Despite there being places where it can be recycled and reused, a lot of plastic is being used every day, and a lot of that is ending up in the oceans, or anywhere else it shouldn’t be.
As conscious citizens of the world, we must reduce pollution from our landfills. And to do that, it’s important to note which plastics can be recycled before you throw them in the recycle bins.
This article discusses what types of plastics can be recycled and that isn’t, and how should you dispose of them.
PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
This is usually found in bottles and cans (such as those used for water, soda, and juice). However, it can also be found in kitchen items such as food packaging, reusable fabric wraps, cutlery storage containers, and toy packaging.
You’ll need to cut the plastic into small enough pieces before recycling. PETE can also be made into rigid foams that are used for shipping boxes. Unfortunately, PETE is not recyclable because it can’t be melted down again once melted down incorrectly.
HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)
This usually white. It can be found in milk bottles, water bottles, juice bottles, detergent bottles, grocery bags, clothing, and shopping bags. You can throw these containers after rinsing them with water.
LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
LDPE is usually gray or black. It’s found in shrink wrap, plastic bags, and some tubing. Again, you’ll need to cut the plastic into small enough pieces before recycling.
PP is usually transparent in color and used for food containers such as yogurt tubs or syrup bottles and straws for flexible kinds.
It’s not recyclable because it can’t be melted down again if melted incorrectly in the first place, but like all food containers, they should be rinsed before throwing into the recycling bin.
This is also transparent and used for straightforward plastic food and drink containers. It comprises two parts: a challenging part called the main crystal, and a softer part called the core.
The core gives flexibility when pressed into 3D shapes, and this is where it gets recycled into new bottles, jars, and food storage containers.
The main crystal must remain intact to help keep the PC plastic rigid. PC can be recycled again using a heat-shrink technique or placed in some oven to soften it before recycling.
PS is usually blue or green. It’s used for packing boxes, food containers, and non-recyclable packing materials such as Styrofoam peanuts or foam coffee cups. It contains styrene monomers which are harmful to the environment but not to you personally.
TR (Thermoplastic polyester)
This is used in food and drink packagings, such as the pouches of ketchup, mustard, and other sauces. It is also used in other plastics such as paint tins and some car parts. In addition, it can be recycled into new products.
TPE is white, hard to differentiate from PET except by its melting point, which is higher at about 135 °C than PET’s 100 °C. It has many uses, such as food packaging, drink bottles, car parts, and insulation material for machinery.
It can be recycled into new products by incineration or high-temperature shredding, or plastic recycling plants.
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