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What plastic items can I recycle?
.. and other food and drink containers
Liquid detergent, fabric softener, bleach, shampoo bottles
Each plastic product has a Plastic Identification Code which is a triangle with a number from 1 to 7 inside, visiable usually on the bottom.
What does the numbers in the recycling triangle mean?
PET is a favourite of soft drink manufacturers. It’s also used for bottled water and a wide variety of food products are packaged in it. It takes about 30,000 PET bottles to make one ton of recycled PET.
PET is recycled into …Hollow-fibre filling for jackets, duvets, pillows and sleeping bags is the main use for clear PET bottles in South Africa. Green bottles are turned into building insulation (Isotherm); PET is also recycled in geotextiles for road stabilisation and dam linings, and Plastiwood.
2. HIGH-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE
HDPE is recycled into … Recycling bins, compost bins, buckets, detergent containers, posts, fencing, pipes, plastic timber and plastic chairs.
3. POLYVINYL CHLORIDE
PVC has been described as a “difficult” plastic. Its use is being phased out – in many cases it is being replaced by PET. Try to avoid buying products with PVC packaging, but if you can’t avoit it, it is unlikely to be recycled so the Plastics Federation of SA’s advice is to just throw it away with ordinary rubbish.
4. LOW-DENSITY POLYETHYLENE
Number 4 plastic is used to make rubbish bags, frozen veggie bags, building film, some squeezable bottles and cosmetic tubs.
LDPE is recycled into … Bin liners, pallet sheets, irrigation piping, a variety of containers, and construction and building film.
This type of plastic is used in bottles, ice cream tubs, straws, microwave dishes, kettles, garden furniture, lunch boxes, packaging tape and bottle caps.
PP is recycled into … Pegs, bins, pipes, pallet sheets, oil funnels, car battery cases and trays.
There are two kinds of polystyrene: high-impact, from which products like yoghurt cups are made, and expanded polystyrene, from which meat and vegetable trays are made.
PS is recycled into … Picture frames, curtain rails, finials, skirting boards, cornices, stationery eg, rulers, seedling trays, coathangers.
This is not the type of plastic you’re likely to recycle at home. And, according to the Plastic Federation of SA, it is not recycled in South Africa at the moment, so put it in the dustbin.