Tips on Recycling Plastic Bottles
Success in recycling begins with putting the correct materials – prepared appropriately – into the recycling bin.
We know the benefits of recycling plastic bottles, but the varied regulations addressing recycling programs can be a little confusing.
Here are a few tips as you navigate the plastic bottle conundrum:
Note the number. If your recycling program accepts plastics based on resin numbers, check the code. Each plastic bottle is marked with a recycling code numbered one through seven, which tells you the type of plastic and whether or not you can recycle it. Almost all recycling programs collect plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET) or high density polyethylene (HDPE). These are plastics #1 and #2.
Check the neck. Ask your local department of waste management what plastics are recycled, e.g. bottles, containers or other plastics. From a recycler’s perspective, a “bottle” is any container with an opening or neck that is smaller than its base. That definition covers lots of containers you’ll find in your kitchen – from beverage bottles and milk jugs to bottles for salad dressing, peanut butter and mayonnaise.
Prepare recyclables. Remove caps and pumps and discard if instructed by your community program. Rinse your bottles, but you don’t need to remove labels. Crush them, so they take up less space in the bin.
Bring it home. When you’re on the go and can’t locate a recycling bin, bring plastic bottles home to recycle.
Consolidate drop-off center trips. Also, find one as close to you as possible to minimize fuel use.
Buy recycled. Support recycling by looking for products labeled “made with recycled content.” Those labeled “made with post-consumer recycled content” are products that have been made with materials that have already been used instead of virgin materials.