Plastics are a disposal nightmare for two reasons: a) plastics don’t decompose in any sort of reasonable amount of time, and b) the sheer number of products and items now made of plastic is totally overwhelming our landfills. That’s why plastic recycling programs are so important and necessary. Unfortunately, not all plastics can be easily recycled with our current technology, but that just makes it all the more important to recycle whatever plastic we can.

Did you know that in the United States, we throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles in an hour? And that doesn’t even take into account the plastic trash bags, grocery bags, and product packaging that we throw away every day. Recycling plastic is probably one of the best things we can do to help improve the environment. Recycling plastic will lessen the significant amount of fossil fuels needed to produce new plastics, which is important not only for fuel conservation but also for preserving the ozone layer.

Recycling plastic is easy with the many state and local programs currently underway. Plastic recycling programs usually incorporate the use of recycling bins so that you can sort your recyclables according to the suggestions of your local program. For plastic recycling, this might include separating your plastics according to the type number that can be found on many plastic articles inside a triangle. Type 1 and Type 2 plastics include some plastic bags, milk bottles, soft drink bottles, juice bottles and water bottles, all of which are easily recyclable.

Type 3 plastics include plastic wrap and vegetable oil bottles, Type 5 plastics include yogurt containers, syrup bottles and most plastic bottle tops, and Type 7 is mixed or layered plastic. These three types of plastics are in the early stages of plastic recycling and some community recycling programs may not be able to recycle these plastics. Check with your local program.