Friday, June 4, 2010
Your definitive guide to plastics: which can be recycled and which should be reused or made into something artsy fartsy for your empty walls, duh.
I learned something new the other day. From who you may ask? My somewhat tipsy roommate, in a rant about recycling, to her adorably hipster 2 best friends, as they were having Taco Tuesday at my apartment (more like Boozy Tuesday with a side of Tacos that is).
She was talking about how bad she felt, always drinking so much wine and beer from bottles, and having to recycle all of them, i.e. she was just using too much glass. See why I live with her? LOVE THAT.
Moving on, after her friends responded, 'At least you aren't using a ton of plastic," she replied, "Yes, I know. But did you guys know that not even all plastics are recyclable?" This is when I took off my headphones (I was in my room, writing music reviews) and started to really listen.
She went into a whole conversation about the different variety of plastics and the numerical system that governs the type and whether or not a recycling facility would accept one versus the other. Apparently, she had learned all about it at a past job (she is a stylist).
So, the next day at work, I myself decided to research the matter more.
Here, I present to you my findings, as to ensure that you, my dear friends, are actually bothering to recycle what can and should be recycled, and alternatively, using what can't be for other purposes (I'll go into some ideas about those at the end of this post).
So, it is legally regulated that plastics must be marked and coded as to what type they are. Where can you find this awkward little marking? Generally on the bottom of the item, and most of the time, it's safe to assume that it is difficult to see and read (another fun reason why recycling can be a bother).
They look like this:
Here's a great description as to what each number signifies:
Moving on, I'll get to the point of this. Mainly, plastics 1,2, 3, and some 4 are appropriate for placing in your recycling bin. Only some super fabulous recycling facilities will take 5, and most will not accept 5, 6 and 7.
Our favorite red solo cups are 5, i.e. mostly NOT RECYCLABLE. Think about how many of those are lying around in dumps and in the ground, stinking of beer and fraternity parties and roofies weee!!!
Yogurt cups are also a 5, i.e. not recyclable (it's the nature of the container, i.e. the open top). How sad is it that a food that can be so healthful is held in containers so bad for the environment?
But what can you do about these non-environmental plastics? Check out Terra Cycle, a company that upcycles non-recyclable goods and makes them into a reusable product. They and their creator, Tom Szaky, are pretty. freaking. awesome. They started off their business making worm poop into fertilizer. Princeton dropouts. Canadian stoners. Typical environmental entrepreneur. Hopefully I'll follow in their footsteps one day (even though I finished university and am not from Canada).
Anywho, now you are more informed, thanks to me, and my lovely, tipsy, environmentally conscious roommate.
Have a fabulous weekend!
Posted by erica at 4:50 PM