What Does the Recycling Symbol Mean – Part 3: The Number 2

June 14, 2009 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

When  you see the #2 inside the recylcing symbol, it is telling you that the polymer type used to construct that container/vessel is High Density-Polyethylene (HDPE).  This means it is, along with those containers marked #1, one of the two most recycled container types.

Most plastics are capable of being recycled, but due to a very long laundry list of reasons, many recycling agencies are equipped only to work with a limited amount of polymer types.  The #2 polymer type is used in such containers and objects as: laundry detergent bottles, milk jugs, vehicle fuel tanks, plastic lumber, plastic pipes, folding tables, folding chairs, storage sheds, plastic bags…and more.


Generally, #2 is #2 because the intermolecular chains bonding the plastic are stronger than those in #1, it is harder, and can withstand greater temperatures.  If you want more on the techno-speak about HDPE as well as the modern global business parameters of the polymer, check out these articles: New Study Analysis and Resin Identification Code.

So, remember to call up or write to your local government representatives about what your local recycling agency actually handles.  You can find your local recycling agency by searching for the name of your city/state with the .gov affixed to the URL rather than a .com or .net.

More to come on #’s 3-7 in the polymer resin index.



Entry filed under: Green Living Ideas, Recycling Symbols. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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