Saturday, May 2, 2009

Recycling Symbols everywhere... but what do they mean?

Now I'm not saying that I don't know what that symbol above means, but I am willing to admit that I have no idea what the numbers inside the symbol mean.

And with this first admission of ignorance, we begin. Class is in session.

Its hard to buy anything without having it come in plastic packaging. The miso soup I get from the Chinese restaurant is conveniently packaged in it, as well as the crunchy spicy salmon roll I get. All of them have the same small "Recycle Me" symbol on the bottom. But what the hell do the little numbers inside mean?

Type 1: Found in Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers.Recyclable: In most places via normal curb side recycling.Recycled into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, (occasionally) new containers

Type 2: 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 linersRecyclable: In most places via normal curb side recycling.
Recycled into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, picnic tables, fencing.

Type 3: Found in Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows.Recycling: Rarely recycled; accepted by some plastic lumber makers.
Recycled into: Decks, paneling, mudflaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats

Type 4: Found in Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet.
Recycling: LDPE is not often recycled through curbside programs, but some communities will accept it.
Recycled into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile

Type 5: Found in Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles.
Recycling: Number 5 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays.

Type 6: Found in Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases
Recycling: Number 6 plastics can be recycled through some curbside programs.
Recycled into: Insulation, light switch plates, egg cartons, vents, rulers, foam packing, carry-out containers

So all this information is good to know. I'm glad I looked it up and now understand the differences, but... what does that mean as far as my recycling habits in Staten Island? After finding this handy link to the NYC Department of Sanitation, I now that NYC only accepts Types 1 and 2.

UPDATE!  As  of April 23, 2013, all rigid plastics can be recycled.  This excludes plastics such as shopping bags, Styrofoam, and squeezable drink pouches.

If you are not sure what types of plastic are recycled in your area, I encourage you to get off your butt and check with your local trash service. Come on people, we are doing it for the world and our children. Make the call.

And for the next post.... CARDBOARD!!! Just kidding. I'll make it about something more exciting. If you don't know about cardboard, I can't really help you. :)

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Carboard is next!!!! hehe.

    Just kidding. That is actually pretty interesting. I only recently started noticing the numbers on plastics. And that was only because Michael saw an integrative (read: new agey) doctor. And he was cautioning against drinking water from plastics labeled number 1. Apparently they can warm up and leach plastic into the water. Don't know if that's true- just what he said. But anyway since then we've been noticing the numbers.

    And I just checked- our recycling takes numbers 1-7. Which was good to know! Great blog idea dan. Can't wait to read more of your green finds.

    PS. Did you know Laura Gabora has a green blog also? She sucks at actually updating it