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What Types Of Plastics Can You Recycle?

What Types Of Plastics Can You Recycle?

Plastic is one of the most widely used and regularly discarded materials today. In fact, it’s estimated that plastic accounts for about 10 percent of the total waste generated on a worldwide scale. Studies indicate that about half of all the plastic we use is only used once before it’s discarded.

Recyclable Plastics

There is such a great opportunity to recycle when it comes to plastics. When you think of plastics recycling, you probably associate it more with recycling plastic water bottles, milk jugs and other containers more than anything else. And while these plastics are certainly recyclable, you shouldn’t stop there when it comes to industrial recycling and household plastic items.

Here’s a closer look at the plastics that can be recycled:

  • Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) Film
  • Polyethylene Pallet Banding
  • Polypropylene (PP) or Polyethylene (PE) Packaging
  • Poly-Lined Bags
  • Plastic-Based Drums/Buckets
  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Belting/Tooling

Identifying Plastics

So, just how do you know which plastics are PE, PP, HDPE, LDPE, etc.? How do you determine what plastics are and are not recyclable? For starters, just check the product, as manufacturers have implemented a plastic resin number identification system to better help you determine what is, and is not recyclable. This identification system, which is numbered one to seven, also helps with the sorting of plastics for recycling purposes. They are numbered as follows:

  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  2. HDPE
  3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
  4. LDPE
  5. PP
  6. Polystyrene (PS)
  7. Other

Amount of recycled plastic

Sorting Plastics

As we noted earlier, a big part of plastics recycling is properly sorting the plastics. We’ve already covered a bit about what types of plastics, specifically, are able to be recycled when it comes to industrial and household applications, but just how do you implement a system where they can be sorted and organized properly? After all, since different methods are used to claim each type of plastic, if the plastics are sorted improperly, there will be issues. Here’s a look at some tips and suggestions:

Sort by type. Plastics recycling is best done by resin types, hence the numerical identifying system that we detailed above. Check with your recycling provider to determine which resin types you’ll be needing to recycle most often, especially if space is an issue within your facility.

Source separate. In other words, this means collecting plastic for recycling at the point in your operations where it typically becomes waste.

Invest in compacting equipment. The nice thing about plastic is that it’s lightweight and compact. But it still takes up space. And space in most commercial and industrial facilities is somewhat scarce. That’s where a baler or other compacting equipment can come in handy — it can condense plastics so that you can actually recycle more and not take up any more space in the process.

For more information on plastics recycling, and to implement an industrial plastics recycling program at your facility, contact us today.