Which Plastics Can Be Recycled?

Which Plastics Can Be Recycled?

When it comes to recycling plastic, it can be very confusing because there are so many different types of plastic. And in some cases, recycling programs will take only certain plastics but not others.

This can be a bit frustrating when you are trying to do your part for the environment. Fortunately, there are some general guidelines you can follow to make sure your plastic waste does not end up in a landfill, but instead heads off to the recycling plant to be transformed and reused once more.

Here are some of the essentials you need to know about recycling plastic.

Beware of Plastic Shopping Bags

These are by far the most common and can be the most dangerous of all plastics. Invest in reusable shopping bags. If you do have to take some, use the return program at the store, or make sure you reuse them as needed.

Plastic Trash Bags

If you are going to use plastic trash bags, choose ones that are biodegradable and photodegradable. Recycle as much of your trash as you can and compost as much of your organic matter as you can. Place the rest in an eco-friendly trash bag. Fill the bag as much as possible to make the most of it.

Plastics 1 to 7

If you look carefully at a piece of plastic and it is recyclable, you should see the recycle symbol and a number inside of it. The number refers to the type of plastic the items is made from.

Some local collection services accept all type of plastics. Others are confined to only certain numbers on the list. It is important to know which are accepted so things don’t end up in landfill for no reason.

If any items are not accepted, you could keep them and reuse them yourself, or find a collection point that recycles those numbered items. Note that the guidelines change from time to time, so check any flyers you are sent in the mail from your local sanitation services.

You can also try to find your local services online and see if they have printable guidelines you can post in your kitchen to remind you what to do, such as:

Make sure the items have been washed before you recycle them. Avoid heating food in plastic trays too, because it might break down that type of plastic and the plastic can leach into your food.

Office Equipment

One final group of items that is heavy on plastics and should be recycled as conscientiously as possible is office equipment such as desktop and laptop computers, phones, printers and so on.

In large cities, you should be able to find businesses that repurpose the computers and either sell them to the public, or give them to schools that need computers. In terms of urban recycling programs, also look out for special days to recycle these items. You will usually have to bring them to a particular location.

In both cases, ask for a receipt for the item so you can deduct it from your taxes.

Note that in the case of desktop monitors and TVs, some recycling places and those that offer these services like Best Buy will charge a $25 fee.

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