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Recycling. The word itself can be scary, or at the very least overwhelming. Do I sort this here or there? Is this even recyclable? One may feel overwhelmed and frustrated at the seemingly daunting task of getting things sorted correctly. All that being said it is one of the certainly one thing we all can take personal pride and responsibility in for saving our planet. It not only keeps the landfill mountain ranges from edging ever higher towards the sky, but it can truly give you a since of genuine satisfaction.
Knowing you are doing your part to save our planet is rewarding. Recycling codes are one way to aid in that process. They are used to help in the identification of plastic materials.
Not all plastic is recyclable, so using these codes allows for quick determination of the type of material the plastic is made from. This in turn facilitates easier recycling. These codes are usually found inside of the what is sometimes referred to as the “Chasing Arrows” symbol.
This symbol is three arrows in a triangular formation with the arrow points all facing in a clockwise direction. Inside of this symbol are numbers which are the actual identifier of the plastic material. There are seven of these numbers each representing a type of plastic. Plastic number 1 is known as PET or Polyethylene Terephthalate and is used more than any other type.
Some examples of its uses are not only in water bottles, but also in the fabric you may have on right now, polyester.
Plastic number 2 is HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) and boasts being the most recycled plastic on the list. It’s hardiness and strength lead it to be used in all kinds of materials from milk jugs to truck bed liners. Number 3 we all know well as PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and is used often in the construction industry, especially plumbing in the form of piping. Number 4 or LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) you may know as the plastic used when you are asked the age-old question, Paper or Plastic.
That’s right, grocery bags! One tip to greatly reduce the amount of LDPE you personally use is to get reusable fabric tote bags for your trips to the store. They can be fashionable and may help even help save the environment! Number 5 PP (Polypropylene) blocks out most moisture so manufactures use it in all types of things from diapers to straws. At No 6. we have a plastic that should be used as little as possible due to its lack of recyclability PS (Polystyrene) it is often found in things such as packing peanuts or disposable cutlery. Last, but not least, although perhaps the most controversial is Number 7 “Other”.
The reason behind the controversy in this category of plastics is the fact that BPA is found in some of the plastics found in this category. Though its true health risks are still a matter of some debate. BPA or, Bisphenol A, is used to increase the rigidity in plastics making them less likely to break. Items such as some baby bottles or reusable water bottles are found in this category. In conclusion, recycling is just one of the many ways we can reduce our waste and decrease our footprint on our beautiful planet. It is worth taking the time out to do daily. I hope this paper aided your understanding of the plastic number coding system. Every single plastic we are able to recycle means one less plastic that ends up in the landfill.
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