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Len & Leslie Marma's Blog

By Len & Leslie Marma | Agent in Marshfield, MA

Which Plastics are Recyclable and Why?

Which plastics are recyclable and why?

By Debbie Sullivan
Posted Aug 03, 2011 @ 03:00 PM
Marshfield —

Recycling plastics can be confusing. The chasing arrows or triangle with a number in the center is a code that identifies the plastic resin type. Plastics manufacturers use this code, but it does not necessarily mean the plastic is recyclable.

Seven basic resin types are used to make thousands of different kinds of plastics. Dyes and other additives are added to basic resin to give the final product a desired color, shape and texture. These additives, along with the way that plastics are formed, impact the ability to recycle the plastic. Recycled plastics must be carefully sorted by type before they can be melted down and reformed into new products. Placing your plastics in the recycling bin is just the beginning of the long process of sorting and reprocessing in order to recycle plastics.

Some plastics that can’t be recycled, such as polystyrene (Styrofoam) and plastic bags, have limited markets and present haulers and processors with logistical challenges. Wind easily blows these lightweight plastics, creating litter problems; they require large amounts of storage space; and they get tangled up in processing equipment.

Which plastics can I recycle?

Think bottles and containers.

All plastic food and beverage bottles.

Most plastic food containers.

Most other plastic bottles under 2 gallons in size.

If the bottle contained motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides, herbicides, adhesives, paints or solvents, it cannot be recycled. The residue from motor oil and chemicals seeps into the plastic and contaminates it.

Styrofoam cups and trays and microwave trays are not recyclable.

If you must buy a plastic product, choose one made of recycled plastic this will help strengthen markets for recycling plastics.

Please if you have any questions feel free to email dsullivan@townofmarshfield.org or call 781-831-3134. If you did not receive a brochure about your trash and recycling services please go to the DPW office, second floor Town Hall.

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