Thursday, February 07, 2008

Plastic recycling symbols

My research is underway.... here is a breakdown of the recycling numbers found on most plastic products.  Polycarbonate falls under 7.

Poly(ethylene terephthalate):  Soda bottles, water bottles, vinegar bottles, medicine containers, backing for photography film.

Why PETE and not PET?

High-density Polyethylene:  Containers for:  laundry/dish detergent, fabric softeners, bleach, milk, shampoo, conditioner, motor oil. Newer bullet proof vests, various toys.

Poly(vinyl cloride):  Pipes, shower curtains, meat wraps, cooking oil bottles, baby bottle nipples, shrink wrap, clear medical tubing, vinyl dashboards and seat covers, coffee containers.  [PhilosopherDad's Note:  PVC is far and away the most harmful plastic.  It can release vinyl chloride through off-gassing (you might recognize the smell of these products).  It often also contains pthalates which are harmful as well.]

Low-density Polyethylene:  Wrapping films, grocery bags, sandwich bags.

Polypropylene:  Tupperware®, syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, diapers, outdoor carpet.

Polystyrene:  Coffee cups, disposable cutlery and cups (clear and colored), bakery shells, meat trays, "cheap" hubcaps, packing peanuts, styrofoam insulation.

The hotdog of plastics!  Products labeled as "other" are made of any combination of 1-6 or another, less commonly used plastic. [Philosopher Dad's Note:  Polycarbonate falls into this category and is sometimes denoted by PC.]

Symbols and descriptions taken from http ://

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