What’s a Plastic #5? What’s PET?
All plastic should have a number stamped it. This number indicates what type of plastic it’s made from, and therefore how it can be recycled. It’s a different process for different types of material, and some are more economical than others – that’s why recyclers need to know which type.
Here’s what the numbers mean:
|Made From||Advantages||Used for||Recycled used for|
|1||PET or PETEPolyethelyne terephthalate||Keeps out moisture, clear and tough||Plastic bottles for soft drinks, water, beer, salad dressings; peanut butter and jam jars||Clothing, carpets, luggage, some food and drinks containers, polar fleece, tote bags|
|2||HDPE High density Polyethelyne||Resistant to moisture and some chemicals, shapes easily, permeable to gas||Containers for milk, juice, water, shampoo, detergent, margarine, motor oil||Shampoo bottles, buckets, flower pots, benches, fencing, picnic tables|
|3||PVCPolyvinyl chloride||Versatile, strong, easy to blend||Blood bags, medical tubing, window frames, carpet backing, non-food blister packaging, vinyl records, pipes||Garden hoses, traffic cones, floor mats and tiles, mudflaps, decks, cables, speed-bumps|
|4||LDPE Low density polyethylene||Transparent, tough, flexible, good sealant, barrier to moisture||Squeezable bottles, dry-cleaning bags, frozen food bags, flexible container lids, cling film, carpets, clothing||Furniture, floor tiles, rubbish bins, compost bins, shipping envelopes, panelling|
|5||PP Polypropylene||Strong, tough, barrier to moisture, resistant to heat, chemicals, grease and oil||Reusable microwaveable ware, kitchenware, yogurt containers, margarine tubs, microwaveable disposable take-away containers, disposable cups and plates, bottle caps, straws||Bike racks, cases for car batteries and battery cables, brooms, ice scrapers, pallets, signal lights|
|6||PS Polystyrene||Excellent insulator||Aspirin bottles, hot drinks cups, egg cartons, packing peanuts; disposable cups, plates, trays and cutlery; disposable take-away containers;||Desk trays, thermometers, rulers, insulation, light switch plates, foam packing, take-away containers|
|7||O Other (often polycarbonate)||Combination of polymers||Beverage bottles, baby milk bottles, CDs, “unbreakable” glazing, music player and computer housings, lenses for sunglasses and prescription glasses, car headlamps, riot shields, instrument panels, large water bottles, bullet-proof materials, nylon||Certain bottles and plastic items|
So now you know that the “gimme 5” slogan is used to collect polypropylene items for recycling.
Next: what the numbers mean to YOU.
P.S. Did you notice in the chart above that the caps for plastic water and soda bottles are a different type of plastic from the bottles? More on that later…..