Just one word: plastics

Just one word: plastics

By Robert Crowe

 The over-riding question for all of us is: what are those numbers on the bottom of plastic containers?

 Each American generates an average of 4 pounds of trash a day. That’s a lot of junk. There would be a lot more debris in the landfills if there were no recycle programs. There are many good reasons to recycle, including: conserving raw materials, reducing landfill, creating jobs (1.1 million workers), and saving energy.

Those numbers on the plastic containers? The short answer may surprise you. The numbers do not indicate which items can be used in recycling. The numbers indicate the type of resin used in the production of the item and, therefore, the type of applications it can have when re-used. The number assists in the sorting of materials. Whether the items are actually used depends upon the recycle company. Items are sorted and the marketable types are saved and the rest discarded. Recycle companies may specialize in certain kinds of plastics.

What to do about plastics that have no number? Put them in the trash.

Following is more information than you really need …

Symbol 1: PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)

Found in: Soft drink and water bottles, salad dressing and vegetable oil containers
Recycled into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling,

Symbol 2: HDPE (High Density)

Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles; detergent and shampoo bottles, some trash bags

Recycled into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber,

Symbol 3: V (Vinyl or PVC)

Found in: detergent, shampoo and cooking oil bottles, siding and pipes

Recycled into: paneling, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats

Symbol 4: LDPE (low density polyethylene)

Found in: Squeezable bottles, dry cleaning and shopping bags, clothing, furniture, carpet

Recycled into: Trash can liners, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, floor tile

Symbol 5: PP (polypropylene)

Found in: syrup and ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles

Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, rakes

Symbol 6: PS (polystyrene)

Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers

Recycled into: Insulation, egg cartons, foam packing, carry-out containers

Symbol 7: Other

Found in: Three and five gallon water bottles, sunglasses, DVDs

Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products



Earth-Friendly Products and Technologies

Lower your energy bills with these earth-friendly products

What happens to the plastic when it is recycled? The basic process is that the material is shredded, melted and formed into pellets that manufacturers can again melt and form into new objects.

Jacksonville Buster Sanitation (PDC Area Disposal) accepts all grades of plastic and paper; clear, brown and green bottles and jars; steel cans and tin; aluminum cans, trays and foil; milk and juice cartons. Please … clean all containers before putting in clear plastic bags at your curb. Not accepted are oil, plastic bags, foam, window glass, dinnerware or ceramics.

Buster Sanitation provides free recycle pickup. The City of Jacksonville web site (www.jacksonvilleil.com) has a list of accepted materials and items that should not be included. There is a pick-up schedule. Information can also be obtained by calling the Jacksonville Municipal Building (479-4600) or of the Buster Sanitation office (217) 245-7204.

Share This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *