Plastic Recycling: A Wise Consumer

by Sochea Sar | Sep,24,2021

Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every single minute.

- UNEP, 2018

From household supplies to customer service, Plastic Consumption has been integral to our daily occurrence, and its proliferation in the last several decades has simply led humans to become unconsciously addicted when it comes to packaging choice.

For that reason, according to, we are producing about 380 million tonnes of plastic waste annually which currently outweighs the entire human population— 50% of that is for single-use purposes— utilized for a few moments and subsequently dumped in the landfill sites or oceans, and remaining thousands of years before decomposing; therefore, we necessitate plastic recycling

Speaking of recycling, is it possible to recycle all types of plastic?

Unfortunately, it is not. Not all types of plastic can be harmlessly reused or recycled; for instance;

Plastic bottle: some are widely reusable

Plastic bag: barely recyclable

Straw: not recyclable

Your morning coffee cups: An eco disaster.

Plastic recycling is an intricate process and its success is contingent upon everyone involved from the product-designer to the daily consumers but, they somehow find it extremely difficult and perplexing to identify the recyclable types of plastic.

This is precisely why the environmentalists came up with Resin Identification Codes at the bottom of a bottle to categorize plastic and recycling possibilities based on its chemical materials and we as wise consumers need to know about it. 

  • Number 1: PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) can be seen as water or beverage bottles, food jars and containers. It is infinitely recyclable, but overly reusing it can leach chemicals and promote bacterial growth.    
  • Number 2: HDPE (High-density Polyethylene) can be seen as a cosmetic or household product bottle thanks to its resistance to heat and cold with a low risk of leaching; easily and efficiently recycled. 
  • Number 3: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) can be seen as a clear food wrap, cooking oil bottles, or industrial products. Try to use it as seldom as possible- toxic when heated and impracticable recycling. 
  • Number 4: LDPE (Low-density Polyethylene) can be seen as plastic bags or dispensing bottles owing to its elasticity. It is relatively safe in a minimum reuse and recyclable at a specialist point.
  • Number 5: PP (Polypropylene) can be seen as “microwave-safe” containers. It is resistant to heat and recyclable, but not reusable due to high risk of confronting asthma and hormone disruption. 
  • Number 6: PS (Polystyrene) can be seen as coffee cups or egg cartons. It is an eco disaster- the most disposable and harmful plastic ever made. 
  • Number 7: O (Other) This category essentially means “everything else” and it can be seen as baby bottles, sports equipment, and considerably more. It is highly toxic when heated and non-recyclable. 

In a nutshell, regardless of how convenient, reusable, or recyclable each type of plastic can be, it does not indicate that we must consistently utilize it. The act of reusing and recycling does not alter the fact that our planet is severely drowning in plastic pollution and a staggering one million people have died every year due to microplastics within their organs. 

To tackle it, the initial step starts with a wise consumer who knows how to reuse, recycle, reduce, and replace plastic. 

go-to-top tech for kid