Packaging Industry Commentary - Recycling Codes
Sometimes, trying to work out what can be recycled and what can't be recycled is very confusing. That's why we've explained some of the most common recycling codes below.
Recycling is becoming more and more important as we tackle the world’s waste problem. Many people do not understand what can be recycled, and what cannot. Recycling facilities vary from country to country and even within different regions, and indeed technology is changing how plastics are sorted. It is really important then to give information to the consumer to empower them to answer the ever-present question, ‘How do I know if this is recyclable?’ Recycling is all about supply and demand; plastic bottle moulders require a steady, consistent, and clean supply of good-quality recycled product, ideally which has not travelled too far. Recycling facilities have to ensure they are profitable and have enough demand for their processed product, and consumers want to know that their bottles are genuinely having a benefit to the environment by using bottles made from PCR (Post-Consumer Recyclate). We’re going to talk you through each of the codes to help you understand the materials your packaging is made from!
1.Polypropylene (PP) – Its durability and high melting point make this an ideal material for products that require precision and strength, hence why it is the material of choice for many closures, such as our flip top closures. This material allows a single type of plastic to be used for a hinge that can withstand multiple opening and closing cycles successfully, whilst still sporting easy recyclability.
2. High-density Polyethylene (HDPE or PEHD) – HDPE enjoys widespread collection and recycling facilities, thus ensuring it is an economically-recyclable option. Studies have shown that HDPE can be recycled at least 10 times whilst still retaining its usefulness. HDPE benefits from good impact and heat resistance, so it is good for frequently-used products. It is the material some of our Foamer bottles are made from, as well as Cylindrical bottles to name a few.
3. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – Whist PVC has its uses, in packaging terms, this material has fallen out of favour considerably due to its non-recyclability and the chemicals needed to process it. It is not routinely collected at kerbside level either.
4. Low-density Polyethylene (LDPE or PE-LD) – This material is of the same Polyethylene family as HDPE, but with a different molecular structure. It is commonly used in plastic bags due to its strength and flexibility, however it is also used as a wadding for closures and in some ‘squeezy’ packs.
5. Polypropylene (PP) – Its durability and high melting point make this an ideal material for products that require precision and strength, hence why it is the material of choice for many closures, such as our flip top closures. This material allows a single type of plastic to be used for a hinge that can withstand multiple opening and closing cycles successfully, whilst still sporting easy recyclability.
6. Polystyrene (PS) – Most commonly known as its expanded form as the original ‘poly chips’. It can however be made into a clear, glass-like product. Evidenced by our measuring spoons and scoops, where the rigidity and clarity afforded by PS is beneficial for dosing.
7. Other – This classification is for plastics that do not have a distinct category or those which consist of multiple materials. It includes the recent addition of corn-starch plastic (PLA) which interestingly is not currently recyclable, and other types of plastic, most of which are not used in enough volume to commercially recycle them. It also includes SAN and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS): Products made from these materials have a high impact resistance and durability, as well as glass-like clarity making it useful for our VTX airless bottles.
If you have any further questions please get in touch!