Recyclable plastics are separated according to the number usually found on the bottom of the container inside the recycling triangle. The numbers range from 1 to 7. The numbers 1 through 6 indicate the specific materials from which the plastic is made. Number 7 indicates none of those or a mixture of those.
The Recycling Center can accept only #1 and #2 plastic, and then only if the neck is smaller than the body.
#1 PETE plastic is mostly used for bottles: clear and green soda bottles, clear juice or tonic bottles, and light blue beverage bottles.
#2 plastics are mostly jugs and bottles — milk jugs, spring water bottles, cider jugs, detergent bottles, dry gas bottles, anti-freeze and motor oil jugs.
Which plastics are accepted for recycling, and how they must be separated changes from time to time as Center staff is able to find buyers for the plastics. While a previous buyer required the separation of “#2 mixed” and “#2 white,” that is no longer necessary.
Only containers with a neck smaller than the body are able to be recycled. So typical containers for yogurt, dried prunes, take out food, cottage cheese and the like are not recyclable. These must go in the yellow bags.
To prepare #1 and #2 plastics for recycling, remove the caps and rinse them clean. Motor oil jugs are the exception. Leave their caps on and do not rinse them!
What is it? Wikipedia says:
#1 PETE: Polyethylene terephthalate … is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers … Polyethylene terephthalate is produced from ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate (C6H4(CO2CH3)2) or terephthalic acid.
#2 plastics are also called HDPE. or PEHD. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polyethylene high-density (PEHD) is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. Known for its large strength to density ratio, HDPE is commonly used in the production of plastic bottles, corrosion-resistant piping, geomembranes, and plastic lumber.
It takes the equivalent of 1.75 kilograms of petroleum in energy and raw materials) to make one kilogram of HDPE.