Posts tagged ‘Recycling Symbol’

What Does the Recycling Symbol Mean Pt. 6 – The No. 4

The recycling symbol number 4 is telling you that the plastic is made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from petroleum (BOO!).  It was the first grade of polyethylene, produced in 1933 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) using a high pressure process via free radical polymerisation [1]. Its manufacture employs the same method today.  LDPE is supposedly commonly recycled, but we can’t find a citation indicating any proof or research done to substantiate the claim.


LDPE is widely used for manufacturing various containers, dispensing bottles, wash bottles, tubing, plastic bags for computer components, and various molded laboratory equipment. Its most common use is in plastic bags. Other products made from it include:

* Trays & general purpose containers
* Food storage and laboratory containers
* Corrosion-resistant work surfaces
* Parts that need to be weldable and machinable
* Parts that require flexibility, for which it serves very well
* Very soft and pliable parts
* Six-pack soda can rings
* Extrusion coating on paperboard and aluminum laminated for beverage cartons.
* Computer components, such as hard drives, screen cards and disk-drives.
* Playground Slides
* Plastic Bags

Remember, no matter what the symbol (which coaxes most people into feeling that the product is safe for the environment because it can be recycled), there are many more factors that play into if this plastic will ever be recycled rather than wasted.  Your local government’s recycling laws are the biggest obstacle to plastics actually being recycled (go find yours at whatever the name of your town or state it with a .gov attached rather than a .com or .net).

The best thing you can do is use products that are made with the environment and your health in mind.  Check out our extensive supply of reusable water bottles and reusable shopping bags at and help us fight The Disposable Water Bottle Beast.


August 17, 2009 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

What Does the Recycling Symbol Mean Pt. 5 – The No. 3

Plastics and products with the number 3 recycling symbol on there are often made into pipes, fencing, and non-food bottles, although they do not have to be those materials.   The #3 recycling symbol is referred to as Polyvinol Chloride, better known as PVC.  As you probably know, PVC is used A LOT – pools and plumbing are two gigantic categories utilizing PVC.

Some quick facts about #3 recycling symbol plastics:

  1. #3 recycling symbol plastics are the third most widely used thermoplastic polymer after polyethylene (#1 recycling symbol) and polypropylene (#5 recycling symbol).
  2. Over 50% of PVC manufactured is used in construction.
  3. #3 recycling symbol plastics can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers.  In this form, PVC can be used in clothing and upholstery, and to make flexible hoses and tubing, flooring, to roofing membranes, and electrical cable insulation.
  4. The Unicode character for this symbol is U+2675
  5. Post-consumer PVC is not typically recycled due to the prohibitive cost of regrinding and recompounding the resin compared to the cost of virgin (unrecycled) resin.
  6. A new process of PVC recycling is being developed in Europe called Texiloop.[43] This process is based on a technology already applied industrially in Europe and Japan, called Vinyloop, which consists of recovering PVC plastic from composite materials through dissolution and precipitation. It strives to be a closed loop system, recycling its key solvent and hopefully making PVC a future technical nutrient.

recycling symbol 3

Some articles to read for more tips on the #3 recycling symbol #3:

July 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment

What Does the Recycling Symbol Mean – Part 4: Your .gov

.gov…  It’s the standard URL finale instead of .com or .net or .org when trying to learn about your local government.   And local government is typically who controls regulations and laws concerning recycling of all sort of disposable products, such as those disposable water bottles we’re fighting to eradicate from all forms of production, consumption, and waste.  Tip: be certain to type in the name of your city plus the .gov fixture IN THE GOOGLE SEARCH, not in the URL browser.  Why?  Because some cities use .us, org, or something else.  By using the search mechanism, your city/state government website will likely be in the top five search response.

Why do we bring this up?  Several reasons:

1. You want to know more about what you can and cannot recycle, but all you’ve got is a blue or yellow or green or red or whatever-color barrel with a recycling symbol on it.  Not very helpful.  The quickest place to either find that information or find contact information to some service that can answer those questions, is at your city/state .gov.

gov (2)

2. You want to know more about what your city /state PLANS to do about recycling efforts?  You’ll find details and contact information there for sure.

3. Last but not least – CONTACT INFORMATION!!!  You figure your city/state isn’t doing enough about recycling many types of common waste in appropriate manners?  Email them once a day.   Write them letters.  Call them.  And most importantly, spread that information around so that other people can write them regarding solutions as well.  You might even want to put a sign in your yard with that contact information and pre-written messaging to send.  Get your grass-roots on and find out what your .gov is doing about recycling.  The think global/act local mentality works, we just need to find ways to act.


June 25, 2009 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

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

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.


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

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