Monday, September 8, 2008

Recycling - What Those Numbers Mean

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I am lucky enough to live in a County (Sonoma County-California) that recycles all plastic 1 - 7. This hasn't always been the case but now it is --thanks to an improved operating system. Yea!!
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Scary Facts:
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56 tons of trash per year are created by the average person.
Only about one-tenth of all solid garbage in the United States gets recycled.
Almost 1/3 of the waste generated the U.S. is packaging.
Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
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____ The easiest and most common plastics to recycle.
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Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PETE):
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Soda bottles, water bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars.
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____The second easiest most common plastics to recycle.
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High-density Polyethylene (HDPE):
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Laundry/dish detergent containers, fabric softeners, bleach, milk, shampoo, conditioner, motor oil, various toys, and some kinds of plastic bags (look at all plastic bags for the #2 - you might be surprised how many can be recycled).
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____Less recyclable type of plastics.
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Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) :
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Pipes, shower curtains, meat wraps, cooking oil bottles, baby bottle nipples, shrink wrap, clear medical tubing, vinyl dashboards, seat covers, and coffee containers.
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____Less recyclable type of plastics.
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Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE) :
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Wrapping films, grocery bags, sandwich bags, dry cleaning bags, produce bags, trash can liners, and food storage containers.
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____Less recyclable type of plastics.
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Polypropylene (PP):
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Syrup bottles, yogurt tubs, diapers, outdoor carpet, bottle caps, and drinking straws.
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____Another useful plastic to recycle.
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Polystyrene (PS):
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Coffee cups, disposable cutlery and cups (clear and colored), bakery shells, meat trays, packing peanuts, styrofoam insulation.
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____ Hardest Plastics to Recycle - Let's all avoid this plastic!!
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Other:
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The hot dog of plastics! Products labeled as "other" are made of any combination of 1-6 or another, less commonly used plastic. Usually imprinted with a number 7 or nothing at all, these plastics are the most difficult to recycle and, as such, are seldom collected or recycled. Look for alternatives.
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Some of the above information was found via the Univ. of Southern Mississippi's Dept. of Polymer Science website.
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6 comments:

Lucky said...

great post - thanks for all the info. i've been recycling for the past year and i wish we were able to recycle more items here in baltimore.

Mya said...

Hey I learned a lot. Great post. I am guilty of not recycling enough.
-Mya

M.Kate said...

sadly that's not the case here...the recycling effort are lukewarm..but good infor and knowledge :D

Honeygo Beasley said...

I agree - great post! Was wondering what products might one want to avoid in the number 7 category? I liked how you gave examples ...

Sabina said...

Thanks everyone for visiting!!

ambika said...

Despite being in a city that pioneered a lot of this stuff, I had *no* idea. Thanks so much for the heads up!

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