In the event of Global Recycling Day, we updated ourselves on the plastics we should be recycling. For those of you struggling to get your head around the symbols, we've cracked the code! Here is our guide to identifying your recyclable plastics from your non-recyclable plastic waste.
PET comes in the form of clear hard plastic and is most commonly found in clear plastic bottles so think again about throwing them in your general waste bin, as you could save them from going into landfill.
Specific PET household items include mouthwash, yoghurt pots, drinks bottles.
PET is commonly turned into textiles as polyester fabric.
HDPE can be found in stiff coloured bottles and tubs. Whether this plastic can be recycled depends from council to council, be sure to check that they take your HDPE plastics such as in Milk containers, margarine and ice cream tubs, shampoo bottles and even Plastic bottle caps. Don't forget to clean/rinse out these items before recycling :)
HDPE can be recycled into pens, non-food bottles (i.e. detergent bottles) and recycling
LDPE is hard flexible plastic, as with HDPE you may need to check with your council first. LDPE plastic comes in the form of bread bags, bubble wraps, squeezable bottles and tubes and carrier bags that can be stretched- most councils don't accept carrier bags but they can be collected for recycling in some supermarkets. Items that I wouldn't have otherwise thought to recycle can be turned into bin liners.
PP is usually a hard plastic most common in takeaway boxes are a big culprit of plastic pollution, along with PP plastic straws, plastic picnicware and packing tape. Don't forget to check to see if any of these products are included in your council's recycling list.
Next time you are peckish for takeaway, check to see if you can recycle your take away box (or even better skip plastic altogether and look for paper packaged takeaway or bring your own!)
This plastic can be turned into garden tools i.e rakes and brooms, and also plastic trays and brushes.
PVC cannot yet be recycled, this includes household items such as Cling film, plastic outdoor furniture, pipes, table protectors etc. For these items, we recommend investing in some environmentally friendly alternatives, especially regarding cling film as a single-use plastic.
PS commonly known as Polystyrene comes in two forms a hard brittle plastic, these include CD cases, plastic cutlery and some yoghurt pots, and an expanded polystyrene, a lightweight, insulative plastic, as in foamy takeaway packaging, styrofoam, insulation and some packaging peanuts.
Other plastics, a separate category for composite plastics, such as crisp wrappers, plastic-coated wrapping paper, polycarbonate containing BPA and of course bioplastics as they are biodegradable and therefore cannot be recycled.
To recap... You can even print this out and stick it on your fridge (or your bin!)