Plastic recycling by numbers
A lot of people think that if something has a recycling symbol on it then you can recycle it, but, actually, it depends on what numbers in the middle of it. Here is a quick guide.
1 - This is polyethylene terephthalate. This plastic is usually found in juice bottles and food trays. Recyclable.
2 - This is high-density polyethylene. This plastic is usually found in yoghurt tubs, plastic shopping bags, milk cartons and shampoo/detergent bottles. Recyclable.
3 - This is polyvinyl chloride. This plastic is usually found in hoses and clear food packaging. Even though this one is recyclable it is considered to be the most toxic of all plastics.
4 - This is low-density polyethylene. This plastic is usually found in bin bags, squeezable bottles and cling film. Recyclable but sometimes difficult to find somewhere that actually recycles this!
5 - This is polypropylene. This plastic is usually found in bottle caps, plastic straws and food tubs. Recyclable.
6 - This is either polystyrene or expanded polystyrene. This plastic is usually found in plastic cutlery, CD cases, plastic cups and plastic plates. Not easy to recycle.
7 - This is polycarbonate resins and compose material. This plastic is usually found in components, computers, electronics (phones, laptops etc), nylon and Perspex. Not easy to recycle.
So, next time you go to the shops, maybe check the recycling label carefully! Or better still, buy without plastic packaging wherever you can.