Some examples of recyclable plastics include peanut butter jars, toys, milk bottles, plumbing material, food bags, medicine bottles, plastic cling wraps, stadium cups and syrup containers. Others include detergent bottles, margarine containers, garment bags and plastic bottle caps.
Recyclable plastic products are classified into seven types based on their chemical composition. Each category corresponds to a number, which is part of a coding system initiated in 1988 by the Society of the Plastics Industry. Plastics imprinted with an SPI code of "1" contain polyethylene terephthalate. These are some of the most frequently recycled plastic items, which include bean bags, beverage bottles, rope and combs.
Plastics marked with an SPI code of "2" are manufactured using high-density polyethylene. Common examples include containers for conditioners, shampoos, bleach, soap and motor oil. Plastics with the SPI code "3" are found in products containing polyvinyl chloride. These include tiles and plumbing pipes.
Plastics labeled with the SPI code "4," which are made of low-density polyethylene, are typically used for food storage. These products include squeezable containers, sandwich bags and grocery bags. An SPI code of "5" indicates items produced using polypropylene. These are found in Tupperware, plastic diapers and yogurt packages.
Polystyrene is the main component of plastics stamped with the SPI code "6." These products, including disposable utensils, coffee cups and packing foam, are recyclable, although not as effectively as other plastics. All other recyclable plastics not classified under the first six categories are marked with an SPI code of "7." These products include items containing polycarbonate and polylactide, such as multiple-gallon water containers, baby bottles and compact discs.