The recycling options for plastic depend on the type of plastic material. For example, most plastic recycling programs accept plastic items with Symbols 1 or 2 only.
Plastic Recycling Symbols
- PETE - polyethylene terephthalate - i.e., soda bottles
- HDPE - high density polyethylene - i.e., milk and water jugs
- V - vinyl/poly vinyl chloride - i.e., window cleaners
- LDPE - low density polyethylene - i.e., squeezeable mustard
- PP - polypropylene - i.e., yogurt containers
- PS - polystyrene - i.e., egg cartons
- OTHER - made of mixed resins or multiple layers of more than one resin type- i.e., syrup bottles
Plastic Code 1-PETE
Soda Bottles - Water Bottles - Juice Bottles - Cooking Oil Bottles - Soap/Detergent Bottles - Shampoo Bottles - Sports Drink Bottles- Clear Liquor Bottles - Food Jars (Peanut Butter etc.)
Plastic Code 2-HDPE
Milk Bottles - Water Bottles - Juice Bottles - Cooking Oil Containers - Windshield Washer Fluid Bottles - Shampoo Bottles - Butter/Margarine Tubs - Cottage Cheese Containers - Ice Cream Containers Without Metal Handles - Baby Wipe Containers (looks like grocery bags are also 2)
Do NOT Recycle This Plastic:
- Automotive Product Containers Including: - Motor Oil Bottles - Anti-Freeze Containers - Gasoline and Oil Additive Bottles
- Brown Liquor Bottles
- All Containers Marked With The Following Codes: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Currently, PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) plastic products are not feasible to recycle. Not only do PVC manufacturing processes produce toxic chemical by-products, but PVC recycling releases even more toxic by-products. Avoid such products when possible. You can usually identify them by a 3-V recycling symbol, or the word "vinyl" somewhere in the description.
Most plastic grocery bags appear to be 2-HDPE. Publix Supermarkets provided the following information on recycling plastic bags: "Clear plastic bags can be recycled - produce bags, bread bags, even the plastic sleeve that the newspaper is delivered in. If the bag is not clear or has highly colored print all over it, it should not be recycled through our collection bins. Our recycler makes plastic lumber and decking with the plastic bags, and the colored red, blue and black bags create flaws in the product due to the color."