What We Recycle

Plastic Recycling

Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastics and reprocessing the material into useful products. Compared to glass or metallic materials, plastic poses unique challenges – because of the massive number of types of plastic, they each carry a resin identification code, and must be sorted before they can be recycled. This can be costly – while metals can be sorted using electromagnets, no such ‘easy sorting’ capability exists for plastics. In addition to this, while labels do not need to be removed from bottles for recycling, lids are often made from a different kind of non-recyclable plastic.

Recycling Statistics on Plastic:
  • The rising costs of placing waste in landfills
  • Tough new government regulations
  • Tax credits awarded to those who divert materials from landfills
  • The availability of new recycling equipment such as mobile crushing and screening
  • The population’s steadily growing concern for the environment
  • Growth in government projects that generate C&D debris
  • Increasing aftermarket value of recycled steel and lumber

Plastic is a versatile synthetic material and has integrated itself in human usage over the years. We wrap our food in it, store items in it, drink from it and eat off it, we have parties surrounded by plastic and even wear it; of all this plastic only 3 to 5 percent is recycled in America. Much of the rest of this plastic goes into landfills and takes 200 – 400 years to decompose.

Are all types of plastic recyclable? The ease of recycling the various types of plastic differs.

Type 1 Plastic – Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)
PET and PETE plastic can be recycled into carpet yarns, fiberfill, tote bags, food and drink containers, luggage and clothing. Easy to recycle and poses low risk of leaching breakdown products.

Type 2 Plastic – High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
The “PE-HD” symbol is often used by plastic bag industries. Easy to recycle and poses low risk of leaching breakdown products.

Type 3 Plastic (PVC) – contains chlorine, and hence, in its manufacture, as well as its disposal (eg. incineration), highly dangerous and toxic gases are released. Rarely recycled because of high costs.

Type 4 Plastic (LDPE – are historically not accepted by most American curbside recycling programs. Nevertheless, more and more communities are starting to accept it these days. The “PE-LD” recycling codes are often used by plastic bag manufacturers.

Type 5 Plastic (PP) – are gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers. The acronym PP (Polypropylene) is used to refer to type 5 plastic. PP plastic is used extensively for packaging purposes. Given its high melting point and good chemical resistance, it is also used to contain hot-fill liquids, and molded in automotive parts.

Type 6 Plastic (PS) – such as Styrofoam, leach toxins and are very difficult to recycle.

Type 7 Plastic – Others. Rarely recycled because of high costs.

Recycling Tip: If you wish to make a difference to the environment, you should try to send your Type 1 and 2 plastics for recycling as much as possible. You should also try to reduce your consumption of Type 3 to 7 plastics, as toxins are usually released in their production, use and disposal.

 

We Keep These Products out of Landfills: Plastic • Paper • PVC • Vinyl Siding • Metal • Wood Learn More