Know Your Plastics

Most plastic containers are labeled with a recycling code, a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 that helps recyclers sort the different kinds of plastics in the market. While the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) created the code to facilitate recycling, consumers can use the system to understand what kind of plastics can be recycled in their area.

Symbol Type of material Where is it found Uses after recycling
PETE Polyethylene
  • Soft drinks
  • Juices
  • Single serve water bottles
  • Beer
  • New soft drink bottles
  • Polyester clothing
  • Sleeping bag insulation
  • Carpeting
HDPE High density
  • Cleaning products
  • Industrial products
  • Personal care products
  • Garbage bags
  • Bottles
  • Grocery Bags
  • Bins
  • Plastic lumber
V Polyvinyl chloride
(V or Vinyl or PVC)
  • Medical tubing
  • Construction products
  • Pipe
  • Fencing
  • Non-food bottles
LDPE Low density
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Shopping bags
  • Plastic food wrap
  • Plastic bags
  • Containers
  • Bottles
  • Tubing
PP Polypropylene
  • Squeezable condiment bottles
  • Margarine containers
  • Food storage containers
  • Automotive parts
  • Food containers
PS Polystyrene
  • Styrofoam containers
  • Disposable cutlery, cups and bowls
  • Take-out food containers
  • Cafeteria trays
  • Toys
  • Video cassettes and cases
  • Insulation board
Other Other This catch-all category contains any plastics that do not fit within the other six categories:

  • Polycarbonate
    • Refillable plastic bottles
    • Baby bottles
    • Metal food can liners
    • Consumer electronics
  • Biodegradable resins
    • Food and beverage packaging
  • Other plastics

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