The fundamentals of recycling codes


It’s so overwhelming how many recycling codes (the diagram of three arrows creating a triangle) are out there. It’s common to look up the code and know for sure whether or not an item is recycleable. Well, hopefully the following list will make this process easy for you!

Here’s what each symbol means:

  1. If you see a number 1 in the recycling code, this is Polyethylene Terephthalate. This material is in items such as soft drink or water bottles. These will be recycled.
  2. Number 2 is High-Density Polyethylene. This material is found in plastic bags, plastic bottles, and imitation wood. These will be recycled.
  3. This number is made of Vinyl, or PVC. This material is found in cleaning supplies, etc. These will rarely be recycled.
  4. Items with a number 4 within the code are comprised of Low-Density Polyethylene, which is found plastic bags, soap dispenser bottles, buckets, etc. These will sometimes be recycled.
  5. Items with a 5 are made of Polypropylene. You can find this in carry-out beverage cups, yogurt and syrup containers, medicine containers, etc. These will sometimes be recycled.
  6. Items with a 6 in the symbol contain Polystyrene. This is found in disposable plates and cups; egg cartons; beer, wine and champagne cups; and more. These will be recycled.
  7. If you see a number 7 within the recycling code, then the item in question is made with another material. You’ll see a number 7 on items like large 3-5 gallon bottled for water or gasoline, iPod and computer cases, DVDs, sunglasses, etc. These items will usually not be recycled.

For more information on this topic feel free to check out Good Housekeeping. Happy recycling!

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