Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing it into useful and functional products. This is called plastic recycling. Recycling plastic has two goals: to reduce plastic pollution and to make new plastic products with less demand on virgin materials. This helps conserve resources and divert plastics from landfills and unintended destinations like the oceans.
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Recycling plastic is essential
Plastics are lightweight, durable and cost-effective. Plastics can be easily molded into many products that have many uses. Plastics are used in a variety of products that are used worldwide every year.
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What plastics are recyclable?
Six types of plastics are common. Here are some examples of products that you might find for each type of plastic.
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- PS (Polystyrene). – Examples: foam hot drinks cups, plastic cutlery and containers, as well as yogurt.
- PP (Polypropylene). – Examples: Lunch boxes, take-out containers, ice cream containers.
- Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) – Examples: bags and garbage bins.
- PVC (Plasticised polyvinyl chloride, or polyvinylchloride)–Examples: juice, cordial or squeeze bottles.
- HDPE (High density polyethylene) – Examples: Shampoo containers and milk bottles.
- PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – Examples: Soft drink bottles and fruit juice.
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Only PET, HDPE and PVC products can be recycled in curbside recycling programs. PS, PP and LDPE are typically not recyclable because they are more expensive and difficult to process.2 Bottle tops and lids are also not recyclable. Plastic recycling is complicated. Plastics that aren’t economically viable to recycle are not all recyclable.