Plastic Recycling by the Numbers


You know you need to recycle your plastics. Your intentions are good. And if you’re confused by the recycling symbols, you’re not alone. Did you know that it’s important to keep certain types of plastics together – and other kinds apart?

A raised number (1 -3,5,7) in a triangle on the bottom of most plastic containers tells you what type of plastic it is and if recycled properly what it can be turned into.


PETE Recycling Logo Polyethylene Terephthalate

Includes beverage bottles, frozen food boil-in-the-bag pouches and microwave food trays. PET makes up about 7% of the plastics stream.

Recycled to make carpet, furniture, new containers & fleece.

HDPE Recycling Logo High Density Polyethylene

Includes milk jugs, trash bags, detergent bottles, bleach bottles and aspirin bottles. HDPE makes up about 31% of plastics stream.

Recycled to make detergent bottles, fencing, floor tiles, pens, etc.

PVC recycling logo (PVC) Polyvinyl Chlorine

Includes cooking oil bottles and packaging around meat. PVC makes up about 5% of plastics stream.

Recycled to make cables, mud-flaps, paneling & roadway gutters.

PP recycling logo Polypropylene

Includes yogurt containers, shampoo bottles, straws, syrup bottles and margarine tubs. PP makes up about 9% of the plastics stream.

Recycled to make battery cables, brooms, ice scrapers and rakes.

Other 7 recycling logo Other

Includes all other plastic resins or mixes of those above in the same product. Includes 3-5 gallon water jugs, nylon and some food containers. These plastics make up about 4% of plastics stream.