So What's the Scoop on Plastics Recycling?

As you know, Gray recycles plastics in two categories based on their identification number printed on the raised triangle printed on the bottom of each plastic item. We separate out #2 plastic from all other types of plastic as it is the best plastic for recycling and pays our Recycle center the most per pound. We recycle clear and colored #2 separately as clear is worth more.

We also recycle #1 separately and 3-7 are recycled as a single item as recyclers buy these plastics mixed and generally pay much less. I thought you might like to know what the numbers mean and what the plastic types get recycled into. Plastic down-cycles so plastic is never recycled as the number it originates and has a limited recycle life unlike glass or metal which can always be recycled as the original item.

Due to the lack of market opportunities for the sale of plastic bags and related material, we are forced to discontinue the recycling of such effective immediately.

 #1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate  
Used for water, beer and soda bottles etc. recycled into carpet fibers and fleece jackets.

#2 - High Density Polyethylene
Used for milk jugs, detergent bottles and juice bottles.  It is recycled into decking, flower pots and fencing

#3 - Polyvinyl Chloride
Used in children’s toys, vinyl shower curtains and construction materials like window frames and pipe. Recycled as gutters and plastic packaging.

#4 - Low Density Polyethylene
Plastic film for bread bags, dry cleaning bags and some specialized bottles. Recycled into shipping envelopes, trash bags and compost bins.

#5 - Polypropylene
Yogurt and margarine tubs, plastic cups and bowls and medicine bottles.  Recycled into ice scrapers, brooms, rakes, shipping pallets and trays.

#6 - Polystyrene
Styrofoam falls into the #6 category, but we do not recycle it as there is no market. It ends up in the solid waste stream We do collect shipping peanuts at our center in specially marked boxes for use by residents.

#7 - Other plastics
Mixes of various plastics which are used for items such as cheese packaging, oven bags. This is made from a resin other than 1-6 or a combination of resins. Recycling of #7 is difficult, as resins cannot be separated back to a single resin.

It is important to recycle plastic because it never breaks down and remains plastic forever, so please recycle all plastics.