When plastic is properly sorted and sent for recycling, it can end up as all sorts of unusual and innovative products. The type of plastic something is made from affects the way in which it will be recycled. All modern plastics should be labelled with an SPI number (1-7) so that you know how best to recycle them. This week we take a look at what different plastics can be made into once their useful first life is over.
SPI 1 - Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Used for: Most plastic drinks bottles
Recycled into: Plastic bottles can be turned into polyester and these fibres can be woven together to make durable carpets and warm winter clothes such as fleeces.
SPI 2 - High-density polyethylene (HDPE)
Used for: Bottles containing chemicals such as shampoo or bleach
Recycled into: Plastic crates and flower pots are among the useful things that can be made from recycled HDPE
SPI 3 - Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
Used for: Modern plastic window frames and plumbing pipes
Recycled into: PVC can be recycled and the reformed plastic has industrial uses. It is often used as a flooring material.
SPI 4 - Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)
Used for: There will be a lot less of this under your sink now that the government has slapped a 5p charge on plastic bags
Recycled into: This low density plastic that is used for wrapping sandwiches and carrying groceries can be recycled into a higher density product out of which garden furniture and rubbish bins can be formed.
SPI 5 - Polypropylene (PP)
Used for: Tupperware and bottle tops.
Recycled into: All sorts, including ice scrapers and even bike racks!
SPI 6 - Polystyrene (PS)
Used for: The squeakiest of plastics, polystyrene is mostly used in packaging
Recycled into: Polystyrene is one of the trickiest plastics to recycle as the process uses a lot of energy. One use for recycled PS is as insulation for walls and roofs.
SPI 7 - Everything else
Used for: Polycarbonate, which is used in roofing, and polylactide, used in 3D printing, are two common plastics that fall into this miscellaneous category.
Recycled into: Everything is a bit of a jumble in this category, but most can be effectively recycled into plastic lumber which has multiple industrial uses.
At Coda Plastics Ltd, we are dedicated recyclers of plastics. To us, plastic waste is a fantastic resource material. Not only do we recycle our own waste plastics, we seek out waste from other manufacturers and re-use it to make new products.
If you have a product design idea and want it implemented in plastic by an environmentally responsible company, please contact us on 01692 501020.