APR works every day to expand plastics recycling.
Every year since 2009 APR has conducted a survey to evaluate residential plastics collection programs for the largest municipality in each state. These surveys show that plastics recycling beyond just bottles is happening widely in the United States.
Have you ever wondered what those numbers on plastic packages mean?They are "resin idenfitication codes" that help recyclers know what kind of plastic each package is made of.
Select a type of plastic below to learn more about how and where to recycle it.
Most foam #6 products can be identified by the resin identification code stamped on the material. Foam is often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam®, which is a registered trademark of the Dow Chemical Company for extruded polystyrene foam made for thermal insulation and craft applications. Foam #6 is a thermoplastic that can be recycled over and over again. The types of accepted foam products vary between processing facilities.
What are bags, wraps and film?
Those convenient plastic shopping bags universally provided to customers are fully recyclable. These bags are mostly made of HDPE #2 plastic, and while they can’t be combined with other HDPE packages such as milk jugs, they are still completely recyclable if kept separate. Other film packages and wrappers include bread bags, produce bags, overwraps on multi-packs of household paper goods and beverage bottles, apparel bags from online shopping and local department stores, dry-cleaning bags, and many other forms of flexible packaging found in the household. These bags and wrappers are mostly made of Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) or Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE), #4 plastic which is recycling compatible with HDPE.
What are residential bulky rigid plastics?
Residential bulky rigid plastics are any large rigid #5 PP and/or #2 HDPE plastic bulky items, generated through a positive sort from curbside, drop-off or other public or private recycling collection program. Examples include: crates, buckets, baskets, totes, and lawn furniture. Metal such as axels and bolts should be removed but buckets/pails with metal handles are acceptable.
Thousands of communities throughout the US collect bulky rigid plastics. Local governments and residents have embraced the opportunity to recover this high-volume recyclable plastic through a few different methods.
Because convenience is often the key to high volume recycling, collecting bulky rigid plastics at the curb is the preferred collection method for many US communities, and is becoming more common every year. When adding this material to curbside recycling it is critical to fully understand what the MRF/market will accept and communicate this to residents.
Typically an open top, roll-off container is used to collect bulky rigid plastics at a drop-off site. As with any type of recycling, keeping the material clean of contaminants will help with pricing and market options. Good signage is important to help residents understand which bulky rigids are accepted and which are not.
Special Collections Event
Adding residential bulky rigids to a special collection day is an easy transition, as they would be only one of the many items collected. Electronics, household hazardous waste, and textiles are a few items that are also collected this way. Given that residential bulky plastics are often items such as toys, large buckets, and laundry baskets that are still useable, collecting them at a special collections event provides the opportunity for reuse. Because MRFs may be the ultimate destination for residential bulky rigids collected, they will often provide a roll-off container for collection/transport at special collections.
What are non-bottle containers?
Any container or lid that is smaller than two gallons and which isn’t a bottle. Examples include tubs for yogurt/sour cream, smaller single serve yogurt containers, cups, to-go clamshells, small storage crates and small buckets. If the item is larger than two gallons, it’s considered a bulky rigid.
What types of bottles should I leave my cap on?
Bottles with caps on include a variety of container types beyond beverage bottles. Additional examples include laundry detergent and other cleaning products, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, as well as condiment, snack, food, and drink bottles.