Did you know there are ton of different types of plastics? And not al plastics are created equal, some are more recyclable than others. Knowing which is which, and what happens to the different types can inform your buying decisions.
To identify plastics you can check packaging for a triangle made up of lines with arrows, with a number in the middle. It’s called a Resin code, and looks like this:
The number in the middle and the letters underneath tell us the type of plastic we’re dealing with.
Here’s a quick run down of some of the most common types of plastic we come across in daily life, and what usually happens to them after use.
1 PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)
PETE, or PET is usually found in fizzy drink and water bottles. It’s also used for things like supplement containers. I just checked a bottle of Omega 3 tablets I have, and the bottle of another nootropic supplement I use, Alpha Brain.
Only 20% of PETE can be recycled, and it’s commonly reused for things like polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, straps, furniture, and carpet.
2 HDPE (high density polyethylene)
Found in household cleaners, milk jugs, shampoo bottles, yoghurt tubs and the like.
It’s often recycled into detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, and similar packaging.
V (Vinyl) or PVC
Found in clear food packaging, windows, (also detergent bottles, like HDPE).
This type of plastic is rarely recycled, except by plastic lumber makers.