Plastics are a broad category of containers. At our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), plastics are separated into several different categories based on the type of plastic and in one case, the color of the plastic.
#1 Plastics, or PET, are sent to become new plastic packaging. Typically, bales of plastic are sent to a company that grinds plastic bottles into flakes, washes them, and then produces plastic sheeting that is sold to the company that will make it into the new packaging. Ground PET is also sold to companies that manufacture clothing, carpeting, and fiber fill for sleeping bags and jackets.
Current companies include: Clear Path Recycling LLC, Harmon Associates Corp, and Tabb Packaging Solutions.
For more information about plastics recycling and educator resources, visit www.napcor.com
#2 Plastic bottles and jugs, or HDPE, become new food and beverage containers, drainage pipe, and lawn and patio furniture. Our MRF separates HDPE bottles and jugs into two categories: color (i.e. detergent bottles) and natural (i.e. milk jugs). Bottles are sent to facilities that grind the plastic into flakes which are washed and then sold to companies that use the flake to create new products. View a video of this process.
Current companies include Harmon Associates Corp and Tabb Packaging Solutions.
Bulky, rigid plastics like laundry baskets and five gallon buckets are another category of plastics. These larger items are some of the first things our sorters grab at the MRF so that they can be baled and shipped to companies that will process them in a way similar to how #1 and #2 plastics are flaked and sold.
Finally, the last plastic category is a mixed plastic bale made of #4 (LDPE) and #5 (PP) plastic jugs and tubs. These items, like many yogurt cups, butter tubs, and similar products are baled and shipped to companies that will process them in a way similar to how #1 and #2 plastics are flaked and sold.
These plastic items will then be turned into everything form automotive parts to new containers.
Some companies include: Entropex, Harmon Associates Corp, and QRS Recycling.
What about plastics with numbers 3, 6, and 7?
At this time there are not markets for these items. They are not recyclable in your curbside cart and should be thrown in the trash.