Plastic Recycling by Number: What Do Those Numbers Mean?

Have you set up a garage recycling center? We live in a community where our local recycling center picks up almost all recyclable material for us in a single bin. Some of you may not be so lucky and have to sort by plastic-type. I have broken down the 7 types of plastic to help you sort it out.

#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET):
2-liter soda bottles, microwaveable food dishes, boil in a bag food pouches, egg cartons, and other food containers.

#2 High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE):
Hard thick plastic such as shampoo & conditioner bottles, milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, and OTC medication bottles.

#3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):
Plastic piping, nonfood packaging, and cooking oil bottles.

#4 Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE):
Bread bags, plastic wrap, squeezable food bottles and grocery bags.

#5 Polypropylene (PP):
Yogurt containers, straws, and syrup bottles.

#6 Polystyrene (PS) A.K.A Styrofoam:
Styrofoam egg cartons, hot beverage cups, and packing peanuts.

#7 Other:
Any plastic made with a resin that isn’t listed above. Check with your local recycling center for more information.

Do you recycle?

4 Responses to Plastic Recycling by Number: What Do Those Numbers Mean?

  1. Anonymous June 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm #


    Do you know about biodegradable material that can replace most of plastic materials? This kind of material can be biodegraded in soil and it is totally safe, and non-toxic eco environmentally friendly material.

    Have you heard about it? Any information you like to share with us? Thank you!


  2. Sweet Greens June 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm #

    Hi MicheyLove,
    Great question! Thank you for asking. I think biodegradable and compostable material is great. However, most biodegradable and compostable material needs the right environment to break down. You may want to send them to your local commerical composting facility, since they may not break down in the landfill or your home compost. Since biodegradable/compostable material isn’t made with petroleum, it is definitely a better option.

  3. Sweet Greens June 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm #

    Hi MicheyLove,
    Also remember to look for products that are 100% biodegradable and compostable.

  4. waste management February 20, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Efficient way to make people aware about plastic recycling. Still many of us not knowing about plastic number and the basis on which they are distinguished. Quite appreciative.

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