(Chelsea Update would like to thank Frank Hammer for the information and the photos in this column.)
If you have been reading this column each week from Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority, you know that Styrofoam and Polystyrene are trash, not recyclable materials.
And you may recall that for Polystyrene, which is really non-foamy Styrofoam, you check the bottom. If there is no embossed triangle present or a triangle with the number 6, then it needs to go to the trash.
But what about the other plastics — can you recycle any of them?
How do you know what can be recycled, and what needs to be sent to the trash? The number is the key. Look on the bottom of the item, and if there is a 1 or a 2 inside a triangle, it is really useful for recycling.
Over 50,000 tons of number 1 plastics are recycled every year in this country, mostly water and drink bottles, as well as plastic containers of all sorts. The market for number 2, which usually is used for things like milk and juice bottles and various cleaning supplies, is an equally strong market. Number 2 plastics can be semi-clear or brightly colored and both are recyclable.
Over the years, other plastics have come in and out of favor with the manufacturers who purchase recycled materials. But at this time, it’s No. 1 and No. 2 plastics that are sold my WWRA and the good news is more and more manufacturers are switching from the non-recyclable to the recyclable plastics. For example, here is a blister-pac product, which used to be made of “bad” Polystyrene, and is now made of number 1 plastic.
So, always check the number inside the triangle on any plastic product. Those numbers range from 1 through 8 but unless it has a 1 or 2, send it to the trash. Here’s a little jingle to help you remember: “1 and 2 can live anew, but 3 through 8 just don’t rate.”
So please, take an extra 30 seconds and check the number in the triangle before placing any plastic in recycling bin. Be a conscientious consumer. And as a reminder, here’s what we told you to remember last week.
Reggie Raccoons Royal Recycling Review:
• Recycling puts materials back into use; trash is for things that cannot be used again.
• Flexible plastic of all kinds go in the trash, not in the recycling bins.
• Remember there are some alternative uses for plastic bags on their way to the trash.
• Styrofoam and Polystyrene are good for packaging, but have to go to the trash.
• Plastics 1 and 2 can live anew, but 3 to 8 just don’t rate.