Plastics Identification Codes

Resin Identification Codes

Most of the plastics in use today are recyclable. When recycled, waste plastics can be made into useful new products and the process often consumes less energy than selecting new material.

Plastics are engineered for performance and are initially manufactured with specific characteristics for specific properties. The desired performance is achieved by creating individual polymers (resins) for each market application. Once a polymer is created, it has unique physical character differences like melt point (the temperature at which solid plastic becomes molten). These characteristics prevent different polymers from being successfully recycled when co-mingled or mixed together.

So, “plastic” may be difficult to recycle but individual “plastics” are highly recyclable.

Most plastics in use today are marked with “Resin Identification Codes”. These numbered symbols make it much easier for plastics collectors and recycle processors to keep the various resin types, or polymers, separate. This system allows recycle processors to control the quality and characteristics of their production. Recycled low density polyethelene (LDPE) can then come much closer to matching the performance of new LDPE when it’s re-manufactured into new product.

The system uses numbered symbols one through seven to aid identification.

In Alberta, we have outlets for all seven codes if the plastics are separated and relatively free of contamination.

Sometimes, plastics are manufactured without displaying any code or other information. If you have a large volume of a specific plastic and are not able to identify it by code, APRA may be able to help put you in contact with a recycler. Take a look at our Resources Page for contact information of processors or Contact Us directly!

Resin Identification Codes

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