Recycling plastics has become extremely popular with people around the United States who are looking for a way to help protect the environment. Though recycling is important, it is only effective if done properly and that cannot happen until people understand how to read the recycling symbol on water bottles and other plastic containers. Many have seen the numbers, surrounded by arrows, on their plastic bottles, but are unaware exactly what those numbers mean when recycling.
The recycling symbol on water bottles does not give you the green light to recycle that particular bottle, as many mistakenly believe. It simply means that in certain areas there are facilities that can recycle that type of plastic. It is up to the consumers to pay attention to the number within the recycling symbol on water bottles and to find out for themselves if there is a place to take that type of plastic in their city or town.
Here is a list of the numbers most often found within the recycling symbol on water bottles and exactly what they mean:
Number 1 – This is the most common number found on single serving water bottles and similar beverage containers. These are made of polyethylene terephthalate and are easily recycled at curbside pickups and all recycling centers. These are sometimes turned into new containers, but most often used to create other products, such as carpeting, bags and polar fleece clothing.
Number 2 – This plastic is used in gallon sized jugs and other beverage containers of a similar size. They care made from high density polyethylene and are accepted at most recycling programs and pickups. When recycled, these are turned into other types of bottles or jugs, as well as various construction materials.
Number 7 – This classification covers a wide number of plastic types, including those used in very large water jugs and bottles. It can be a bit more difficult to find recycling centers that take these products, but in some rare instances, they are taken at curbside pickups.
When recycling, pay close attention to the recycling symbol on water bottles to assure that you have properly sorted your garbage. By taking care to sort your recyclables properly, you are doing your part to make the process of recycling more efficient and effective. As disposing of plastics in landfills can be detrimental to the environment, everyone should take the time to learn about the meaning of the recycling symbol on water bottles and follow the rules of recycling to help improve the health of the planet.