When we’re working to recycle as much plastic as possible, throwing all our plastics in a recycling bin is easy. This often makes us feel good that we’re making a conscious effort to reduce our carbon footprint. However, it’s also important to understand that not everything we use made from plastic is recyclable. There are multiple types of plastic that are used for many different reasons. At Becher Plastics, we can help educate you regarding what plastics can be recycled and where you’ll find them in your everyday life.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
PET is one of the more common plastics people come across in their daily lives. Plastic water and soda bottles are made of PET and can be easily recycled after they’ve been rinsed out. It’s one of the more efficiently recycled plastics in the industry and provides a high yield in return. At the same time, you might be trying to avoid throwing out plastic bottles by reusing them. Although, it’s not recommended that you refill PET bottles as they can leach carcinogens into your drink as the plastic degrades over time. You can identify materials made from PET by a number one in the recyclable triangle.
High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
HDPE is a thicker plastic that’s used for products that require a more durable container. You’ll find it in containers used for shampoo, conditioner, motor oil, and even recycling bins. The plastic feels stronger because the polymer chains are tightly packed together. They’re also made stronger by the color and pigmentation that’s added. HDPE is easily recycled and also provides a high yield in return. Once you finish your shampoo or laundry soap, simply rinse the container and toss it into the recycling bin. You can identify HDPE by the number two.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
PVC is among one of the most durable plastics used to create everyday items. It can be found in children’s toys, plumbing pipes, medical devices, blood storage bags, and much more. It’s a versatile material that provides strength and durability other materials can’t provide. While it is recyclable, the recycling process is labor-intensive and often releases toxic chemicals like chlorine into the environment. For this reason, it’s often recommended that PVC be separated from other plastics, but you can have PVC recycled if you have a facility to take it to. PVC is identified with the number three in the recycle triangle.
Not all products made from PP can be recycled. You’ll find this type of plastic is used in straws, rope, bottle caps, and yogurt containers. Not all recycling facilities will recycle PP, so it often ends up in a landfill. If your local recycling facility doesn’t take PP, consider reusing PP products as it won’t leach carcinogens or other harmful chemicals into foods or other products you store in them. PP is identified on products that have a number five in the recycling triangle.
Materials like low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polystyrene (PS), BPA, polycarbonate, and others are not recyclable. You’ll find these in objects like plastic grocery sacks (LDPE), styrofoam (PS), and old water bottles (BPA). These plastics either flake apart easily, break, or contain harmful chemicals and cannot be recycled, and should not be reused. These plastics can be identified by the numbers four, six, and seven, respectively.
Contact us for more
You can learn more about what plastics can be recycled by getting in touch with us at Becher Plastics. We’ve been recycling plastics since the 1970s and are experts in the field. Give us a call at 920-809-4778 or send a message using our contact form. We can schedule an appointment to speak with you about plastic usage and recycling.