What Type Of Plastic Is Recyclable And What Type Is Not?

Recycling helps preserve natural resources, cuts done on the volume of waste that goes to America's land fills and saves energy. One of the prime candidates for recycling is plastic. American consumers discard nearly 28 million tons of plastic jugs, bottles and containers each year. However, not all plastic can be recycled. Different types of plastic are designated with a number between one and seven that is stamped into the bottle, jug or other container.

This number tells you where and if you are able to recycle that type of plastic.

What types of plastic are recyclable and which are no:

1. Number one plastics. These plastics are polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE). This includes things like soft drink bottles, salad dressing containers, peanut butter jars and mouthwash bottles. Most neighborhood recycling centers and curb-side collection programs accept this type of plastic.

2. Number two plastics. These are high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastics and include things like milk and juice jugs, shampoo bottles and some plastic grocery bags. These are also readily accepted by neighborhood centers and curbside collection programs.

3. Number three plastics. Number three plastics are vinyl and PVC plastics. This category includes PVC plumbing pipes, vinyl windows, siding and some bottles for cleaning products. This type of plastic is rarely recycled.

4. Number four plastics. These are low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastics and include most plastic shopping bags, dry cleaning bags, plastic furniture, squeezable bottles and bread bags. These items are generally not accepted at curbside, but may be collected at recycling centers. Plastic grocery bags are frequently collected at food stores.

5. Number five plastics. Number five plastics are polypropylene (PP) plastics. These items include ketchup bottles, syrup containers, straws and (empty) medicine bottles. These are usually collected at curbside.

6. Number six plastics. These plastics are polystyrenes (PS) and include disposable dinner ware, jewel cases for game and CDs, take-out food containers and egg cartons. Most of these items are collected via curbside programs. However, this category includes Styrofoam items, which often are excluded.

7. Number seven plastics. Number seven is the miscellaneous category and includes every kind of plastic item that doesn't fall into on of the six other categories. This includes gas cans, commercial water bottles (like for office water tanks), sunglasses, CDs, three and five-gallon containers and nylon. Most of these items are not recyclable.

Clearly, all plastics are not alike when it comes to recycling. Knowing which are generally accepted and which are not can save you time and headaches when it comes to sorting your trash.