Conclusion: products made from LDPE are reusable but not commonly recyclable. Plastic is often downcycled to create clothing, fleece, or even lumber. In order to properly clean and decontaminate, it would require the use of harmful chemicals. But, the reality is that the recycling rate of plastic isn’t very high (at least with current plastics and current recycling technology). Styrene, the chemical present in polystyrene, can migrate into food from packaging. It is a generally safe and reusable option but won’t last forever. Mostly all single-serving and 2-liter bottles of soda and water sold in the United States are made from PET. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_4',108,'0','0'])); Due to its toxic chemicals, it’s not commonly recyclable, therefore polystyrene ends up in the landfill accounting for nearly 30% of landfill material in the United States. Examples include soda and water bottles, medicine containers, and many other common consumer product containers. Every plastic can be recycled… technically. It is often used for single use clear plastic bottles. eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_7',116,'0','0'])); Here are the seven classifications for plastics and the recycling information for each type: This one of the most common forms of plastic that is clear, strong, and lightweight. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of gasoline can be saved by recycling just one ton of plastics. If heated in a microwave with food, it can leach the chemical styrene into the food. It is accepted at most recycling centers throughout the world. However tempting it may be, PET #1 bottles should not be re-purposed as reusable water bottles. Number 6 goes on polystyrene (commonly called Styrofoam) items such as coffee cups, disposable cutlery, meat trays, packing “peanuts” and insulation. When No. This category includes polycarbonates and a variety of different plastic types some of which are recyclable and some of which are not. Its bio-based properties make it compostable and can easily be thrown into the compost bin, however, it’s not recyclable. It is also impact and moisture resistant making it a versatile choice for many outdoor commercial materials. The goal of recycling plastic is to reduce high rates of plastic pollution while putting less pressure on virgin materials to produce brand new plastic products. Some worrisome emerging environmental issues involve plastics, including gigantic oceanic garbage patches and the microbeads problem. This will indicate the type of plastic. Most products using PVC require the manufacturing of new “virgin” material for its construction which adds a large environmental impact to its overall production. Like PET, it has both hard and soft forms, with the hard form used for such things as credit or room cards, pipes and framework, and the soft kind often used for shoes, bags and pleather products. There are so many plastics out there that I was confused about which ones can be recycled and which ones cannot.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-box-2','ezslot_3',102,'0','0'])); So which types of plastic can be recycled? Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and rope. by Wanda Thompson | Eco-Friendly, Recycled Materials. So plastic only gets recycled the one time and can’t be recycled again. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Products that are made from HDPE plastic: Conclusion: HDPE is recyclable and reusable. The full health effects are still fully unknown, but it’s not a risk I’d be willing to take. Once it has been processed by a recycling facility, PET can become fiberfill for winter coats, sleeping bags, and life jackets. It’s not as hard or durable as HDPE but is less toxic than other plastics and safe for use with foods. You can reuse any LDPE plastic containers you may have for as long as possible. The other is low-density polyethylene, sometimes referred to as LDPE or #4 plastic. You may also see the symbol molded into the plastic. Polyvinyl chloride, commonly used in plastic pipes, shower curtains, medical tubing, vinyl dashboards, gets number 3. It is widely used with single-use drinking straws but is also the thin plastic packaging that will keep foods such as chips and cereals freshly sealed. But recycling is a complicated business, and just because a piece of plastic can be recycled once, does not mean it can be recycled further, or that it’s cost-effective to do so. A … According to the non-profit organization Sea Sick Fish, polluted waterways will have bits of polystyrene present which can be toxic when ingested by marine life. Avoid exposing HDPE plastic containers to sunlight or excessive heat to prolong their lifespan. PET is durable but can degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat, or prolonged making it a poor reusable option. It has a high tolerance for sunlight and weather conditions making it an ideal material for outdoor products. According to the American Plastics Council, an industry trade group, the symbols also help recyclers do their jobs more effectively. PET plastic bottles are generally safe but should not be reused as bacteria can grow on the surface due to film from our lips and backwash when drinking. If it means an improvement for my family and the planet as a whole, I’m all for it! A Guide to the Most Eco-Friendly Materials, 21 Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in the Bathroom, Why You Should Use Eco-Friendly Kitchen Products (8 Reasons). Scientists estimate there are more than 8.3 billion plastic straws polluting the shorelines around the world. The number on the inside of the symbol and the abbreviation are the important factors. Not recyclable, unless a drop-off location exists in your area. HDPE can also be beneficial due to its lightweight yet durable properties, making it an excellent alternative to producing heavier materials. Also known as vinyl, PVC is a soft and flexible plastic common for construction and healthcare, but can also be found for personal applications in the home. These cookies do not store any personal information. The symbol code we are familiar with — a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 surrounded by a triangle of arrows — was designed by The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers. Usually imprinted with a number 7 or nothing at all, these plastics are the most difficult to recycle. BPA or bisphenol A is commonly known amongst consumers nowadays due to its unknown and yet potentially harmful effects. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'householdwonders_com-leader-3','ezslot_10',109,'0','0'])); The verdict: Most #7 plastics are not recyclable or reusable. This waste makes up around 69% of all the plastic we use, according to the Greenpeace report. The plastic is ground into chips or flakes and washed to remove labels or residue. When entering a landfill the plastic additives can leach chlorine, carcinogens, and other toxic chemicals into the soil. A water-safe drinking garden hose is also a safer option. 1 – PET plastic is the most widely recycled. Plastics are particularly troublesome, as different types require different processing to be reformulated and re-used as raw material. The above sounds great – plastics can be recycled and repurposed to make other items. Recycling gets more complicated with higher numbers, called "mixed plastic," Pochiro said. Join a recycling program by participating in curbside pickup. Just because an item is made from plastic, or contains plastic parts, doesn’t mean recycling facilities can handle it. As well as plastic packaging more … It’s more cost-effective to produce a product from recycled HDPE than to produce a “virgin” plastic (newly manufactured plastic). Look for products and establishments that use eco-friendly packaging alternatives such as biodegradable or compostable paper. But, Consider The Recycling Rate Of Plastic. PET is actually polyester, (a synthetic resin also used in synthetic textile fibers) but its primary use is for packaging food and beverages, especially soda and water bottles. Recycling plastic wasn't making economic sense: There were too many different kinds of plastic, hundreds of them, and they can't be melted down together. The most widely recycled plastics are the two used to make soft drinks bottles and milk bottles: PET and HDPE. However, the foam versions of plastic #6 (for example, cheap coffee cups) pick up a lot of dirt and other contaminants during the handling process, and often just ends up being thrown away at the recycling facility. Plastic bags can be recycled and made into products such as natural-wood-looking decking. Drop off points are also located at most Aldi, Repco Auto, Battery World or Super Cheap Auto Stores, or visit The Australian Battery Recycling Initiative for more information. Mouthwash bottles 4. Once recycled, it can be ground up and reused to make vinyl flooring, window frames, or piping. Garbage, food waste, food-tainted items, ceramics, kitchenware, and certain plastics (see above) are not recyclable. Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics (HDPE). The plastic industry has complied with regulations by making the resin identification (RIC) codes visible to consumers on the packaging, but it’s up to you to be an informed consumer. Contact your local Council for more information on recycling batteries. These plastics are recycled into things like plastic lumber, floor tile, trash cans and liners, compost bins, shipping envelopes, plastic brooms, rakes, trays, hairbrushes, ice … Many European countries have adopted policies to ban PVC from landfills. Infrastructure for the collection, sorting and reprocessing of these valuable resources has increased in the UK in recent years. The Plastic Recycling Process The most simple of plastic recycling processes include collecting, sorting through, shredding, cleaning, and pelletizing. Many facilities now accept #1 through #7 but check with them first to make sure. It has also been linked to birth defects, testicular cancer, and liver problems. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Fizzy pop bottles 3. HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics and is also considered one of the safest forms of plastic as it has a low risk of leaching into foods or liquids. Look for alternatives that are PVC-free to reduce your exposure to this potentially toxic plastic.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'householdwonders_com-leader-2','ezslot_9',106,'0','0'])); LDPE is used to make thin and flexible products you will find on food packaging and consumer goods. Look for the initials “PLA” or “compostable” under the recycling symbol to be sure. Foam Packaging Plastic foam packaging actually is made up of more than 95% air! Cloth diapers are a viable and reusable alternative to disposable diapers. Plastics are one of the most widely used consumer materials in the world. This material is widely used even though it’s composed of highly dangerous carcinogens, but many establishments still use it today due to it being such a versatile and cost-effective option. Recycling can alleviate some of the problems, but the confusion over what we can and cannot recycle continues to confound consumers. Look for plastics that are BPA-free when using for food consumption or storage. They have to be sorted out. As of 2014 there were 1800 businesses in the United States that handling or reclaiming plastic bags [4].. eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-leader-1','ezslot_6',105,'0','0'])); PVC is known as a “poison plastic” because it contains numerous toxins that can leach throughout its lifespan. The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and are assigned the number 1. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and rope. This is not a very sustainable material and I would suggest avoiding when possible. Compared with the lucrative recycling of metal, and similar to the low value of glass recycling, plastic polymers recycling is often more challenging because of low density and low value. Even non-electric toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers can be recycled, although the only national scheme accepting these items is TerraCycle. Mixed plastics packaging (trays, tubs, pots, films etc) can also be mechanically recycled, and it is both economically and environmentally effective to do so. It is also impact and moisture resistant making it a versatile choice for many outdoor commercial materials. To effectively recycle plastic items, you need to know two things: the plastic number of the material, and which of these types of plastics your municipality's recycling service accepts. It should be recycled when it shows signs of cracking, scuffing, scratches or becomes cloudy and discolored. Unfortunately, only about 30% of HDPE is actually recycled in the United States with many plastic bags ending up in a landfill or dispersed throughout the environment. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo, and motor oil. This repurposes the used plastic in a useful way. Selected EarthTalk columns are reprinted here by permission of the editors of E. EarthTalk is a regular feature of E/The Environmental Magazine. Recycled plastic items are initially sorted into different types of plastic. These chemicals can also contaminate waterways and air quality. The only reusable #7 plastic may be PLA. Products that are made using LDPE plastic: LDPE has traditionally not been a very recyclable plastic, however, many recycling centers are changing to adapt to this service. Join me in my adventure of learning and exploring different ways to living more eco-friendly. Many will end up in landfills and will take 20-30 years to decompose. And in the end, the many vagaries involved in plastic recycling will ultimately determine its continued viability in … The particular processes will vary based on the resin identification number or the types of plastic been recycled. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo, and motor oil. When recycled, the plastic is shredded and crushed into tiny flakes and then reprocessed to make new PET bottles or polyester fibers and textiles. If you can understand these classifications, you can increase your awareness of how to safely use plastic, correctly recycle, and reduce any additional plastic waste that can be harmful to the environment.eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_0',110,'0','0'])); How can I start recycling? If your municipality accepts #7, good, but otherwise you will have to re-purpose the object or throw it in the trash. Selected EarthTalk columns are reprinted by permission of the editors of E. HDPE (High-density polyethylene plastics), A Brief History of the Invention of Plastics, Plastic Definition and Examples in Chemistry, Everything You Need to Know About Plastics. It’s cheap to produce, lightweight and has many uses. There are other resources (e.g., Earth911.org ) that can help answer questions about what to do with non-recyclables or household hazardous waste. Try to reduce your use of LDPE plastic by switching to alternatives to plastic grocery bags such as cloth tote bags. There are seven plastic codes printed on plastic product labels, however, not all of them can be recycled. Look for products without excessive disposable plastic packaging. Some PVC products could be repurposed or “upcycled” but due to its toxic properties, PVC should not be reused for food use or for children. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. These chemicals also make it very difficult to recycle, with only 1% of PVC actually getting recycled yearly in the United States. LEXAN is another polycarbonate that serves as a brand name for the creation of many modern products known for their durability and high-impact strength. Nearly every product we consume is packaged with plastic. You can reduce your PP use by opting for alternatives to single-use plastic straws by switching to reusable drinking straws. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Polypropylene is lightweight yet durable with heat-resistance properties that will be a strong barrier against, moisture, grease, and chemicals. Yoghurt pots (check the plastic before recycling as some can be made from polystyrene) PET can be recycled into polyester fabric and filling for for fleeces, carpets and cushion fillings. Conclusion: Polypropylene is recyclable and safe to be reused. Plastic is a versatile and inexpensive material with thousands of uses, but it is also a significant source of pollution. Plastics included in this category include some plastic milk cartons, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, and liquid detergent containers. This material is commonly known as “styrofoam”. When recycled, PP can be used to make landscaping borders, battery cases, brooms, bins, and trays. You can also opt for reusable food containers and reusable coffee cups. plastic bags you will find in grocery stores, Toiletries including mouthwash, shampoo, and liquid hand soap, Picnic tables, park benches, and playground equipment, Coatings for paper milk cartons and disposable cups, Foam packaging and “peanut” packaging found when shipping boxes. It can also be used to make beanbags, rope, car bumpers, tennis ball felt, combs, sails for boats, furniture and, of course, other plastic bottles. 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