When it comes to recycling plastics, not all are created the same. Some are easier to recycle than others because of the type of material they’re made from. At Becher Plastics, we want to educate you on the properties of each of these recycled plastic resins so you can be more informed about where you’ll find these materials and how easy they are to recycle them.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET)
PETE is one of the more common plastic resins that you’ll come across in your daily life as it’s commonly used in soda bottles, water bottles, and food packaging. If you’re trying to minimize your carbon footprint as you use plastics, you can feel pretty good about using products that are made from PETE as it’s the easiest plastic to recycle because the polymer chain (or molecular makeup) breaks down at a temperature that’s considerably lower than other plastics. Once the materials are broken down, they can be recycled into polyester fibers that are often used in clothing. The NFL uses these recycled fibers to make many of their practice jerseys and some large companies use them to make parts of their employee uniforms as well.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
Look around your house at thick, durable plastic bottles like those that hold laundry detergents, bleach, motor oil, and even milk. These are made from HDPE because the resin is made from polymers that are tightly packed to create strong plastic. Because the resin is so dense, HDPE is non-biodegradable and will take centuries for it to break down. This means that it’s incredibly important to make an effort to recycle these containers. Once recycled, HDPE can be made into more bottles and bags.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
PVC is the plastic that you’re going to see the most in your everyday life as it’s in just about everything you use. You’ll find that the pipes in your plumbing and sprinkler system, furniture, and toys are often made of PVC because it’s strong and lightweight. Its fire-resistant nature is also attractive as pipes and toys won’t burn but will only melt in a fire. While PVC isn’t generally easily recycled, companies that use PVC to make products can re-use scraps in-house, which means that nothing has to go to waste during production.
Low-density polyethylene (LPDE)
Similar to HDPE, LPDE is a strong and durable plastic that’s difficult to break and waterproof. It can also withstand punishment from many hazardous chemicals. While HDPE is much thicker, LPDE is not as heavy-duty and is often used for products that require flexibility like grocery bags and sandwich bags. LPDE is most often recycled to make more grocery and sandwich bags.
PP falls into the group of plastic resins that are more difficult to recycle because it doesn’t break down easily. It’s often used to make items like clothing, bottles, ropes, and tubs. Only a small portion of what’s produced can be recycled and the portion that is will be used to make more of the same products it originally came from.
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Recycling plastics is an important part of minimizing our carbon footprint as a society. Proper recycling requires knowing which recycled plastic resins can be reused and made into new products. At Becher Plastics, we can help you properly recycle your plastics and eliminate single-use plastic in your everyday life. Give us a call at 920-809-4778 or send a message using our contact form to learn more about recyclable plastics and how you can reduce your impact on the environment.