Do you know what the numbers on the bottom of your cosmetic or personal care products container represent? I thought I would do a little deciphering so we can ‘sort’ it out together.
#1 – Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)
This is the most commonly recycled plastic and is used for soft drink, mouthwash, water, juice, salad dressing and beer. When PET or PETE is recycled, it is used in comforter fill, strapping, food containers, drink containers, molding and carpets.
#2 – High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Know for its chemical resistance, this plastic is used for bottles that house bleach, milk, shampoo, detergent, liners of cereal boxes and grocery bags. When HDPE is recycled, it is used in motor oil containers, household cleaner containers, recycling bins, plastic picnic tables, flower pots, garden edging and outdoor decking.
#3 – Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Can be both rigid and flexible. This plastic is used for shrink wrap, blister packs, railing, medical tubing, wire and cable insulation. When this plastic is recycled, it is used in outdoor decking, traffic cones, cassette trays, paneling, mud flaps, plumbing pipe, garden hose and gutters.
#4 – Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Flexible and tough, this plastic is used to make bags for produce, bread, dry cleaning, newspaper, as well as shrink wrap, squeezable bottles, cold beverage cups and toys. When this plastic is recycled, it is used in trash cans, landscape timber, garbage can liners, furniture and shipping envelopes.
#5 – Polypropylene (PP)
With a high melting point, this plastic is used in containers for take-out, deli, yogurt, medicine bottles, syrup bottles, bottle caps and closures. When this plastic is recycled, it is used in oil funnels, battery cases, shipping pallets, garden rakes, ice scrapers and storage bins.
#6 – Polystyrene (PS)
Also known as Styrofoam, this plastic is used for protective packaging for electronics and furniture, packing peanuts, egg cartons, clamshells, plates and hot drink cups. When this plastic is recycled, it is used in protective packaging for electronics and furniture, camera cases, egg cartons, thermometers and thermal insulation.
#7 – Other
Made with a plastic resin other than the above mentioned. This plastic is used in oven bags and 3 and 5 gallon reusable water bottles. When this plastic is recycled, it is used in plastic lumber and bottles.
According to Earth911, recycling one pound of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles, which include soft drink and water bottles, saves approximately 12,000 BTUs (British thermal unit) of heat energy. And, producing new plastic products from recycled materials uses two-thirds less energy than is required to make products from raw (virgin) materials.
For more information on recycling, and to find a recycling center in your neck of the woods, visit Earth911.
“One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time” – Author Unknown