If you’re the one who is responsible for sorting the recycling at your home or office, you might have noticed that many of the plastic containers have different numbers and letters in and around the recycling symbol that is stamped into each package. You might have heard that the numbers refer to the number of times a piece of plastic has been recycled, or how many times it can be recycled, but this isn’t true. Instead, the numbers and letters refer to the type of plastic that any given container is made out of. By knowing the kind of plastic, you can find out a lot of information about its safety, recyclability, and what it could eventually become. Read on to find out about the different forms of plastic, then call Grenelefe Recyclers to find out how we can help your business earn money by setting up a recycling program.

recycleletters_meaning_blog_bottles_innerimagePlastic #1 PETE
Plastic Name: Polyethylene terephthalate
Common Uses: This (usually) clear plastic is most commonly used for things like soda and water bottles as well as other food packages and clamshell packaging for everything from toys to cosmetics.
What It Can Become: PETE is most often recycled into fiberfill that is used for rope, carpet, filling for pillows, and sleeping bags.

Plastic #2 HDPE
Plastic Name: High density polythylene
Common Uses: The most common applications for HDPE are butter and margarine tubs, milk jugs, and bottles that hold motor oil or detergents.
What It Can Become: After it is recycled, HDPE can become detergent bottles (again), as well as trash cans, and flower pots.

Plastic #3 V
Plastic Name: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Common Uses: Cooking oil bottles, shampoo bottles, and many other products are made out of polyvinyl chloride.
What It Can Become: PVC is an incredibly versatile plastic once it has been recycled. It can become anything from drainage pipes, to fencing, to traffic cones.

Plastic #4 LDPE
Plastic Name: Low density polythylene
Common Uses: Plastic grocery bags, shrink wrap, food tub lids, and bread bags are all common products made out of LDPE.
What It Can Become: LDPE is most often recycled into plastic grocery bags.

Plastic #5 PP
Plastic Name: Polypropylene
Common Uses: Another plastic designed for use with food products, polypropylene is commonly used for straws, bottle caps, yogurt containers, and syrup bottles.
What It Can Become: PP can be recycled into plastic lumber and the outer cases of car batteries.

recycleletters_meaning_blog_7_innerimagePlastic #6 PS
Plastic Name: Polystyrene
Common Uses: Mostly used for meat trays, cups designed to hold hot liquids, and other food packaging.
What It Can Become: Polystyrene can be recycled into flower pots, plastic lumber, and other items.


Plastic #7 Other

Plastic Name: No one name. “Other” plastics are usually a combination of several kinds of plastics.
Common Uses: “Other” plastics can be found as many different kinds of products, like microwavable dishes and certain kinds of condiment bottles.
What It Can Become: Most “other” plastics cannot be recycled because they are mixed plastics. Try to avoid buying #7 plastics whenever possible.

If you want your office to start recycling, contact us at Grenelefe Recyclers today. We will help you set up a recycling program and we’ll pay you for the materials you recycle! If you have residential recycling, Grenelefe now lets you drop off at our facility!