Explaining The Recycling Numbers
Ever wonder which types of plastic are recyclable, or which ones are safe for you to use? It’s easy to determine, once you know to look for the code on the bottom of the item. Then, it’s just a matter of remembering this simple rhyme:
“1, 2, 5, 4: These are the ones you’re looking for!”
Remember, items marked 1, 2, 5 and 4 are safe. But avoid those marked with 3, 6 or 7.
Take a look at our chart below to learn how to use, recycle or dispose.
Safe Plastics to Use and Recycle
|Polyethylene Terephthalate||Clear plastic water bottles||One-time use only. This thin plastic should not be reused, refilled or heated.||YES|
|High-Density Polyethylene||Thicker opaque plastic used in milk jugs, detergent packaging and toys||Safe to reuse.||YES|
|Polyvinyl Chloride||Mattress covers, squeeze bottles||Avoid: Releases dioxin, contains phthalates, shown to cause cancer.||NO|
|Low-Density Polyethylene||Soft, flexible plastics such as those used in grocery store bags, plastic wrap, dry cleaning bags, shopping bags and garbage bags.||One of the safer plastics, but please recycle! Better yet, consider replacing with reusable bags to save landfill space.||YES|
|Polypropylene||Hard but flexible plastics like yogurt containers, drinking straws, syrup bottles, etc.||One of the safer plastics, but please recycle.||YES|
|Polystyrene||Rigid plastics such as opaque plastic spoons and forks, and in foam-style coffee cups and meat packaging trays.||Avoid: These plastics can leach styrene, a known neurotoxin with other negative health effects.||NO|
|Other (including polycarbonate, nylon and acrylic)||5-gallon water bottles, sports bottles, clear cutlery, food can linings, etc.||Avoid: May contain BPA, a known endocrine disruptor.||NO|
How do you avoid these dangerous plastics? Share your tips here!