Frequent Questions

What do the recycling symbols and numbers mean and what recycled products can be made from them?

Plastic bottles, containers and packaging typically have a symbol that indicates the type of plastic resin from which the item was made. The symbols/numbering system belong to the SPI resin identification coding system, developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry in 1988.

Most plastics can be recycled, but they have to be separated into their different polymer types. Because of the difficulty and expense of sorting, collecting, cleaning and reprocessing, at the moment it is only economically viable to recycle PETE, HDPE and PVC.

For more information about these types of plastics, you can visit the Plastics Institute at http://www.plasticsinstitute.org/ Exit EPA or the Plastics Industry Trade Association at http://www.plasticsindustry.org/ Exit EPA.

Recycling No.

Abbreviation

Polymer Name

Uses once recycled

1

PETE or PET

Polyethylene terephthalate

Polyester fibres, thermoformed sheet, strapping, soft drink bottles.

2

HDPE

High density polyethylene

Bottles, grocery bags, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, base cups, car stops, playground equipment, and plastic lumber.

3

PVC or V

Polyvinyl chloride

Pipe, fencing, and non-food bottles.

4

LDPE

Low density polyethylene

Plastic bags, various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, and various molded laboratory equipment.

5

PP

Polypropylene

Auto parts and industrial fibers.

6

PS

Polystyrene

Desk accessories, cafeteria trays, toys, video cassettes and cases, insulation board and expanded polystyrene products (e.g. Styrofoam).

7

OTHER

Other plastics, including acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, acrylic, polycarbonate, polylactic acid, nylon and fiberglass.


Have more questions? Submit a request