One simple way you can fight global warming is just by making good choices about the types of plastics you buy. In general its best to avoid plastics if you can, but when you do buy them its wise to choose carefully, since recycled plastics take 70% less energy to make than make than new ones. Here’s how you can help:
When purchasing something with plastic packaging or parts, look for a printed or embossed number code on the plastic. The number tells you what type of plastic it is. Since some plastics are easier to recycle than others, we made a handy recycling card that you can use on your smartphone to help to decipher the numbers easily
- Use the color codes on the card to guide your in-store purchasing decisions. Green circles around the number mean it’s easy to recycle, orange circles mean not easy, red means it’s really hard – or impossible- to recycle.
Lastly, make sure to recycle your plastics when you are done with them
To help educate others in your household about good and bad plastics, you can print out the card and post it on your refrigerator. A smaller version of the card (below) can be printed out for use in your your wallet or purse.
The names of the plastics associated with each number are listed below:
“Good” Plastics (#1 PETE, 2 HDPE, 4 LDPE) are safe and easy to recycle
“Bad” Plastics (#7 PC, Polycarbonate) are not very easy to recycle
“Ugly” Plastics: (#3 PVC, #5 Polypropylene, #6 Polystyrene) are quite hard to recycle, or can leach chemicals.
The way things are going today, more plastic will be in the world’s oceans than fish in 2050, according to predictions from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. By choosing your plastics carefully, then reusing or recycling them, you’re making a small personal contribution to solving the worlds pollution problems.