Knowing The Different Codes For Recycling

Knowing The Different Codes For Recycling

by Lenna Stockwell

In the United States, most products have a recycling code printed somewhere on the surface. This includes all types of packaging, including plastic packaging, cardboard packaging, glass and metal. Each of these codes identifies what materials were used to create the products and they are helpful to those who work at recycling facilities. Here is some information about the different codes and what they mean.

Whether they are a triangle created by three arrows and a number is placed inside the triangle the codes all look similar. What identifies the actual materials used though to make the item is the number that was written or embossed. For the plastics, the numbers that range 1 - 7 will refer to the resin identification codes that were used. So for example, polyethylene terephthalate, a triangle with the number 1 or 01 is used, which is a thermoplastic that is usually used for making products like soft drink bottles and water bottles. In addition to the seven numbers which are used, the number 9 also has been added (it's sometimes the letters ABS) and this is used identify a type of plastic often used to make cell phones and computers. This plastic is known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene.

Another item which shows up in big stacks at recycling facilities is paper. Among the numbers which are used to identify different types of paper products are 20, 21, 22 and 23. For the cardboard it is identified as by 20 and paper like magazines and mailed items are registered as 21. Number 22 signifies the regular paper like the notebook and printer paper. Number 23 is used for the paperboard which is thick paper that is used for making book covers, greeting cards and poster board.

Metals are identified using either the number 40 or 41. The number 40 is used for items made of steel while number 41 was used for aluminum. ALU is used sometimes if the number 41 is not used for aluminum. Since aluminum is something that can be used again and again to create products it is the most recyclable metal on the planet. Even "tin" cans use aluminum to make them because of its vast supply, resistance to corrosion and malleability.

There are some organic materials which can be recycled or biodegrade and these include wood, cork and cotton, which also have their own numbers for identification. Cotton is identified with a number 60, and many people are unaware that this material can be recycled. Wood has been given the number 50, although there are many types of wood. Cork has the number 51 and it is not just used for preserving wine. Cork can be used for several things like for making musical instruments and also for flooring.

Another item that is separated into many categories is glass and there are ten different categories for this material. Glass is generally classified into categories specified by their color like clear glass, green glass, dark glass and many more. Composites also have their own section which might include paper and plastic or even a mixture of the two. The problem is there are many cities out there that have no recycling centers for these items. There are some areas which could only recycle plastics which have a 1 or 2 on them and also aluminum.



Lenna Stockwell enjoys blogging about how stuff is made. For further details about <a href="http://indepak.com">custom plastic packaging</a> solutions or to find out more about <a href="http://indepak.com/markets">food packaging design</a>, please go to the Indepak website now.

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