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How Do I Know If A Plastic Item is Recyclable?

Plastic is one of the most commonly used materials in the world, and it is important to know how to properly dispose of plastic items. Knowing what plastic recycling codes mean can help you determine whether a particular item is recyclable. All types of plastics have a unique resin identification code, which helps identify the type of plastic from which an item was made. These codes can be found on the bottom of containers and other plastic items.

In this article, we will discuss the different plastic codes and what they mean.

Understanding Plastic Recycling Symbols

Understanding Plastic Recycling Symbols - Dumpster Rental Meridian ID

Plastic recycling symbols play a vital role in determining whether a plastic item is recyclable or not. These symbols are usually found on the bottom or side of plastic containers and are standardized internationally. They provide valuable information about the type of plastic used and help recycling facilities sort and process the items efficiently. Familiarizing yourself with these symbols will empower you to make environmentally conscious choices.

The most common set of symbols is known as the Resin Identification Code (RIC), which consists of a number inside a chasing arrows symbol. Let’s explore the key symbols and their meanings:

Number 1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)

PET is commonly used in beverage bottles, food containers, and packaging materials. It is widely accepted for recycling. When you see the number 1 inside the recycling symbol, it indicates that the item is made of PET and can be recycled.

Number 2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

HDPE is used in milk jugs, detergent bottles, and various household containers. This plastic is also widely accepted for recycling. Look for the number 2 inside the recycling symbol to determine if the item can be recycled.

Number 4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)

LDPE is commonly found in squeezable bottles, shopping bags, and plastic wraps. While LDPE is recyclable, not all recycling facilities accept it. Check with your local recycling guidelines to confirm if they accept LDPE items.

Number 5 – PP (Polypropylene)

PP is used in yogurt containers, medicine bottles, and bottle caps. It is considered a highly recyclable plastic. If you find the number 5 inside the recycling symbol, it indicates that the item is made of PP and can be recycled.

Number 7 – Other (Miscellaneous) Plastics

The number 7 is a catch-all category that includes various plastics like polycarbonate (PC) and bioplastics. However, not all plastics labeled with a number 7 are recyclable. Some may contain BPA (Bisphenol A) or BPS (Bisphenol S), which can pose challenges in the recycling process. It’s best to check local recycling guidelines or contact recycling facilities to determine if they accept number 7 plastics.

Tips for Identifying Recyclable Plastics

Determining whether a plastic item is recyclable requires a combination of visual inspection, research, and reaching out to local resources. Here are some helpful tips for identifying recyclable plastics:

Tips for Identifying Recyclable Plastics - Dumpster Rental Meridian ID

Visual Inspection and Checking for Recycling Symbols

One of the easiest ways to determine if a plastic item is recyclable is by conducting a visual inspection and checking for recycling symbols. Look for the Resin Identification Code (RIC) symbol, usually located on the bottom or side of the plastic item. The RIC symbol consists of a number inside a chasing arrows symbol. Refer to our earlier section to understand the meaning of each number. If you find a recycling symbol with an appropriate number, it signifies that the item is made of recyclable plastic.

Researching Local Recycling Guidelines and Resources

Local recycling guidelines can vary, so it’s essential to research and understand the specific recycling guidelines in your area. Check your municipal or local government website for information on accepted recyclable materials and any specific instructions or restrictions. Some communities may have curbside recycling programs that accept specific types of plastics, while others may require drop-off at recycling centers.

Consulting Recycling Apps and Databases

In the digital age, several recycling apps and databases can assist in identifying recyclable plastics. These tools provide comprehensive information on recycling symbols, local recycling programs, and specific guidelines for different types of plastics.

Contacting Local Recycling Centers or Dumpster Rental

When in doubt, reaching out to local recycling centers or dumpster rentals can provide the most accurate information on plastic recyclability. They are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to guide you on what plastics are accepted in your area. Dumpster rentals like Dumpster Rental Meridian ID can also provide information on local recycling programs and accepted materials.


Dumpster Rental Meridian ID - Plastic Recycling

It is our responsibility to ensure that we are not contributing to the pollution of our planet. Learning about plastic recycling codes will empower you to make more informed choices and be more conscious about our environment. Follow the tips mentioned in this article to identify if a particular plastic item is recyclable or not.

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