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Resin identification code
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Resin identification code

The code below is called the SPI resin identification coding system, developed by the American Society of the Plastics Industry in 1988.

Most plastics can be recycled, but because of the difficulty and expense of sorting, collecting, cleaning and reprocessing it is only at the moment economically viable to recycle PETE, PVC and HDPE.

Thermoplastics can be remelted, but thermosetting plastics can only be crushed and used as insulation.

As you can not mix plastics together they have to be separated into their different polymer types.

The symbols used in the code consist of arrows that cycle clockwise to form a rounded triangle and enclosing a number, often with an acronym representing the plastic below the triangle.

Recycling No. Abbreviation Polymer Name Uses
(1) PETE or PET Polyethylene Terephthalate Recycled to produce soft drink bottles, deli and bakery trays, carpets, and fiberfill.
(2) HDPE High-Density Polyethylene Recycled to become bottles for laundry products, recycling bins, agricultural pipe, soft drink bottle, base cups, car stop, playground equipment, and plastic lumber.
(3) PVC or V Polyvinyl Chloride Recycled vinyl becomes pipe, fencing and non-food bottles.
(4) LDPE Low-Density Polyethylene Recycled to manufacture new grocery bags and films.
(5) PP Polypropylene Recycled into auto parts, carpets, geo-textiles and industrial fibers.
(6) PS Polystyrene Recycled into a wide range of products including office accessories, cafeteria
 trays, toys, video cassettes and cases, and insulation board.
(7) OTHER Other plastics, including acrylic and nylon.  

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