We received a comment on our Facebook page a few months ago from a follower who said she and her co-workers would love to recycle more of their day-to-day items, like their plastic products, but were unsure about which plastics were recyclable where and what the “number in the triangle” really means.
This is really common. We have a daily struggle with this in our very own office and also at our client locations when encouraging best practices for employee training. Which, is what sparked the first post Recycling Plastic. Why So Complicated? in this series of diving in to what the numbers on the bottom of your plastic products really mean. So, like the title asks… what DOES the 1 on the bottom of my plastic bottle really mean?
Resin Code 1, Polyethylene Terephthalate
Kind of hard to see, but this bottle is marked with a number 1, which is resin code for Polyethylene Terephthalate. Thankfully, for people like me (even spell check had a hard time with that one), there are acronyms of PET or PETE. This resin is commonly used in beverage bottles and many consumer product containers.
You may notice the number 1 on the bottom of common items such as:
- Plastic Bottles: soft drinks, water, juice, sports drinks, beer, mouthwash, salad dressing
- Food Jars: peanut butter, jelly, pickles
- Oven-able film and microwavable food trays
- Textiles, carpet, strapping, films, moldings
Recycling Plastic with Resin Code 1
So, what happens when you DO recycle these items? Products (some like the original!) are made, such as: fiber for carpet, fleece jackets, comforter filling, tote bags, containers for food, beverage bottles, film and strapping.
Well, like we advised to our Facebook follower, always check with your local waste provider to ensure they accept plastics and which plastics they allow to be recycled at your office, home and community. Many municipalities and waste providers will have this information right on their website!
We’ll cover plastics with the number 2 mark in a few weeks!
P.S. Limit contamination at the recycling processing centers. Don’t forget to rinse out your plastic items before placing them in the recycle bin!
Source: THE AMERICAN CHEMISTRY COUNCIL®