What is Plastic?
Plastics are synthetic and semi-synthetic materials that use polymers as their main ingredient. The plastic comes from natural products, such as, crude oil, coal, salt and more. Petroleum industries are the main source of the raw materials to make the plastics.
Check out the video to better understand the process.
What Are The Different Numbers?
The number on the bottom of bottles and containers are there to determine what type of plastic the product is made from. Depending on how the plastic is made, some can be recycled at certain recycling centers, and some cannot.
#1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is used and recycled the most. It is the flimsy, easily crushed kind of plastic and it is used for soda bottles, water bottles, juice bottles, some food containers, and more.
#2 High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is also used and recycled the most. It is generally a thicker type of plastic and can be used for a variety of different things. Some examples of what it is used for are milk jugs, cleaning agent bottles, some piping, grocery bags, bubble wrap, some food containers, bottle caps and more.
#3 Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is not recycled due to toxins it produces when melted. It contains BPA, Lead, and other toxic substances. This type of plastic is generally used to make piping, some food containers, some cleaning agent bottles, siding, kids toys, and more.
#4 Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is a lot more flexible than HDPE. This type of plastic is mostly used for different types of bags, such as, dog food bags, bread bags, newspaper bags, grocery bags, Ziploc bags, toilet paper bags and more.
#5 Polypropylene (PP) is known for being used for food packaging. This type of plastic seems to be light weight while durable. This plastic is used to make yogurt containers, Tupperware, food containers, and some bottle caps.
#6 Polystyrene (PS) is not as commonly used as the other types of plastic for food packaging. It can come in a solid form or a foam-like form. Many people mistake Styrofoam to Polystyrene, but they are not exactly the same. This plastic makes CD cases, disposable plastic cups and plates, kids toys, food trays, and more.
#7 Other is generally made out of a mixture of different plastics. This particular plastic makes baby bottles, kids toys, glasses lenses, and some car parts.
Why We Only Take #2, #4, and #5 Plastic
#2, #4, and #5 are the most beneficial types of plastic for ECOP to use. It is the easiest to chop in the Granulator and works the best for our products by making them smooth and polished. ECOP also has a permit that allows a certain amount of plastic in the facility at once.
#1 (PET), #6 (PS), and #7 (other) are the least beneficial for the machines to process. When ECOP uses these particular types of plastics, the products come out rough, irregular, and uneven. With new machinery, small amounts of these plastics can be added with the ones that ECOP currently takes, and the products will come out smooth.
#3 (PVC) is not recyclable because it contains many toxic substances. Some are BPA and lead. When this particular type of plastic is melted, it is very toxic and can potentially cause harm to the body. ECOP does not take this due to the toxins released in the air when the plastic is melted.
How It Impacts The Environment
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The effects of plastic pollution in the state of Delaware and throughout the world are severe and have negative impacts on our environment.
The use of plastic bags, plastic water bottles, and plastic food containers in the United States is one of the biggest problems we face today. Not only do we ingest plastic particles from our food and water, on average, a single person in the U.S. produces about three pounds of trash each day totaling approximately 981,502,302 pounds of trash throughout the U.S.
Plastic is very beneficial for many things in our everyday life. Plastic is used for cars, housing, shopping, food, and more. Education about recycling and learning about the negative impact plastic has on the environment is something that we need to be more conscious of to eliminate excessive waste and reuse what we can.