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Which plastics are recycled and which are not

What do you have to do to recycle a plastic? To begin with, we must know if those we want to recycle can really be used in this process or not, since due to their nature or a mixture, not all of them can enter the recycling process. Of course, this does not mean that you cannot reuse them in your own home.

There is a way to identify and separate these materials: the Plastic Identification Code or RIC ( Resin Identification Code ). It is a code that classifies these materials, so they must all be marked with the corresponding symbol and number. If you want to know this code and learn to separate them well, keep reading AgroCorrn, where we tell you which plastics are recycled and which are not .

You may also be interested in: Where aerosols are recycled
  1. How is plastic recycled and what is it used for?
  2. Classification of the different types of plastics for recycling
  3. What plastics can be recycled
  4. What plastics are not recycled

How is plastic recycled and what is it used for?

You will have noticed in your day to day that there are many different types of plastics and that many can be recycled. But how is plastic recycled ? In reality, it is a relatively simple process, since the first thing that is done in plastics recycling plants, once those that can be processed have been selected, is to separate them according to the type of resin that has been used to manufacture them. Then, in the next step of the recycling process, possible impurities that the object carries, such as labels and other residues, are eliminated, then it is crushed and melted to mix the resin well. The result is small balls of resin that can be inserted into machines that produce plastic objects, such as bottles or boxes.

If you’re wondering what recycled plastic is used for after all this process, think of just about any bottle, box, can, or toy that again carries the code for recyclable plastic. It is very possible that the bottle that you throw in the yellow container will end up being a new bottle.

Classification of the different types of plastics for recycling

How are plastic bottles, carafes, bags, etc. classified? As we have commented, there is a plastics classification and coding system to be able to manage their recycling. In the main image of this article we see all the symbols that are part of this coding and that are usually stamped on the base or one side of the object. Take note of the Plastic Identification Code for its management and recycling :

  • PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) : indicated with the number 1 . This type of material is very present in our day to day because it is in bottles of water, soft drinks and juices, as well as in food containers, as it is very transparent and prevents oxygen from entering. It is one of the most recycled.
  • HDPE (high density polyethylene) : indicated with the number 2 . Among the different types of polyethylenes, this is the most resistant due to its high density. For this reason, it is usually used in cosmetics, cleaning products and some foods, such as tetrabricks.
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride) : indicated with the number 3 . It is one of the most dangerous plastics and is found in cables, pipes, gutters, bottles and jugs of cleaning products such as liquid detergents, etc.
  • LDPE or LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) : indicated with the number 4 . Being of low density it is the most elastic form of polyethylene. It is used in plastic wrap, bags, soft plastic bottles, etc.
  • PP (Polypropylene) : marked with the number 5 . It is a material that withstands pressure well, which is why it is used in the automobile industry, in construction and even in the caps and lids of different types of containers.
  • PS (Polystyrene) : marked with the number 6 . They are commonly known by the brand name Porexpán. It is a very insulating material, so it is used in foam packaging, such as household appliances.
  • Other : marked with the number 7 or letter O . They are other plastics different from the previous ones or they are mixtures of several resins at the same time. The most common are polycarbonate and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene or ABS. Normally they cannot be recycled or it is very difficult to recycle, that is why they are not accepted at all clean points. Those marked with the letter O are products that can surely be reused, although not always recycled.

What plastics can be recycled

Thus, when in doubt about which plastics are recycled, we can affirm that all those that are marked with the RIC code are usable in the recycling process and, therefore, can be thrown into the yellow container or taken to a clean point.

Therefore, plastic packaging and packaging , such as bottles, glasses, plates, trays, carafes, caps, etc. , can be recycled .

For example, if you wonder what types of plastic bottles can be recycled, keep in mind that because they are made of this material at first glance they do not have to be recyclable, only those marked with this code will be.

But what are the types of non-recyclable plastics ? Indeed, there are some that cannot be recycled, although we can easily reuse plastics at home with some very useful crafts. Discover in this other AgroCorrn article Creative ideas to reuse everyday objects .

Take note in the following lines of which are the materials of this type that should not be thrown into the yellow container.

What plastics are not recycled

So what are these plastics that cannot be recycled? This is a very widespread doubt because many times, when we are going to throw away something that we do not normally use and do not dispose of in the yellow container, we are not usually very clear about the best place to throw it away. Therefore, it is convenient to know the types of plastics that are not recycled :

  • Plastics mixed with other materials: whether it is a classified plastic or not, when it comes to materials that are difficult to separate, such as glue, aluminum from drug blisters
  • Plastics made with other resins: if it is a resin object, such as some outdoor furniture, it cannot be recycled even if it contains plastic pieces or parts.
  • Plastics degraded by the sun: these materials tend to crack with just touch, and can even cut, as the plastic is decomposing. For this reason, they cannot be used as they have lost their properties to build a new object.
  • Some pigmented plastics: there are certain colorants that are added to this material during the manufacture of some objects that modify the plastic itself. The downside is that these dyes when processed in recycling machines can turn plastic into threads that damage and jam the machines.

If you want to read more articles similar to Which plastics are recycled and which are not , we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category .

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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