Recycling Symbols


#1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET/PETE)

This is the most common plastic type you will come across, used in bottles and polyester fiber. It may leach antimony or phthalates. Usually able to be recycled.

#2: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

As another common plastic, you can find it in toys, kitchenware, laundry detergent bottles, and plastic trash bags. Relatively safe, HDPE is commonly recycled.

#3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC/V)

Many window frames/doors are made from this, as well as cling wrap and clear food packaging. Food in PVC packaging releases endocrine disrupters; when burned toxins are released. It is rarely recycled.

#4: Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Bags, such as bread bags and tote bags, are LDPE. Some furniture and athletic wear are also products of this. As a safer plastic, there is a low risk of chemicals leaching into other items from the plastic.  Some recycling programs take #4 and most grocery stores will recycle the shopping bags.

#5: Polypropylene (PP)

Reusable containers, furniture, some bottles, and clothing are derived from this. Some recycling centers will take this plastic, as it is mostly harmless.

#6: Polystyrene (PS)

Rarely recycled, PS releases toxins (styrene) into food and other objects, which increases with heat. Takeout containers and almost all kinds of disposable plates & cups are made of PS. 


Why does #7 have no official name?

The recycling #7 is just a category for other plastics that don't fall under any of the six above groups.  Some examples are polycarbonates and resins. Reusable water bottles & coolers and some equipments (medical and dental) are from these. These plastics are toxic and will leach into other objects. Rarely recycled.


"Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles!" by Michael Sanclements