Diane Paparo Studio is a huge advocate of sustainable practices. As part of our goal for a better planet, we work hard to educate our clients about our initiatives. What better place to continue educating than in our new blog – starting with a recycling overview of the symbols you will find on plastics in your home:
Number 1 Plastics
PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) is the most common for single-use bottled beverages, because it is inexpensive, lightweight and easy to recycle. It poses low risk of leaching breakdown products. Recycling rates remain relatively low (around 20%), though the material is in high demand by remanufacturers.
Found in: Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; ovenable food trays.
Number 2 Plastics
HDPE (high density polyethylene) is a versatile plastic with many uses, especially for packaging. It carries low risk of leaching and is readily recyclable into many goods.
Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners.
Number 3 Plastics
V (Vinyl) or PVC is tough and weathers well, so it is commonly used for piping, siding and similar applications. PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don’t let the plastic touch food. Also never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.
Found in: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping
Number 4 Plastics
LDPE (low density polyethylene) is a flexible plastic with many applications. Historically it has not been accepted through most American curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it.
Found in: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet
Number 5 Plastics
PP (polypropylene) has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It is gradually becoming more accepted by recyclers.
Found in: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles
Number 6 Plastics
PS (polystyrene) can be made into rigid or foam products — in the latter case it is popularly known as the trademark Styrofoam. Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. The material was long on environmentalists’ hit lists for dispersing widely across the landscape, and for being notoriously difficult to recycle. Most places still don’t accept it, though it is gradually gaining traction.
Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases
For more information and examples, visit The Daily Green, a Hearst Digital Media Publication.