Plastic Number Recycling

Recycling of plastics is one method for reducing environmental impact and resource depletion. Plastics can be transformed into a variety of products that can be used in many different ways.

However, a major challenge for producing recycled resins from plastic waste is that many plastic types are not compatible with each other, this is due to the variations in their chemical compositions.

The chart below identifies the different types of plastic resins and their possible uses. Placing only acceptable materials in your recycling cart is the first step to ensuring the County receives the best possible prices for its commodities.

Resin one to four"1" signifies that the product is made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (beverage bottles, cups, other packaging, etc.)

Resin 5 to 7

"5" signifies polypropylene (PP) (auto parts, industrial fibres, food containers, etc.)

"2" signifies high-density polyethylene (PE-HD) (bottles, cups, milk jugs, etc.)

"6" signifies polystyrene (PS) (plastic utensils, Styrofoam, cafeteria trays, etc.)

"3" signifies polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (pipes, siding, flooring, etc.)

"7" signifies other plastics, such as acrylic, nylon, polycarbonate and polylactic acid (PLA).
"4" signifies low-density polyethylene (PE-LD) (plastic bags, six-pack rings, tubing, etc.)

Please help us "Recycle Right", especially when it comes to our plastic waste:

  • Remember to rinse all food and beverage containers. Caps may be placed back on bottles.
  • Place plastic containers with resin identification numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 (loose) into your recycling cart/bin. Numbers 4 and 6 are NOT accepted.
    • Number 4 - Plastic bags are NOT accepted in curbside recycling and yard trim/food scrap collections. However, clean and dry plastic bags and plastic film are accepted at various retailers throughout the County. Search where you can drop-off accepted items at 
    • Number 6 - Foam food products and foam packaging, including peanuts, are NOT accepted in curbside recycling. Check with your local municipality to see if they offer foam recycling opportunities. The EPS Industry Alliance offers drop-off of block foam and coolers (only), located in Crofton, MD. 
    • Check with your local UPS or shipping retailer to recycle foam packing peanuts and bubble wrap mailers. 
    • Learn how to recycle your Amazon packaging here
  • Save money and the environment by using reusable water bottles (Did you know? Plastic bottles are 3rd on the top 10 list of items found during international coastal cleanups).

Click here for more information about plastic resin codes.

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