What Are Some Kinds of Non-Recyclable Plastics?

Non-recyclable plastics include most polyolefins such as polystyrene and polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, most polypropylene and miscellaneous plastics such as bisphenol-A. Numbers three through seven stamped products can identify these plastics, although some communities now accept some number four polyethylene and number five polypropylene plastics for recycling.

Some examples of non-recyclable plastics are plastic bags, bubble wrap, styrofoam, clear plastic wrap and the plastic used to line cereal boxes, individual cheese slices, potato chip bags and candy wrappers. The plastic rings that hold six-packs of beer or soda bottles and cans are also not recyclable.

In some cases, the plastics do not produce enough reusable material to make recycling economically viable, or there is no market for a particular type of plastic. Some plastics do not mix with others, and the components separate, similar to oil and water. Other types of plastics are made with polymerization techniques that bind dyes and other chemicals to the actual molecules, making removal of contaminants impossible or extremely costly.