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Plastic Recycling Codes: What do these numbers mean? - GreenSutra®

Plastic Recycling Codes: What do these numbers mean?

Plastic Recycling Codes group plastics in 7 Major Categories based on the raw materials used.

Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | India

The use of Recycling Codes has become increasingly popular to facilitate easier recycling, reusing or reprocessing of materials like plastic. Recycling Code is usually indicated by a symbol of chasing arrows logo with a number within it. Recycling Codes only indicate the constituent raw materials of a particular item or product and not the fact whether the material is recyclable.

Based on different applications, there are several types of plastics which are available. Some of these plastics may contain harmful chemicals and might not be suitable for standard recycling or reprocessing purposes.

Plastic Recycling Codes categorize all the various plastics into 7 major groups for easier and faster recycling and reprocessing. Because the codes indicate the constituent raw materials, recyclers can quickly learn about the plastics biodegradability or how likely is the plastic to leech and so on.

Here’s What they Mean:

Plastic Recycling CodesTypePropertiesUses/ApplicationsRecyclable
Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | IndiaPolyethylene
-Gas & Moisture Barrier
-Single Use
-Cannot be Heated
-Bottles for Water
-Bottles for Carbonated Drinks
-Bottles for Coconut Oil
-Jars for Peanut Butter
(Can be
Recycled Once)
Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | IndiaHigh Density
-Thermoforming Type
-High Degree of Impact Resistance
-Chemical & Corrosion Resistant
-High Tensile Strength
-Orthotic & Prosthetic Devices
-Light Weight Chain Guides
-Water Storage Tanks
(Recycled into
Secondary Products)
Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | IndiaPolyvinyl
-Highly Versatile
-High Mechanical Strength
-Easily Blendable
-Packaging Materials (Non Food)
-Rigid Piping
-Electrical Insulation
-Vinyl Records
(Contains Potent
Carcinogens, Hormone Disrupting Chemicals)
Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | IndiaLow Density
-High degree of Mechanical Strength
-Gas & Moisture Barrier
-Squeezable Bottles
-Cling Films
-Packaging for Frozen Foods
-Flexible Container Lids
Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | IndiaPolypropylene-Hard
-Heat Resistant
-Chemical, Grease & Oil Resistant
-High Mechanical Strength
-Reusable Microwave-ware
-Aerated Drink Bottle Caps
-Microwavable Take-Away Containers
-TV Housings
Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | IndiaPolystyrene-Rigid
-Thermoforming Type
-Egg Cartons
-Disposable Cups & Plates
-Disposable Take-Away Containers
(Contains Neurotoxins)
Plastic Recycling Codes | Greensutra | IndiaOther:
-Cannot be Heated-Baby Milk Bottles
-Compact Disks
-Electronic Apparatus Housing
-Prescription Glasses
-Riot Sheilds

Which are Safe & Which to Avoid

It is always better to reduce dependency on plastics and avoid as much as possible. Since it is not possible to stop using plastics completely, Plastic Recycling Codes helps us identify plastics that are safe to recycle and ones that cannot be.

  • Plastics with Codes 3,6 and 7 cannot be recycled under standard recycling procedures and may pose harm to health and the environment. These should be Avoided.
  • Plastics with Code 1 is considered safe to recycle, but it can be recycled only once. It is always advisable to avoid this type.
  • Plastics with Codes 2,4 and 5 are considered safest to recycle.
Plastic Recycling Codes: What do these numbers mean?
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Plastic Recycling Codes: What do these numbers mean?
Plastic Recycling Codes group plastics in major categories based on their composition. There are 7 major plastic recycling codes that are used universally.
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