Or even better, just remember to recycle all “bottles,” Ettafagh said, because the vast majority of bottles are recyclable and are made of plastic #1 or #2.
“You’d get more recoverable material by making the message simpler,’’ she said, because people would realize that their shampoo and cleaning supply bottles also are recyclable. (And you could quit squinting at the bottom of your ketchup bottle — because you’d know that it’s recyclable — and move on to cleaning your refrigerator.)
There’s even a website, called AllPlasticBottles, designed to promote this message. “Consumers want to recycle their plastics but the resin identification code can be confusing,” according to APB. “By asking for all plastic bottles, a program can recover higher volumes of PET (#1) and HDPE (#2). Since 95 percent of all plastic bottles produced are PET and HDPE, it is reasonable to assume that the more bottles you collect overall, the larger the percentage collected will be PET and HDPE.”
“We’ve got to stop teaching people chemistry, so we start with bottles first and then we go on to food containers,” Ettafagh added.
She’s referring to the next step in plastics recycling – which will be to tackle the # 3, #4, #5 plastics, which can be and are recycled, but to a lesser degree because consumers don’t use as much, there are fewer vendors and some technological hurdles to scaling up that process, she said.
Yes, it seems a shame that those multitudinous yogurt containers and Lean Cuisine trays are nothing but trash. But for now there’s not much of a post-consumer market for those other plastics, though some cities with more advanced recycling programs are adding those to what they collect and send for re-fabrication into floor tile and landscape lumber.