The 7 Main Types of Plastic and How to Recycle Them
Plastic is a big part of the restaurant industry. With takeout and delivery being a major way people enjoy local restaurants, it can be incredibly difficult to find easily disposable items that are also cost-effective. We have many options for plastic alternatives but, for those times when you need to use plastic, here's how you can safely recycle it.
Polyethylene Terephthalate is one of the most commonly used plastics. It's sturdy and easy to use. Most plastic soda bottles and clear plastic cups are made from PET because it's a great way to make things air-tight.
To recycle it, simply clean it and throw it in your recycling bin. This is by far the easiest plastic to recycle.
High-Density Polyethylene is the plastic used for milk jugs and shampoo bottles. It's corrosion-resistant and easily moldable and meltable. HDPE is well-known for its high strength with low density.
To recycle it, clean it and throw it in your regular recycling bin. Where applicable, some grocery stores will also recycle HDPE plastic for you.
Polyvinyl Chloride isn't used much in the foodservice industry. It's mainly for pipes, detergent bottles, and toys. Because it can't be recycled, most environmentalists avoid any use of PVC plastic, especially for single-use applications.
PVC is not recyclable.
Low-Density Polyethylene is commonly used for grocery bags. It's very thin and flexible, making it the perfect candidate for many types of bags and wrapping. It's also used for wire and cable covering.
To recycle it, contact your local waste management facility to see if they will recycle it. If they do, you can just leave it with your normal recycling. If not, most grocery stores will recycle it for you.
Polypropylene is used for many warm food containers and reusable plastic goods. Its strength is similar to that of LDPE and HDPE. Because it's heat resistant, it doesn't recycle well.
PP is not recyclable.
Polystyrene is also known as styrofoam. This is commonly used as packing material, disposable drink cups, and disposable coolers. Most environmentalists avoid PS because of its low recycling rate.
PS is not recyclable.
Polylactic Acid is plastic made from cornstarch. It's biodegradable and compostable while still being the same density and strength as PET. Because it's biodegradable, PLA isn't recyclable. We have great PLA Spoons that are perfect for your restaurant.
PLA is not recyclable.
It can be confusing to shop for your restaurant. Going plastic-free may not be an option. If you do need to use plastic, your most eco-friendly options are PET (the most easily recyclable), HDPE, LDPE (as long as you have a grocery store that will recycle these), and PLA (add it to your compost pile).
If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to write a comment below. We love hearing from you!
(Source: Waste 4 Change)