What Recycle Numbers Really Mean

First I wanted to share a video I recently saw called “Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard. This video makes you re-think all of the “stuff” you own and where it came from.

Secondly, plastic.

Ever wonder what those numbers on the bottom of recyclable plastic containers really mean? Me too.

Upon learning that my recycle drop off site accepts #1, #2, #3, #5, and #7 plastics I began researching what these number really mean. There is a lot of great information about the type of plastic that these numbers are referring to, but I was less interested in the scientific name of the plastic and more interested in exactly what household and food items actually fall under each category.

Here is what I discovered:

#1: soft drink and water bottles, salad dressing bottles, peanut butter and jam jars

#2: clear and colored bottles and jugs, shampoo and toiletry bottles

#3: blister packaging and cling film from non-food use

#4: squeezable food bottles and container lids

#5: reusable microwaveable ware, yogurt  containers, margarine tubs, plastic plates and cups

#6: egg cartons, packing peanuts, disposable cups, plates, cutlery, and take-away containers

#7: lenses and plastic housewares

Plastic Bags: plastic grocery bags, Ziploc bags, and plastic wrap can be recycled at your local grocery store.

Packing Peanuts: packing peanuts can be recycled at many UPS stores.

Last weekend I watched the movie Bag It – a documentary film about the production and disposal of single use plastic. It’s quite shocking how much plastic we use in the United States just for the sake of convenience. If you haven’t seen this movie, you’ve got to watch it! After watching this movie, my eyes were opened to how much plastic I actually use on a daily basis and have been inspired to live more sustainably when possible. 

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *