Dear Recycle Lady,
What is the difference between water bottles, cloudy water jugs, and white milk jugs? Why are they recycled differently?
Is it Clear or White
Dear Is it Clear or White,
There are two kinds of plastic bottles and jugs: #1 plastics (PET) and #2 plastics (HDPE). Water and soda bottles (bottles that are very clear) are the most common #1 plastics.They all recycle in the #1 plastics bin. Products made from recycled #1 plastics include more water and soda bottles, sweaters, carpets, soaps, shoes, and medical supplies. There are two kinds of #2 plastics: #2 no color (slightly cloudy) plastics and #2 colored plastics.The two kinds of milk jugs (cloudy and white) must be recycled in the two different bins: #2 no color plastics for the cloudy ones and #2 colored plastics for the white ones. Because of chemicals in the #2 HDPE plastics, white milk jugs can’t be used again for food-grade items, but they can be used to make products such as shampoo bottles, hard hats, ropes, kids’ toys, and outdoor furniture. See photos for examples of #1 and #2 plastics. Of course, there are many other colors of bottles and jugs that go in the #2 colored plastics bin, but that is another column.
Dear Recycle Lady,
I heard that plastic film without a recycle symbol on it should be thrown out. What about dry-cleaning bags and newspaper sleeves? They don’t have a recycle symbol on them, yet both Kroger’s and Walmart’s recycle bins take these bags for recycling.
Good catch. Dry-cleaning bags and newspaper sleeves are both recyclable. They are made of a thin, clear plastic known as plastic film or low-density polyethylene (LDPE); a petroleum-based product that is not bio-degradable and never decomposes. Newspaper sleeves, trash bags, poly mailers, zip-top bags, and grocery bags are all made of the same LDPE plastic and are also recyclable at Kroger, Walmart, and Lowes. Additional LDPE products includes plastic wraps around products such as paper plates, napkins, bathroom tissue, diapers and more. Products made from these recyclable plastic films include juice boxes, plastic baggies, and wire insulation. According to recyclenation, Green Garmento now makes reusable bags for dry cleaners to share with their customers. Let’s hope cleaners begin using these new bags as more than 300 million pounds of dry-cleaning bags are sent to U.S. landfills every year.
Good News: Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon fell 66.11% in August. The lowest level for the month since 2018! This is a big success for its environmental policy, as destruction often spikes that time of year. Let’s hope this continues! (fto.com)
Have questions about recycling, or interesting information about recycling? Send questions or requests to email@example.com. Dear Recycle Lady is sponsored jointly by the Greenbrier Recycling Center and Greenworks Recycling.