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PET plastic, known as polyethylene terephthalate, is the most common for single use beverages because it is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to recycle. PET poses a lower risk of leaching breakdown products.  PET is represented by a 1 centered in three rotating arrows. PET is generally recycled into polar fleece, tote bags, straps and carpet.

HDPE, known as high density polyethylene, is a versatile plastic with many uses especially for packaging. HDPE has a low risk of leaching. HDPE is mostly recycled into laundry soap bottles, pens, doghouses, picnic tables, and even fencing. HDPE is represented by a 2 centered in three rotating arrows.

PVC or V (Vinyl) is a tough plastic that weathers well. PVC is commonly used for piping and siding. PVC contains chlorine so manufacturing it poses risk of release of dangerous dioxins. PVC is rarely recycled but when it is recycled it is used for decks, mudflaps, and flooring.  PVC is represented by a 3 centered in three rotating arrows.

LDPE, known as low density polyethylene, is a flexible plastic with many applications. LDPE is used to make shopping bags and squeeze bottles. LDPE is represented by a 4 centered in three rotating arrows. When used in recycling it is developed into trash can liners, lumber, and compost bins.

PP, known as polypropylene, is used to store hot liquids since PP has a higher melting point.  PP is used to make medicine bottles or store yogurt. PP is represented by a 5 centered in three rotating arrows.

PS, known as polystyrene but more commonly known as Styrofoam.  PS can release chemicals into your food when heated. Although PS is used quite frequently it is one of the worst plastics to recycle.  If PS is recycled it is used for egg cartons, light switches, and foam packaging. PS is represented by a 6 centered with three rotating arrows.

The last plastic you might find is Number 7 plastic. This is miscellaneous plastics such as polycarbonates. If recycled they are used for plastic lumber and custom made products. Some number 7 plastics can have hormonal disruptors. Number 7 plastic is represented by a 7 centered by three rotating arrows.

All city recycling programs are different but you can contact them to find out if they take all or specific plastics.

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