Resin identification codes

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An example of a resin identification symbol, for the common PETE plastic

Resin identification codes are symbols identifying the type of plastic an item is made of. They were created in 1988 by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc to make the recycling of plastics easier.[1]

The symbol consists of the triangular recycling symbol with a number and acronym in the middle. There are seven symbols, using the numbers one through seven.

The symbols are:

  • 1- PETE: Used primarily in bottles, for products such as water, juice, ketchup, and others
  • 2- HDPE: Used for milk containers, detergent bottles, etc.
  • 3- PVC: Best known for its use in PVC piping, and difficult to recycle
  • 4- LDPE: Used largely where flexibility is necessary- plastic containers, plastic shopping bags, etc.
  • 5- PP: Also used in containers, such as for yogurt and at deli counters
  • 6- PS: Used primarily in foam packaging and insulation. Styrofoam is made from it
  • 7- Other: This is not a specific plastic, but a mix of the above, or a different kind not included in the identification codes. "Other" plastics are used in some large juice containers and reusable containers, and in "plastic lumber."[2]