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Katie Pumphrey

Katie Pumphrey
13 December 2019

Plastic Recycling & Resin Identification Codes Explained

This guide will help you identify each plastic and work out what your Local Authority will take. It will also help you recognise Resin Identification Code, helping you identify recyclable and non-recyclable plastic. In this post we cover -PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, PS and Other Non Recyclable Plastic.

1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – Recyclable Plastic

The Resin Identification Code system has been adopted by a growing number of communities implementing recycling programs, as a tool to assist in sorting plastics. The RIC system was designed to make it easier for workers in materials recovery and recycling facilities to sort and separate items according to their resin type.

Plastics must be recycled separately, with other like materials, in order to preserve the value of the recycled material, and enable its reuse in other products after being recycled.

1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – Recyclable Plastic
1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – Recyclable Plastic
1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – Recyclable Plastic
1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – Recyclable Plastic

PET plastic is the most widely recycled. It is often used for single use clear plastic bottles.

You can recycle this plastic if your Local Authority refers to:

  • Plastic Bottles
  • Fizzy pop bottles
  • Mouthwash bottles
  • Yoghurt pots (check the plastic before recycling as some can be made from polystyrene)

PET can be recycled into polyester fabric and filling for for fleeces, carpets and cushion fillings.

2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) – Recyclable Plastic (Check Local Authority)
2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) – Recyclable Plastic (Check Local Authority)
2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) – Recyclable Plastic (Check Local Authority)
2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) – Recyclable Plastic (Check Local Authority)

HDPE can be recycled. However, you will need to check with your Local Authority to ensure it is recycled in your area. HDPE is often found in stiff coloured bottles/tubs.

You can recycle this plastic if your Local Authority mentions:

  • Milk Jugs
  • Plastic bottle caps
  • Bleach/detergent bottles
  • Shampoo bottles
  • Margarine tubs
  • Ice cream tubs

Carrier bags that can be stretched (Local authorities often don’t collect carrier bags, but can be recycled in local supermarkets).

3 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – Non Recyclable Plastic

PVC is not recyclable in normal collections.

You can find this plastic in:

  • Cling film
  • Blister packaging
  • Hoses
  • Table Protectors
  • Plastic pipes
  • Plastic outdoor furniture
4 LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) – Recyclable Plastic (Check Local Authority)

LDPE can be recycled. However, you will need to check with your Local Authority to ensure it is recycled in your area. This is a hard flexible plastic.

You can recycle this plastic if your Local Authority mentions:

  • Bread bags
  • Frozen food bags
  • Squeezable bottles i.e hand cream tubes
  • Bubble wrap – if specifically mentioned
  • Carrier bags that can be stretched – Local authorities often don’t collect carrier bags, but can be recycled in local supermarkets

LDPE can be recycled into bin liners.

5 PP (Polypropylene) – Recyclable Plastic (Check Local Authority)

PP can be recycled. However, you will need to check with your Local Authority to ensure it is recycled in your area.

You can recycle this plastic if your Local Authority mentions:

  • Packing tape
  • Plastic Straws
  • Take away tubs
  • Ketchup bottles
  • Plastic picnic ware
  • Plastic bags or film that can’t be stretched- these are not recyclable

Polypropylene can be recycled into brooms, brushes, garden rakes and plastic trays.

6 PS (Polystyrene) – Non Recyclable Plastic

Polystyrene is not recyclable in normal collections.  There 2 types of polystyrene (hard, brittle plastic) and expanded polystyrene (light, insulating, waterproof plastic)

Polystyrene

  • CD Cases
  • Plastic forks
  • Yoghurt pots (check the plastic before recycling as some can be made from recyclable plastics)

Expanded polystyrene

  • Foamy takeaway packaging
  • Meat trays
  • Packing peanuts
  • Styrofoam
  • Insulation
7  Other – Non Recyclable Plastic

Other plastics are not recyclable in normal collections. This categorises all other plastics including bioplastics, composite plastics (like crisp wrappers), plastic coated wrapping paper and polycarbonate (which contains BPA).

  • Foamy takeaway packaging
  • Meat trays
  • Packing peanuts
  • Styrofoam
  • Insulation
Need help removing plastic from your packaging?

Get in touch with us to discuss how we can remove plastic from your packaging, reduce costs and help you protect our environment.

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Email: sales@maxpack.co.uk

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