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Thursday, June 28, 2007

What do the Number Codes inside the "Recycling Triangle" really mean?

Have you ever wondered what the number codes inside the "Recycling triangle" on the bottoms of plastic containers indicate? Well, it tells you the material that the container is made from.

The codes and materials are:

1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
2 - High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
3 - Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
4 - Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
5 - Polypropylene (PP)
6 - Polystyrene (PS)
7 - Other Plastics

The material in which it is made of actually determines how recycling may occur. For instance, many recycling operations will not accept Code 7 material, because the wide variety of plastics makes recycling difficult.

Plastics coded 1 and 2 are recycled the most (Ref 2). Other less recyclable plastics are polyvinyl chloride (PVC - code 3), low-density polyethylene (LDPE code 4), polypropylene (PP - code 5), polystyrene (PS - code 6) and any other plastic (code 7).


  1. Anonymous said,

    wow, I had no idea.. thought they were pretty much all the same!

    on 6/28/2007 2:03 AM

  2. Jason S said,

    Hi Rikki,

    Nice to know that you found the info useful.


    on 6/28/2007 11:43 AM

  3. Sudhakar said,


    on 6/28/2007 6:25 PM

  4. Anonymous said,

    Thank you for providing more detail on the numbers.

    I have to say I'm actually a bit shocked that there are still people who think all plastic is the same. If they're recycling, they must have seen which numbers their particular recycling program allows you to put in the bin (usually 1 and 2).

    on 9/07/2007 4:34 AM

  5. Jason S said,

    Yes you are right Susan.


    on 9/07/2007 10:45 AM