Recycling plastic by the numbers

2 years ago in my new year 2020 resolutions, I mentioned this one… Be even more aware of the environment and what I can do to help

A friend asked what did I actually do?

One of the things I did do was get the bottom of my own recycling system. The biggest mystery was always plastic. I did know the number didn’t mean how many times its been recycled but wasn’t sure what it actually meant for my own recycling. So I did some research

Plastic recycling

From my research, in Manchester plastic types 1 (PET)  & 2 (HDPE) are easily recycled. Everything else is a pain in the ass and can’t be taken from the usual council recycling pickup. I know type 4 (LDPE) and 5 (PP) can be recycled but its got to be taken to a specialist place.

I find myself now inspecting the plastic before buying it now which is a good thing. For example I didn’t know my grapes container is type 1 (PET) can be recycled but my Greek yogurt type 4 (PP) can not. Weirdly enough others like Yeo Valley use type 2 (HDPE). So guess which one I changed to a while ago.

However I got to mention the specialist recycling like Terracycle. I bought this Carex 1L refill pack, which is better than buying more plastic pumps (yes its not as good as soap but its not a bad solution). The Carex comes in a plastic bag which fills 4x pumps. But the bag can only be recycled at Terracycle centres. The nearest one for me is just under 20mins away by motorbike. Of course I’m saving them up so next time I head that way, I can recycle them all and anything else all at the same time.

I ordered my first take away in a long time, yesterday and it came in type 6 (PS) containers. Of course I can reuse them again and again but I was surprised.

Doing research into plastic recycling, really has been an eye opener.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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