Recycle symbols explained

July 4th, 2011 - 

The 3 arrows I am sure everybody understands. But the letters under the icons, well, this is difficult to say what each one is meaning. In 1988, the Society of the Plastics Industry dropped their identification coding system inside the arrows. The numbers indicated the plastic resin types so that the items can be sorted together.

PETE (Plastic #1): meaning Polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic used for water bottles, containers of food and soda bottles. It can be recycled into clothing, shoes, bottles and fibers of polyester.
HDPE (Plastic #2):  High-density polyethylene is a plastic easy to be recycled used for detergent bottles, trash bags or milk containers. It is a little bit more stiff. It can be recycled into pens, benches and containers.
PVC (Plastic #3): Polyvinyl chloride is harmful to the environment and it is not easy to recycle. Used for packagings, piping or toys. Recycled PVC makes up flooring, decking, speed bumps, paneling and mudflaps.
LDPE (Plastic #4):  Low-density polyethylene is used as wrapping, packs, bags and bottles. It is a flexible material. When recycled, it is used for trash cans, shipping envelopes, packaging ties and more.
PP (Plastic #5):  Polypropylene has a good tolerance at high temperatures. It is used for strawas, food  containers and
caps. Recyled, it becames bins and trays.
PS (Plastic #6): Polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, used for the low heating transfer. Used for packing peanuts, foam cups and foam food trays. Extremely light but bulky. Recycled into egg cartons, rulers and containers.
Other (Plastic #7):  “Other” plastics are a mixture of all plastics. Many recyclers do not accept plastic #7, but these resins can be remade into plastic lumber and custom products.
Via here.

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