Unveiling the Variety of Recycled Plastic Resins in Wisconsin
March 3, 2024 at 10:00 PM
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From our oceans to our streets, plastic pollution has become an international crisis. But in the midst of this, a silent eco-warrior is emerging – the use of recycled plastic resins. For eco-conscious consumers, industry professionals, and sustainability advocates, understanding the different types of recycled plastic resins is a pivotal point in the dialogue around green products and materials. With a focus on Wisconsin’s products and practices, we will explore the variety of plastic resins being recycled in detail.

Understanding the Resin Identification Code

First and foremost, it helps to understand how we label these resins. The Resin Identification Code (RIC)—a set of symbols represented by numbers and sometimes letters—identifies the type of plastic in a product. The code ranges from #1 (PET) to #7 (OTHER) and is often found on the bottom of containers. The following are some of the most common plastic resins:

  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET) – #1: Generally used for soda bottles, certain food containers, and other common consumer products.
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) – #2: Used for milk jugs, detergent bottles, and pesticide containers.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – #3: Common in pipes and plumbing.
  • Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) – #4: Often used for plastic bags, six-pack rings, and various other products.
  • Polypropylene (PP) – #5: Suitable for bottle caps, drinking straws, and food containers.
  • Polystyrene (PS) – #6: Familiar as styrofoam, CD cases, and plastic cutlery.

By understanding the RIC, consumers can make more informed choices regarding recycling and the products they use.

The Most Common Types of Recycled Plastic Resins in Wisconsin

Now that we know our codes, it’s time to examine which resins see the most significant recycling efforts. Here are the most common types of recycled plastic resins, how they are repurposed, and their impact:

  • Post-Consumer PETE (rPET): This is perhaps the most recognized form of recycled resin as through recycling, PET bottles can be transformed into clothing, carpets, and even new bottles. The rPET process significantly reduces energy consumption compared to making virgin PET.
  • Post-Consumer HDPE (rHDPE): Recycled HDPE finds a new life in picnic tables, playground equipment, and, more recently, as raw material for 3D printing filament. This durable and lightweight plastic not only stays out of landfills but also prevents the need for more traditional building materials.
  • Post-Consumer LDPE (rLDPE): Flexible and tough, recycled LDPE can turn into trash bags, paneling, and floor tiles, showing great versatility in post-consumer applications.
  • Post-Consumer PP (rPP): Commonly found in yogurt containers, rPP is turning into battery cases, signal lights, and brooms, showcasing a range of end-uses with little material degradation.
  • Post-Consumer PS (rPS): Although less commonly recycled, recycled PS is finding use in products where its insulating properties are valuable, like picture frames and thermal insulation.

Wisconsin’s Role in the Recycled Resin Revolution

Wisconsin has been making strides in sustainable material innovation and recycling practices. With companies like Trek Bicycle Corporation, which uses rPET for its water bottles and bike parts, and PureCycle Technologies pioneering a recycling process for PP that delivers virgin-like resin quality, the state proves to be at the forefront of the recycled resin revolution.

Wisconsin’s commitment to sustainability aligns with the need to reduce plastic waste globally. By focusing on the direct impact of recycling efforts on local communities and the environment, the state's initiatives set an inspiring example for other regions to follow suit.

Trust the Experts for Recycled Plastic Resins in Wisconsin

The use of recycled plastic resins is a beacon of hope in the fight against plastic pollution. Each resin type offers a unique set of benefits when recycled, and understanding how these materials are reimagined can inspire a shift towards a more mindful approach to consumption and waste management. By recognizing the value in recycled resins and the efforts being made, particularly in regions like Wisconsin, we take another step forward in the quest for a sustainable future.

To learn more about recycled plastic resins in Wisconsin, get in touch with us at Becher Plastics today.