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Top 10 Facts About Recycling Different Types of Plastic!

There's lots of different plastics to look out for...

Hi, I’m Monty!  I come from a planet where we don’t recycle plastics.

You should see the mess! 

So I’m learning from the experts here on Earth on what I should be doing. 

Come on, you can help me find out more.

We all know how important it is to recycle our plastics – but did you know that not all plastics are the same? 

It’s important to know which you can put in your home recycling – and which have to go to special recycling points or into the general waste bin.

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Plastic is versatile and allows us to make lots of different stuff such as toys, play stations, clothing and packaging to help our food last longer. 

Plastic is all around us and it can be made into a variety of different shapes and colours.  


Some plastics are easier to recycle than others and different types may have to be recycled in different ways. 

Not all can go in our recycling bins at home. 

Some plastics such as garden furniture, cannot be recycled at home and need to be taken to local Household Waste Recycling Centres run by local councils.  

Other plastics such as plastic bags can be taken to supermarkets to recycle.  

Plastic drinks bottles, pots and trays can usually be recycled at home.  

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Most products will have symbols on their packaging to tell you what type of plastic they are made of.

To find out what type of plastic your packaging is made from look out for a triangle of arrows containing a NUMBER and some LETTERS inside. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the most common ones.

Find a location to recycle here.

4. CODE 1 – PET or PETE

Polyethylene Terephthalate is a lightweight plastic which can resist moisture. 

It’s therefore a popular choice for soft drink bottles and food containers. 

It can be recycled at home so get recycling those bottles!

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5. CODE 2 – HDPE

High-Density Polyethylene is a strong and rigid plastic that’s great for milk, detergent and shampoo bottles. 

It can go into your home recycling bin – just don’t forget to rinse the bottles out and screw the cap back on so they don’t get left behind.

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Find out more at Pledge 2 Recycle!

6. CODE 3 – PVC

Polyvinyl Chloride is a very rigid and durable plastic that’s resistant to chemicals. 

You’ll find PVC in many things around your house – like window frames, pipes and flooring. 

PVC can’t be recycled at home but you are unlikely to find any packaging made from it!

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7. CODE 4 – LDPE

Low-Density Polyethylene is a handy lightweight plastic that’s used for things like bread bags. 

It can’t be recycled at home, but you can take it to the supermarket collection points for bags and wrappings.

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8. CODE 5 – PP

Polypropylene is a rigid, lightweight plastic that’s heat resistant. 

It’s used for things like margarine and ice cream tubs. 

The good news is it can be recycled at home.

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9. CODE 6 – PS

Polystyrene can be a hard or foam material that’s often used for packing parcels, as well as for fast food containers and insulation.  

Whilst it’s great for those things, it can’t go into your home recycling so pop it in the general waste bin!

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When you can recycle your plastics, make sure you recycle them clean and dry. 

If your plastic has previously contained food, make sure there is none left inside the pack before recycling.  

When you recycle plastic drinks bottles, sauce bottles or plastic pots, or anything with a solid plastic lid, make sure the caps and lids are back on – otherwise they might get lost in the recycling process, and no one likes being left out!

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Out of this world! 

Why don’t you have a look around your house and check that your family is on the right road for recycling. You can find out more at Pledge 2 Recycle.

Learn more top tips by clicking here!

Made with support from RECOUP.

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Top 10 Facts

From the Tudors to rocks to fish, we have all the best facts right here!

More From Top 10 Facts