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The 7 Categories of Plastics and Disposal Guidelines

31 Aug 2010

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All over the world, many types of plastic are commonly used. Plastic are given a numbering category or identification code for each different types so that it can be sorted and properly recycled. Each type of plastic melts at a different temperature and displays different properties. Many are biodegradable in nature. The identification system divides plastic into seven distinct types and uses a number code generally found on the bottom of containers. It is important to recycle bioplastics properly so they can be disposed of in a safe manner. While in one of our older posts we showed the 3 most popular recycling plastics, we feel it is helpful for you to know all seven of the icons. So if you do get a rare plastic, hopefully this blog will help you take proper disposal action.  The seven types of plastic are:
Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE)
Common uses:Cooking oil bottles, 2 liter soda bottles, peanut butter jars. This is the most widely recycled plastic and often has redemption value.

Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Common uses: Heavy duty liners, detergent bottles, milk jugs, Heavy Duty HDPE Polyethylene plastic sheeting. A common plastic that is used, and recycled on a daily basis.

Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Common uses: shrink wrap, salad dressing containers,plastic pipes, outdoor furniture, water bottles, and liquid detergent containers.

Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Common uses:Plastic Sheeting used in construction, trash can liners, dry cleaning bags, produce bags, food storage containers.

Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)
Common uses:Open top containers (sour cream, yogurt) bottle caps, drinking straws. Recycling centers almost never take #5 plastic.

Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS)
Common uses:To-go "clam shell" containers, packaging pellets or "Styrofoam peanuts," cups, plastic tableware, and meat trays,. Many shipping/packaging stores will accept polystyrene peanuts and other packaging materials for reuse. Cups, meat trays, and other containers that have come in contact with food are more difficult to recycle.

Plastic #7: Other
Common uses:This is the category for any plastic that does not fall under the #1-#6. This may include certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware. Recycling centers cannot recycle plastic #7. Look for alternatives.

Those of us within the Atlantic Poly Environtech Division  like to think of ourselves as subject matter experts on recycling.  We manufacture and distribute multiple forms of plastic products. We know the characteristics and which types to utilize in any commercial or domestic application.   So call us anytime you have questions. 


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We have a dedicated quote fax number: 781-769-5722. We have the largest inventory of stock poly bags in the northeast. Stock orders can be shipped within 24 hours. Atlantic Poly specializes in hard to find sizes and special applications. Ask about our Drop-Ship and Just-in-Time delivery programs. Imprinting up to six colors and 4 color process printing available. Ask about package design assistance for special projects.

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