Plastic Recycling Symbols: What do They Mean?

Plastic Recycling Symbols: What do They Mean?

#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)
Be sure to recycle these products but do not reuse them, as they can release toxic carcinogens.
Example: Drink bottles, polyester clothing + rope, and food containers

#2 High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
These plastics are safe to recycle and reuse and are considered one of the safest plastics.
Example: Detergent bottles, milk cartons, buckets, cereal box bags, and toys

#3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or Vinyl)
*Very Difficult
Also known a poison plastic, it's highly toxic and should NOT be recycled.
Example: Credit cards, rain gutters, pet and human toys, teething rings, Medical tools (IV bags, oxygen masks, and medical tubing)

#4 Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Although this plastic is a bit more challenging to recycle; it is a safe material that can be reused.
Example: grocery bags, drinking cups, bread bags (Ziploc), garbage bags, bubble wrap

#5 Polypropylene (PP)
This plastic is very durable and safe to use but, it is advised to avoid it because most recycling centers don't yet accept it.
Example: plastic straws, packing tape, disposable diapers, bottle caps, and prescription bottles

Polystyrene (PS/ Styrofoam)
Products made from this plastic are not recyclable and make up around 35% of the materials found in America's landfills.
Example: cups, takeout food containers, shipping/product packaging, and egg cartons

#7 Others (O)
Very Difficult
This category accounts for all other types of plastics. Some are considered compostable and will be labeled (PLA)
Example: eyeglasses, CD/DVD's, clear plastic cutlery, sports and baby bottles
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