What types of plastic is recyclable?

Types of plastics

Plastic is one of the materials we use most in our daily lives and one of those that produces the greatest amount of waste. Currently, its use is very diverse because of its versatility that allows us to manufacture clothing accessories, kitchen or personal hygiene items, furniture, home decoration elements, etc.

Generally, plastics are manufactured with resin polymers mixed with substances that come from petroleum and are molded by pressure and heat. Depending on how this molding is carried out, we can obtain different types of plastic which, in turn, have different physical and mechanical properties (greater or lesser flexibility, hardness, insulating capacity, etc.). Likewise, depending on their properties, you will know which plastics are recyclable or not.

Before knowing which plastics are recycled, you need to understand the plastic waste recycling process: although it is relatively simple. The path begins at the yellow garbage cans, from where the plastics are taken to sorting plants.

Reusable plastics number

Plastic is a material we live with on a daily basis, but we don’t know much about it. It is true that it facilitates the creation of packaging and makes it possible to reduce the price of products compared to other materials, but its environmental impact is immense and highly damaging.

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One of the great challenges in the scientific world today is to discover a material that offers the benefits of plastic, but does not cause as many problems as plastic. While this research is being done, let’s get to know it in depth: What is plastic? How many types exist? Which are the least polluting? In this way, we will try to reduce the environmental impact we generate with its consumption.

It is similar to HDPE. It is often used in bags of various types, such as garbage bags, dry cleaning bags, frozen food bags, and can also be found in some clothing and furniture. It is recycled into grocery bags.

This type of plastic is present in furniture, toys, automobiles, straws, caps or rigid packaging. It has very good qualities, because it resists heat and is a barrier against humidity. When recycled, one of its new uses will be the manufacture of battery boxes for cars.

Which plastic bottles can be reused

Not all plastic containers are the same. A bottle of water is not the same as a detergent container, or a plastic cup as a yogurt cup, nor is the bag you get at the supermarket checkout the same as the black, blue or yellow garbage bags that are sold in packs. Yes, everything is plastic. But it’s not the same plastic – remember that!

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Plastic includes a wide range of synthetic and semi-synthetic materials that are used in a huge variety of products. Look around you: it’s almost impossible not to find plastic. It’s a ubiquitous material that makes our lives easier. In some cases, it saves money. In others, less so, it is irreplaceable.

The manufacturing process involves two phases: polymerization and polycondensation. Chemically, plastics are therefore polymer chains, and each type has a different structure and therefore also different properties. In a very broad classification, there are two types of plastic: thermoplastics (their hardness can be altered if the temperature changes) and thermosets (once molded, they neither soften nor harden, but remain stable).

Types of plastic waste

This is why it is becoming increasingly essential to change consumption habits: to commit to a culture of more responsible recycling and to implement strategies, such as the circular economy, that favor and extend the life of products.

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Given the great misinformation that exists about this material, in this article we want to make you aware of the different types of plastics that exist and those that can be recycled. It is necessary to make the population aware of the importance of using recyclable plastic in order to correctly manage the waste generated by the misuse of this material.

Due to their composition they cannot be easily recycled, however, some products marked with an O can be reused, such as reusable polycarbonate water bottles.