Plastic recycling offers a promising path towards reducing our ecological footprint. However, not all plastics are equal when it comes to recycling. There are several types, each with their own specific characteristics and uses.
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
PET is one of the most commonly used recyclable plastics. It is often used for water bottles, soda bottles and food containers. After recycling, PET can be transformed into textile fibers for the clothing industry, carpets, packaging and even new plastic containers. It is recognizable by the recycling code “1”.
HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
HDPE is a sturdy, moisture-resistant plastic often used in milk bottles, shampoo bottles and detergent bottles. After recycling, it can be transformed into products such as plastic pipes, cleaning product bottles, plastic pallets and construction materials. HDPE is marked with the recycling code “2”.
PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
PVC is used in pipes, flooring, windows and various construction applications. However, PVC recycling is more complex due to the addition of chemical additives. Coming from chlorine chemistry, it is highly incompatible with other plastics to be recycled. PVC is identified by the recycling code “3”.
LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)
LDPE is used for plastic bags, packaging films, coatings and flexible containers. It is soft and flexible, making it an excellent candidate for reusable products. After recycling, LDPE is transformed into reusable bags, packaging, pipes and insulation materials. Its recycling code is “4”.
PP is commonly used in yogurt pots, bottle caps and various food packaging. After recycling, it can be transformed into textile fibers, automobile parts, kitchenware and outdoor furniture. The recycling code for PP is “5”.
PS is present in fast food packaging, polystyrene cups and electronic product packaging. Recycling of PS may be more limited due to its lightness and fragility. However, it can be made into products such as insulation materials. The PS recycling code is “6”.
Some plastics, such as polycarbonates (PC) and biodegradable plastics, do not fit into the previous categories. Plastics in this category often require more specific recycling processes and are less commonly recycled. Their recycling code is “7”.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a type of durable plastic that is often used to make rigid, lightweight products, such as cell phones, laptops, toys, furniture, and tools.
ABS is characterized by its resistance to impact, abrasion and weather, as well as its durability and flexibility at low temperatures. ABS can also be easily stained and painted, making it a versatile material for many applications. Its recycling code is 9.
Recycling plastics plays a crucial role in reducing our impact on the environment. Understanding the different types of recycled plastics and their uses after recycling can help promote more sustainable consumption practices and support efforts to minimize plastic waste. By encouraging selective collection, public awareness and technological advances in recycling, we can contribute to a cleaner, greener future.