This is not a recycling code. And why does that matter?

I bet you thought it was!

How many times have you looked at some piece of plastic and not known whether you can recycle it or not? If it has a code like the one above then it’s recyclable – right? Is the cap supposed to be thrown away? What about a blister pack, that is plastic and paper, is that recyclable? Even people who work in the recycling industry are confused at times! We all know there are codes on plastics but did you know those codes were never meant to be recycling codes? Those codes are simply resin codes, identifying the type of polymer the plastic was made from. They actually do not tell a consumer if the item can be recycled.

There is a trend to standardize recycling information on packaging so you won’t have to wonder: the package will tell you if your item can be recycled, where it can be recycled and how to prepare for recycling. How2Recycle’s mission is to get more materials in the recycling bin by taking the guesswork out. Started as a project of the Sustainable Packaging CoalitionHow2Recycle recommended icons are now being adopted by multi-national brands like P&G, General Mills, Target and Walmart.

Determining if your waste can be recycled in your community should be easy and How2Recycle supports that mission. Take some time to learn about recycling in your area. First review the information at How2Recycle and GreenBlue.org, then check with your local community what can be recycled and where, and finally let brands know your appreciation for adding How2Recycle information to their labels and packaging. And reduce, reuse, recycle!

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