How Plastic Containers Are Recycled
The Town collects and recycles plastic resins #1 through # 5 and #7. At the MRF, each resin is hand sorted by its number. You can tell what type of plastic it is by looking at the resin code stamped on the bottom. #1 is Polyethylene Terephthalate, #2 is High Density Polyethylene, #3 is Polyvinyl Chloride, or Vinyl, #4 is Low Density Polyethylene, #5 is Polypropylene, #6 is Polystyrene (Styrofoam, which is excluded from curbside recycling collection) and #7 is "other". Only plastic with the special resin code should be put in your recycling bin. If there is no code on it, we can’t tell which resin it is. It will not get recycled.
The sorted plastic is also baled. The bales are taken to a plastic recycler where it gets color sorted, shredded, and washed. The clean pieces of plastic are melted and pushed through a screen, sort of like playdough. The soft plastic strings are cut into short pellets. These pellets are sold to manufacturing companies who use them to make new products like fiberfill for pillows, sleeping bags and winter coats, and for carpeting.
Fun Fact: Did you know that plastic is made from oil? When you recycle plastic you are saving oil. Polyester is a fabric that is used to make clothes. It is made from recycled soda bottles. (Resin code #2.) You could be wearing a jacket, sleep on a pillow, or walk on a carpet made from recycled soda bottles.