What do the codes on plastics mean?
Plastic Resin Codes
Did you know that the symbol with the number 1-7 in it does not mean that a plastic item is recyclable? The number indicates the type of plastic the item is made from.
They are called a plastic or resin identification code. Whether it can be recycled or not depends on the recycling systems where you live.
Here on the MidCoast, we accept rigid plastics, 1 - 7 plastic resin codes, in the yellow recycling bin. Soft plastics, that you can scrunch into a ball, cannot be recycled in the yellow recycling bin.
To avoid the confusion always try and reduce or avoid single use plastics.
The recycling symbols
Plastic #1: PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) - Plastic #1 is commonly collected in kerbside recycling programs. It is usually clear and used to make soda and water bottles. This plastic is commonly recycled into furniture, carpet, panelling, fibre cables and polar fleece.
Plastic #2: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) - Plastic #2 is typically opaque and commonly collected in kerbside recycling programs. It is found mostly in milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, yoghurt, and butter tubs. This plastic is commonly recycled into pens, recycling containers, picnic tables to name a few.
Plastic #3: V or PVC (Vinyl) – Plastic #3 is used to make food wrapping, plumbing pipes and detergent bottles. It is less common to be collected in kerbside recycling programs. This plastic is recycled into panelling, flooring, speed bumps, deck and roadway gutters.
Plastic #4: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) – Plastic #4 is used to make shopping bags, clothing, carpet, frozen food, bread bags and some food wraps. It is uncommon for this plastic to be collected in kerbside recycling programs. It is commonly recycled into compost bins, panelling, garbage bags and floor tiles.
Plastic #5: PP (Polypropylene) – Plastic #5 is used to make yogurt containers, sauce bottles and medicine bottles. It is becoming more common for this plastic to be collected in kerbside recycling programs. This plastic is commonly recycled into bins, pallets, and auto battery cases to name a few.
Plastic #6: PS (Polystyrene) – Plastic #6 is notorious for being difficult to recycle. It is commonly found in disposable plates and cups, some egg cartons, meat trays and CD cases. It can be recycled into decking, vents, foam packing and insulation.
Plastic #7: Other/Miscellaneous – All of the other plastic resins that don’t fit into the other categories are places in the Plastic #7 category. It includes things like polycarbonate. This plastic is found in sunglasses, computer/ phone cases, nylon to name a few.