No matter what item you purchase from the grocery store, there will be a recycling label on it. Have you ever noticed them? If you haven’t heard of or seen these symbols, go check your plastic water bottle or just got to your pantry and check out the labels. They can be found on the bottle of bottles or within the label.
Different types of materials come with a little recycling symbol printed or engraved within it. Along with the symbol, there is usually a number within it as well. The numbers you would see are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7. These are easy to miss but are pretty important when it comes to recycling.
Each number represents an ID code, a resin identification code, to be exact. Each number represents a different kind of plastic and how it needs to be handled for recycling purposes. More importantly, it notes what can be recycled and what gets trashed.
#1 PETE: Polyethylene Terephthalate: soda/water bottles or peanut butter jars
#2 HDPE: High Density Polyethylene: milk cartons, laundry detergent, butter tubs, or motor oil
#3 PVS: Polyvinyl Chloride: cooking oil and shampoo bottles, medical tubing, cleaning products
#4 LDPE: Low Density Polyethylene: condiment bottles, some toys, shrink wrap and plastic bags
#5 PP: Polypropylene: syrup, ketchup, bottle caps, and straws
#6 PS: Polystyrene: CD case, take-out containers, and disposable plates/cutlery
#7 OTHER: This category is reserved for all other products that don’t fit into categories 1-6. Before you toss your items in the trash, check your local recycling guides.
While some products still use this method, there are many companies that are starting to switch to a new method of labeling. This new method is an easy to understand label created by How2Recycle.