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The Significance of Plastic Recycling Numbers

Niharika Arya Feb 21, 2020
All the plastic items cannot be recycled. Hence, on the bases of their recycling ability different types of plastics are given different numbers. These numbers range from 1 to 7. Find detailed information about this topic here.
Plastic is among the greatest inventions. It is used in almost every small thing around us and has become an inseparable part of our daily life. Although plastic has benefited us in several ways, it has become one of the most dangerous things on the planet. This is because once it is created it cannot be destroyed.
It can stay as it is, for several years and will do irreparable harm to the nature. Hence, to stop more production of plastic, the concept of recycling came into picture. There are different recycling procedures for different types of plastic.
These types are denoted by numbers from 1 to 7. These numbers help in segregating different types of plastic according to their recycling procedure. They are called plastic recycling numbers.

What are Plastic Recycling Numbers

There are seven types of plastic, represented by numbers from 1 to 7. Not all types of plastic can be recycled. With the help of recycling numbers sealed on the plastic articles you can find out whether it can be recycled or not. These numbers can be seen either on the back of the item or on its side. You will find the number inside the recycling symbol.

Number 1: PET or PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

Number 1 plastic is considered to be quite safe for nature. It is found on the soft drink, water, mouthwash and beer bottles. Used as a container for peanut butter, vegetable oil and salad dressing.
They can be easily recycled because of their soft, lightweight and porous nature into furniture, tote bags, paneling, straps, fibers, polar fleece etc. This plastic is picked up by curbside recycling programs.

Number 2: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)

Number 2 plastic is also considered to be safe for nature. This type of plastic is found in bottles of detergents, shampoo, motor oil, bleach, milk jugs, juice, etc.
They can also be found on the containers of yogurt, butter, cereal boxes etc. Recycling these plastic bottles can produce other articles like pens, containers, floor tiles, dog houses, tables, fencing, benches, oil bottles, drainage pipe, etc. It is picked up by curbside recycling programs.

Number 3: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)

Number 3 plastic is dangerous to nature as it is very rarely recycled and if burnt, releases toxic substances. It can be found in bottles of shampoo, detergent, cooking oil, window cleaner, etc.
It can also be used for food packaging, windows, piping, medical equipment, wire jacketing, etc. It can be transformed into paneling, decks, roadway gutters, cables, speed bumps, flooring, etc. They are rarely recycled hence, taken by very few plastic lumber makers. Hence, it is better to minimize the usage of this plastic.

Number 4: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)

Number 4 plastic is considered harmless to nature as it can be recycled. It can be used for many applications such as packaging of frozen food, bread, shopping bags, furniture, clothing, carpets etc.
These plastics can be recycled to form trash cans and liners, paneling, lumber, shipping envelopes, compost bins, floor tiles, etc. Although they can be recycled, still they are not taken up by many curbside recycling programs.

Number 5: PP (Polypropylene)

Number 5 plastic can be recycled and hence, does not harm the nature too much. It can be found in syrup bottles, caps, straws, ketchup bottles, medicine bottles, yogurt containers, etc.
They can be recycled into signal lights, brushes, brooms, ice scrapers, racks, bins, trays, battery cables, etc. As this product has a high melting point it can be used to keep hot food. It can be accepted by curbside recycling programs.

Number 6: PS (Polystyrene)

Number 6 plastic comes under the category of plastic which should be avoided. It can be found in aspirin bottles, compact disc, disposable plates and cups, meat tray, carry out containers, etc.
These plastics can be transformed into switch plates, vents, rulers, insulation, foam packaging, etc. They are considered dangerous as they are believed to release toxins in the food. They are taken by some curbside programs for recycling.

Number 7: Miscellaneous

All the other types of plastic are included in this category. These plastic are harmful to nature as they cannot be recycled traditionally. They can be found in water bottles, bullet proof materials, sunglasses, computer case, DVDs, iPods, nylon, etc.
They are recycled very rarely and can be transformed into plastic lumber, custom-made products, etc. This is one of the most dangerous recycling numbers. BPA or Bisphenol A can be leached by this number which can directly harm the endocrine and is very dangerous for the hormones.
From theĀ given information we can make out that number 1, 2, 4 and 5 are the safe plastic recycling numbers. Rest of them are harmful for nature and are difficult to recycle. You should avoid the numbers which are harmful.
There are lots of benefits of recycling plastic and hence, it is very important for you to understand the significance of these numbers and should always check for them before buying any plastic product.