What do the plastic recycling numbers mean?

Recycling Numbers

(KYTX) - Kelli Powell is getting a lesson in recycling. She often recycles, but never understood the meaning of the numbers on the bottom of her plastic bottles and containers.

"No, I actually just learned that today. When you look on the bottom there's a little triangle, that's pictured there with either the number 1 or number 2," said Powell.

Number one plastics include your everyday soda and water bottles.

Once it has been processed, it can be used to make winter coats, sleeping bags and life jackets.

Number 2 is reserved for high-density plastics. These include heavier containers that hold laundry detergents and bleaches as well as milk, shampoo and motor oil.

Plastic labeled with the number 2 is often recycled into toys, piping, plastic lumber and rope.

The Whitehouse Recycling Center only takes number 1 and number 2 plastics, as do most places in East Texas.

"They'll melt it down and make some more plastic out of it," said Thomas Hawkins with Whitehouse Recycling. 

Plastics with the numbers 3 through 7 are harder to recycle. Those include plastic sandwich and grocery bags.

Kelli says she has become an ace on recycling plastics, now that she understands these cryptic numbers.

"Now I know to just separate each one of those and just bring it up here and throw it in the bins," said Powell. 


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