Plastic Recycling is Easy

There are many types of plastic in common use. Plastic must be sorted by type for recycling since each type melts at a different temperature and displays different properties. The plastics industry has developed identification codes to label different types of plastic. The identification system divides plastic into seven distinct types and uses a number code generally found on the bottom of containers. The following table explains the seven code system.

Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)

Common uses: 2 liter soda bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars. This is the most widely recycled plastic and often has redemption value under the California “Bottle Bill.”

Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Common uses: detergent bottles, milk jugs.

Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Common uses: plastic pipes, outdoor furniture, shrink wrap, water bottles, salad dressing and liquid detergent containers. Please note that plastic bags are not accepted for recycling curbside. However, Safeway Stores, Alberton’s Food and Drug, Raley’s, Ralphs Food Companies, and G&G Supermarkets accept plastic bags for recycling. Please remove food waste and receipts.

Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Common uses: dry cleaning bags, produce bags, trash can liners, food storage containers. Safeway Stores and Lucky Food Centers accept HDPE (#2) and LDPE (#4) plastic bags for recycling.

Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)

ommon uses: bottle caps, drinking straws. Recycling centers almost never take #5 plastic.

Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS)

Common uses: packaging pellets or “Styrofoam peanuts,” cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, to-go “clam shell” containers. Many shipping/packaging stores will accept polystyrene peanuts and other packaging materials for reuse. Cups, meat trays, and other containers that have come in contact with food are more difficult to recycle. If you have large quantities call the Eco-Desk Hotline at 707-565-3375.

Plastic #7: Other

Common uses: certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware. This plastic category, as its name of “other” implies, is any plastic other than the named #1-#6 plastic types. These containers can be any of the several different types of plastic polymers. Recycling centers cannot recycle plastic #7. Look for alternatives.

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