Who knows the meanings of the plastic numbers? Most people don’t know and don’t care. Even they don’t read the ingredients of the food products. However, some people still care about plastic recycling.

The plastic numbers give us information about the type of plastic, so we can understand which ones are recyclable. Based on these numbers, people collect, sort, and recycle plastics. And don’t worry. There are only just seven types of plastic. 

Plastics are labeled 1 to 7 based on the type of plastic resin used. These numbers are also called Resin Identification Codes. Besides, you can read the Environmental toxicity of polyethylene and polypropylene materials to improve your knowledge. 

Now, let’s check these numbers.

Plastik ürünlerin altındaki numaralar ne anlama geliyor?
Plastic numbers.

No1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE)

Number 1 belongs to polyethylene terephthalate, known as PET or PETE. PET is one of the most used plastics due to its transparency, strength, and temperature stability. You’ll remember this plastic from food, beverage containers, and synthetic fabrics. For example, plastic bottled water.

It’s recyclable and disposable. 

No2: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Number 2 is the code for high-density polyethylene. So, it’s used in containers, kitchenware, plastic boxes, tubes, pipes, packaging films, toys, oil bottles, and insulating parts of cables. HDPE is rigid, lightweight, and strong to most solvents. It’s the most common container type and is popular with PET containers.

It’s recyclable and reusable. 

No3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or V)

Number 3 contains polyvinyl chloride. It’s used in door and window profiles, exterior cladding, flooring, the health sector (catheters, blood product bags), and food packaging. 

It’s a controversial material due to its chemical composition. These chemicals can contaminate plastic parts during the recycling process. It requires a specific recycling process. Many recycling centers don’t have the technology to recycle PVC.

It’s mostly recyclable.

No4. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Number 4 is also known as low-density polyethylene. This plastic is hard and flexible. Resistant to acids, bases, and vegetable oils. This versatile material is used in everyday items, from ketchup bottles to toys and garbage bags. If you want to reuse this kind of plastic, rinse it well when used for a food item. However, many recycling centers don’t accept this plastic because of its lower melting point and contaminants.

It’s recyclable and reusable. 

No5: Polypropylene (PP)

This polymer has many uses in automotive, textile, and food packaging and is produced from propylene. Polypropylene is durable even when stretched. This item has a high melting point, making it safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave. 

It’s recyclable and reusable.

No6: Polystyrene (PS)

PS is a highly versatile plastic that can be engineered into flexible and solid forms. It’s used for insulation materials (foam, rubber, auto parts, etc.) and disposable items (cups, plates, yogurt, ayran containers, etc. 

It’s non-recyclable because polystyrene is generally not accepted at recycling centers due to economic factors and contamination. However, sometimes, some centers may take them.

No7: Others

It’s an inclusive symbol for other species, used in some citrus juice bottles of special packaging. Additionally, it can be a mixture of the above plastics or a completely different type of plastic. For example, Bisphenol A (BPA) and polycarbonate (PC) are examples of number 7. 

It’s hard to recycle and also quite harmful. 

Next time, you’ll shop more conscientious. Save your article to check numbers whenever you need to. Now, take the nearest plastic product and read the number on it. What is it?