Foam Equipment's Blog

What Do Recycling Symbols on Plastics Mean? (Part 2)

Posted by Doug Malawey

Mar 22, 2010 12:39:00 PM

Number 4 Plastics

recycling symbolLDPE (low density polyethylene)

Found in: Squeezable bottles; plastic soft drink, water, sports drink, beer, mouthwash, catsup and salad dressing bottles; plastic peanut butter, pickle, jelly and jam jars; oven able film and oven able prepared food trays, bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet.  Also used in film applications due to its toughness, flexibility and relative transparency, making it popular for use in applications where heat sealing is necessary, like bread bags, dry cleaning, or frozen food bags.
Recycling: LDPE is a flexible plastic with many applications. Historically it has not been accepted through most American curbside recycling programs, but more and more communities are starting to accept it.  Plastic shopping bags can be returned to many stores for recycling.
Recycled into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber, landscaping ties, floor tile

LDPE can also be foamed or expanded.  In this case it can look like EPS, (expandable polystyrene) or "Styrofoam" packaging.  This is why when recycling, it's important to recognize the recycling symbol to know which plastic material you have.  In the world of plastics recycling, mixing these materials can be considered contamination to a recycler.

Additional numbers coming soon.  Reprinted in part with permission, this information is ©1986-2010 by IDES.

Topics: Recycling codes, types of plastic, recycle numbers

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