Look for products and establishments that use eco-friendly packaging alternatives such as biodegradable or compostable paper. But the selling price of these recycled bags is twice the cost. Instead of plastic Ziploc bags and plastic Tupperware, you can opt for silicone reusable bags or glass food storage containers. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_4',108,'0','0'])); Due to its toxic chemicals, it’s not commonly recyclable, therefore polystyrene ends up in the landfill accounting for nearly 30% of landfill material in the United States. Plastics are one of the most widely used consumer materials in the world. It is a generally safe and reusable option but won’t last forever. Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. You can recycle this plastic if your Local Authority refers to: 1. eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'householdwonders_com-leader-3','ezslot_10',109,'0','0'])); The verdict: Most #7 plastics are not recyclable or reusable. The guide was developed as an easy to understand graphic with examples of common items that can be recycled, reused, donated, taken to a depot or other drop-off location. Multi-Material Stewardship Manitoba (MMSM) has developed a holiday recycling guide Manitobans can follow so they know what they can and can’t recycle this holiday season. Store your toiletries in reusable glass jars or bottles. Recycling plastic wasn't making economic sense: There were too many different kinds of plastic, hundreds of them, and they can't be melted down together. Every plastic can be recycled… technically. When recycled, PP can be used to make landscaping borders, battery cases, brooms, bins, and trays. So plastic only gets recycled the one time and can’t be recycled again. The most widely recycled plastics are the two used to make soft drinks bottles and milk bottles: PET and HDPE. Due to its lightweight properties, it breaks up very easily can spread throughout the environment. PVC can be a major source of phthalates or “plastic softeners” which can harm children’s health and development by interfering with natural hormone functioning. PET is durable but can degrade quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat, or prolonged making it a poor reusable option. Plastic Bottles 2. Recycling can alleviate some of the problems, but the confusion over what we can and cannot recycle continues to confound consumers. Plastics are particularly troublesome, as different types require different processing to be reformulated and re-used as raw material. Some food containers are made with the stronger polypropylene plastic (number 5) as well as a large proportion of plastic caps. The plastic is ground into chips or flakes and washed to remove labels or residue. Plastic bags can be recycled and made into products such as natural-wood-looking decking. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Some supermarkets will also accept LDPE plastic bags for recycling so check with your local grocery store to see if this is possible. In order to properly clean and decontaminate, it would require the use of harmful chemicals. But recycling is a complicated business, and just because a piece of plastic can be recycled once, does not mean it can be recycled further, or that it’s cost-effective to do so. When grocery shopping, opt for reusable cloth tote bags instead of standard plastic grocery bags. Look for the initials “PLA” or “compostable” under the recycling symbol to be sure. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Plastic recycling refers to the process of recovering waste or scrap plastic and reprocessing the materials into functional and useful products. 2 HDPE (High-density polyethylene): This type of recyclable plastic, marked with a "2" and "HDPE" is also frequently recycled by consumers. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and rope. According to the non-profit organization Sea Sick Fish, polluted waterways will have bits of polystyrene present which can be toxic when ingested by marine life. eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'householdwonders_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_8',104,'0','0'])); HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics and is also considered one of the safest forms of plastic as it has a low risk of leaching into foods or liquids. They have to be sorted out. These single-use plastic straws are wreaking havoc in our waterways and killing marine life. All Rights Reserved. You can also opt for reusable food containers and reusable coffee cups. Plastics included in this category include some plastic milk cartons, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, and liquid detergent containers. Other applications include shipping envelopes, compost bins, garbage cans, and furniture. The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and are assigned the number 1. EarthTalk is a regular feature of E/The Environmental Magazine. 1 – PET plastic is the most widely recycled. There are other resources (e.g., Earth911.org ) that can help answer questions about what to do with non-recyclables or household hazardous waste. Avoid plastic food wrapping with PVC by using beeswax food wrap instead. It is often used for single use clear plastic bottles. To effectively recycle plastic items, you need to know two things: the plastic number of the material, and which of these types of plastics your municipality's recycling service accepts. Plastic is often downcycled to create clothing, fleece, or even lumber. Plastic is a versatile and inexpensive material with thousands of uses, but it is also a significant source of pollution. Like plastic designated number 1, it is widely accepted at recycling centers. When No. It has also been linked to birth defects, testicular cancer, and liver problems. Despite these less than ideal rates, PET is the most recycled plastic in the world. Polyvinyl choride (PVC) is another common form of plastic. But, Consider The Recycling Rate Of Plastic. by Wanda Thompson | Eco-Friendly, Recycled Materials. By recycling HDPE you prevent it from entering a landfill. If you can understand these classifications, you can increase your awareness of how to safely use plastic, correctly recycle, and reduce any additional plastic waste that can be harmful to the environment.eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_0',110,'0','0'])); How can I start recycling? Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is number 4 and is used to make thin, flexible plastics like wrapping films, grocery bags, sandwich bags, and a variety of soft packaging materials. plastic bags you will find in grocery stores, Toiletries including mouthwash, shampoo, and liquid hand soap, Picnic tables, park benches, and playground equipment, Coatings for paper milk cartons and disposable cups, Foam packaging and “peanut” packaging found when shipping boxes. They will provide you with designated recycling bins. HDPE is one of the most commonly recycled plastics and is also considered one of the safest forms of plastic as it has a low risk of leaching into foods or liquids. Many European countries have adopted policies to ban PVC from landfills. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Join me in my adventure of learning and exploring different ways to living more eco-friendly. 4 plastic is recycled, it is chipped into pellets which are then reprocessed into new bags or added to wood pulp to create a sort of plastic/lumber composite, like the kind made by Trex. Foam polystyrene, like that found in meat packaging or egg cartons, is made of mostly air. Polypropylene is lightweight yet durable with heat-resistance properties that will be a strong barrier against, moisture, grease, and chemicals. There has been little demand to recycle #5 polypropylene due to its low worth and cheap production, but more and more recycling providers are beginning to accept it. Most products using PVC require the manufacturing of new “virgin” material for its construction which adds a large environmental impact to its overall production. Look for alternatives that are PVC-free to reduce your exposure to this potentially toxic plastic.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'householdwonders_com-leader-2','ezslot_9',106,'0','0'])); LDPE is used to make thin and flexible products you will find on food packaging and consumer goods. Just because an item is made from plastic, or contains plastic parts, doesn’t mean recycling facilities can handle it. But, the reality is that the recycling rate of plastic isn’t very high (at least with current plastics and current recycling technology). The key is understanding which ones can be recycled and reducing your use of the ones that cannot. This approach helps to conserve resources and diverts plastics from la… Better yet, do not buy it in the first place. But there are solutions – consumers can take their own reusable containers to shops, and retailers can use more recycled (and recyclable) materials. Plastic straws are difficult to recycle due to their thin and bendable shape causing them to fall into the cracks of recycling machinery. The plastic industry has complied with regulations by making the resin identification (RIC) codes visible to consumers on the packaging, but it’s up to you to be an informed consumer. In fact, I would recommend avoiding it completely due to its toxic chemical properties and its detrimental effects on the environment. eval(ez_write_tag([[468,60],'householdwonders_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_7',116,'0','0'])); Here are the seven classifications for plastics and the recycling information for each type: This one of the most common forms of plastic that is clear, strong, and lightweight. Unfortunately, only about 30% of HDPE is actually recycled in the United States with many plastic bags ending up in a landfill or dispersed throughout the environment. These plastics are recycled into things like plastic lumber, floor tile, trash cans and liners, compost bins, shipping envelopes, plastic brooms, rakes, trays, hairbrushes, ice … PLA (polylactic acid) is a new type of plastic that is bio-based, made from corn starch. More ambitious consumers can feel free to return such items to the product manufacturers to avoid contributing to the local waste stream, and instead, put the burden on the makers to recycle or dispose of the items properly. This material is commonly known as “styrofoam”. The first is high-density polyethylene, sometimes abbreviated as HDPE or as #2 plastic. It is accepted at most recycling centers throughout the world. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Number 2 is reserved for high-density polyethylene plastics (HDPE). It is accepted at most recycling centers in the world. These chemicals also make it very difficult to recycle, with only 1% of PVC actually getting recycled yearly in the United States. This activity is known as the plastic recycling process. Conclusion: Polypropylene is recyclable and safe to be reused. Many people think items such as plastic bags and coffee cups can be recycled when they can’t. A … Try to reduce your use of LDPE plastic by switching to alternatives to plastic grocery bags such as cloth tote bags. Every plastic has a “chasing arrow” recycling symbol with a resin identification code (RIC) number on the inside. These cookies do not store any personal information. It’s not as hard or durable as HDPE but is less toxic than other plastics and safe for use with foods. Copyright © 2020 Household Wonders LLC. Not recyclable, unless a drop-off location exists in your area. A Guide to the Most Eco-Friendly Materials, 21 Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in the Bathroom, Why You Should Use Eco-Friendly Kitchen Products (8 Reasons). My name is Wanda and I’m a huge fan of making my home the best it can be, especially when it comes to zero waste, plastic-free, and eco-friendly living. It can also be used to make beanbags, rope, car bumpers, tennis ball felt, combs, sails for boats, furniture and, of course, other plastic bottles. Contact your local Council for more information on recycling batteries. This material is widely used even though it’s composed of highly dangerous carcinogens, but many establishments still use it today due to it being such a versatile and cost-effective option. You can reuse any LDPE plastic containers you may have for as long as possible. Cloth diapers are a viable and reusable alternative to disposable diapers. Like it’s a close friend to HDPE, it’s mostly used for plastic bags you will find in grocery stores. Avoid exposing HDPE plastic containers to sunlight or excessive heat to prolong their lifespan. For food storage, reusable freezer and sandwich bags made from silicone make great eco-friendly alternatives. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. To check if a plastic container can be recycled look for the following numbers: 1 – PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) 2 – HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) 4 – LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) 5 – PP (Polypropylene) On the other hand, the following types of plastics cannot be recycled: 3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Look for products without excessive disposable plastic packaging. However, the foam versions of plastic #6 (for example, cheap coffee cups) pick up a lot of dirt and other contaminants during the handling process, and often just ends up being thrown away at the recycling facility. HDPE is a stiff and strong plastic making it an ideal choice for packaging. Mixed plastics packaging (trays, tubs, pots, films etc) can also be mechanically recycled, and it is both economically and environmentally effective to do so. Unfortunately, only 3% of PP plastics get recycled in the United States yearly! Plastic bottle caps can be recycled into batteries for your car, garden rakes, storage containers, reusable shopping bags, yarn, ropes, brooms … and more bottle caps. When entering a landfill the plastic additives can leach chlorine, carcinogens, and other toxic chemicals into the soil. The numbers, which 39 U.S. states now require to be molded or imprinted on all eight-ounce to five-gallon containers that can accept the half-inch minimum-size symbol, identify the type of plastic. The goal of recycling plastic is to reduce high rates of plastic pollution while putting less pressure on virgin materials to produce brand new plastic products. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. The symbol code we are familiar with — a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 surrounded by a triangle of arrows — was designed by The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers. This waste makes up around 69% of all the plastic we use, according to the Greenpeace report. Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, truck bed liners, and rope. It is widely used with single-use drinking straws but is also the thin plastic packaging that will keep foods such as chips and cereals freshly sealed. Reusable water bottles will also prevent plastic bottle tops from ending up in the landfill. Usually imprinted with a number 7 or nothing at all, these plastics are the most difficult to recycle. Recycling gets more complicated with higher numbers, called "mixed plastic," Pochiro said. Opt for eco-friendly food storage alternatives such as stainless steel or silicone food containers. This is not a very sustainable material and I would suggest avoiding when possible. If it means an improvement for my family and the planet as a whole, I’m all for it! There are so many plastics out there that I was confused about which ones can be recycled and which ones cannot.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'householdwonders_com-box-2','ezslot_3',102,'0','0'])); So which types of plastic can be recycled? The verdict: Polystyrene is not recyclable or reusable. Nearly every product we consume is packaged with plastic. Due to purposeful misleading symbols on plastic packaging and numerous technical hurdles, less than 10% of plastic has ever been recycled. Contact your local municipality to get started.Which things are not recyclable? Some PVC products could be repurposed or “upcycled” but due to its toxic properties, PVC should not be reused for food use or for children. HDPE can also be beneficial due to its lightweight yet durable properties, making it an excellent alternative to producing heavier materials. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo, and motor oil. This will indicate the type of plastic. Once recycled, it can be ground up and reused to make vinyl flooring, window frames, or piping. However tempting it may be, PET #1 bottles should not be re-purposed as reusable water bottles. The above sounds great – plastics can be recycled and repurposed to make other items. PET plastic is recyclable but in the United States, only 30% is recycled yearly which falls behind Europe’s rate of 50%. The only reusable #7 plastic may be PLA. Yoghurt pots (check the plastic before recycling as some can be made from polystyrene) PET can be recycled into polyester fabric and filling for for fleeces, carpets and cushion fillings. 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