number represents a specific type of plastic, and knowing these classifications can help consumers and businesses make informed decisions about disposing of and recycling plastic products.

The Seven Standard Classifications for Plastics

When it comes to identifying the type of plastic you are using or disposing of, it is essential to understand the seven standard classifications for plastics. These classifications are based on the Resin Identification Code (RIC), which is a number inside a triangle symbol usually found on the bottom of plastic containers. The seven standard classifications are as follows:

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET): This type of plastic is commonly used in beverage bottles and food containers. It is one of the most widely accepted plastics for recycling.
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): HDPE is often used in milk jugs, juice bottles, and other household items. It is also widely accepted for recycling.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC is commonly used in pipes, fittings, and siding. It is not often accepted for recycling and should be avoided when possible.
  • Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): LDPE is used in plastic bags, wraps, and squeezable bottles. It is not always accepted for recycling and should be used sparingly.
  • Polypropylene (PP): PP is found in food containers, medicine bottles, and packaging materials. It is generally accepted for recycling.
  • Polystyrene (PS): PS is used in foam packaging, disposable cups, and take-out containers. It is not often accepted for recycling and should be used minimally.
  • Other: This category includes all other plastics that do not fit into the above classifications. It is important to check with local recyclers to see if these plastics are accepted for recycling.

Recycling and Reuse Information for Each Plastic Type

When it comes to recycling and reusing plastics, it's important to understand the seven standard classifications for plastics and the specific guidelines for each type. Generally, most recyclers accept plastics with the recycling codes #1 (PET or PETE), #2 (HDPE), #4 (LDPE), and #5 (PP). These plastics are commonly used in products such as beverage bottles, food containers, and packaging materials, making them relatively easy to recycle.

However, plastics with codes #3 (PVC), #6 (PS), and #7 (Other) are more challenging to recycle and may not be accepted by all recycling facilities. PVC, for example, contains chlorine and is almost always excluded from curbside programs, while PS and Other plastics may have limited recycling options.

For each type of plastic, it's important to check with local recycling programs to determine the specific guidelines for recycling and reusing. Some products, such as plastic bags and film, can be recycled at many grocery stores, while other types of plastics may require special drop-off locations or mail-in programs for recycling.

Contact Us to Learn More!

If your business wants to recycle its plastics, contact us at Becher Plastics for information about our recycling services.