Cracking the Recycling Code
Don't worry, you're not alone! This guide might just make life a little easier if you're left with no other option when it comes to purchasing plastic.
If you can't live without single-use plastic, #1s are the best way to go. “Easy to recycle” plastics are accepted by most curbside programs, while plastics that are “sometimes easy to recycle" means you should check with your local program to be sure.
#2 plastics are generally accepted by most municipal recycling programs. Always check with your service provider to verify which items they accept.
"Difficult to recycle" plastics either aren't recyclable period or need to be processed in a special facility.
Upcycling is always a great alternative to trashing plastics labeled 3, 4, 6 or 7.
#5s are hit-and-miss; some recycling programs take them, but not all.
#6s and #7 plastics require specialized infrastructure to break down - the harder they are to recycle, the less likely garbage items will stay out of landfills. This is a category of plastics to steer clear of whenever possible.
The good news is more and more companies are switching to plastic alternatives for their packaging. Look for the good guys - they're out there, and they need your support!
Remember that recycling is the LAST step when it comes to protecting the environment! Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle. And in that order, people!