Recycling Plastics Better

Learning what’s recyclable in plastics can be challenging. What’s the difference between grades such as HDPE, LDPE, PET and 3-7? That’s why we’ve created a guide to Common Plastic Grades with illustrations and detailed descriptions. And you may want to refer to these definitions to help you understand in what form you may find these plastics.

  • Rigid Plastic Container: A plastic container which maintains its shape when empty and unsupported.
  • Plastic Bottle: A plastic container that commonly holds liquids. Designed with a neck smaller than the body of the container.
  • Plastic Film: A thin sheet that is flexible. It does not maintain its shape when unsupported.
  • Recycled Plastic: Plastics made up of post consumer, recovered plastic, or a combination of the two.
  • Recovered Plastic: Material recovered from the solid waste stream.
  • Post Consumer: Plastics no longer usable by consumers or businesses that have intentionally been separated from the solid waste stream for the purpose of recycling.

#2 HDPE Natural 402
Resin Identification #2

HDPE baled bottles are a mix of water, juice, and milk bottles that are compressed into high density bales. This grade will contain a trace amount of residual product, such as water, milk or juice. It will also contain Low density polyethylene materials such as caps and labels.

Acceptable Materials

  • All #2 Natural HDPE narrow neck bottles including
  • Water
  • Juice
  • Milk

Prohibited Materials

  • Cooking oil containers
  • Pre-fillled bottles from dairy production
  • Wide mouth containers
  • All non-#2 Natural resin types
#2 HDPE Natural 402

#2 HDPE Color 403
Resin Identification #2

This grade is exclusively comprised of colored narrow neck high density polyethylene (HDPE) bottles. This grade will contain some trace residual product.

Acceptable Materials

  • All #2 Natural HDPE narrow neck bottles including
  • Detergents
  • Cleaners
  • Juice
  • Oil bottles

Prohibited Materials

  • All non-#2 mixed colored HDPE narrow neck bottles
  • Wide mouth containers
  • All non-#2 Natural resin types
#2 HDPE Color 403

HDPE Injection Crates  437
Resin Identification #2 & #5

Injection crates are from post industrial sources. These crates have been decommissioned due to age and condition.

Warnings:
This material is often stolen from beverage  manufacturers and distributors. If the originating source is not available, we must have the seller generate an affidavit indicating that they are the owner and that the material can be destroyed for recycling purposes.

Field Test Identification Characteristics

Continues to burn upon removal of flame source
Material
HDPE
Odor
Parafin, wax
Color of Flame
Blue, yellow tip
Drips
Yes
Remarks
Also, floats in water
HDPE Injection Crates  437

Grade B Film 449
Resin Identification #4

Material is clear in color. It can have translucent color film and a small amount of labels. Bales must be stored indoors to prevent moisture and UV damage. Store bales away from high dust areas or tarp bales to prevent contamination from paper dust.

Laminated (food bag) films are prohibited.
Grade B Film

Grade C Film 450
Resin Identification #4

Material is predominantly clear LDPE Film. It will have a higher composition of both light print, translucent color in addition to labels.

Bales must be stored indoors to prevent moisture and UV damage. Store bales away from high dust areas or tarp bales to prevent contamination from paper dust.

Laminated (food bag) films are prohibited.
Grade C Film 450

Grade D Film 451
Resin Identification #4, 2

Grade “D” is a combination of LDPE, HDPE, and with heavy color concentration. It can have a high ratio of light print, heavy print and labels.

Bales must be stored indoors to prevent moisture and UV damage. Store bales away from high dust areas or tarp bales to prevent contamination from paper dust.

Laminated (food bag) films are prohibited.
Grade D Film 450

LDPE Tubes 454
No Foil, Resin Identification #4

LDPE tubes are pre-filled packaging that often includes the cap. It is usually heavily printed and opaque in color.

Sources:
Packaging and product manufacturers. Many times this material is obsolete packaging or line breakage.

Warnings:
Only new and unused tubes are acceptable.
Foil gaskets on cap and tube are prohibited.
Bales must be stored indoors to prevent moisture and UV damage. Store away from high paper dust areas or tarp bales to prevent contamination from paper dust.

Field Test Identification Characteristics

Continues to burn upon removal of flame source
Material
HDPE
Odor
Parafin, wax
Color of Flame
Blue, yellow tip
Drips
Yes
Remarks
Also floats in water
LDPE Tubes

Five Gallon Water Bottles 408

DVD w/ Metal and Acrylic 459

CRV #7 Other Bottles 486
Resin Identification #7

This grade is exclusively comprised of #7 bottles. While the grade is called #7 CRV , there can also be non CRV  bottles present.

This plastic is generally a  co-polymer (more than one resin type) with the majority resin type being polypropylene.

Acceptable Materials

  • All #7 bottle material

Prohibited Materials

  • All non-#7 bottle material
CRV Other Bottles

Super Sacks 462
Resin Identification #5

The PP super sacks are clean and dry and free of residual product.

Sources:
Manufactures that extrude parts from virgin resin. Food manufactures that purchase ingredients in bulk.

Warnings:
Extremely important to insure that all residual product is emptied at generation point.

Acceptable Materials

  • LDPE Liner
  • OCC Header

Prohibited Materials

  • Residual product
  • Any other resin type beside PP
Super Sacks

Strapping 464
Resin Identification #5

Polypropylene strapping consists of discarded banding that was used to reinforce shipping packages. This material will come in different colors.

Field Test Procedure:
It is often difficult to tell the difference between PP and PET strapping. In order to determine resin type, cut into small pieces and place in cup of water. PET will sink and PP will float.
Strapping 464

Diaper Cuts 472
Resin Identification #5, 4

Polypropylene diaper cuts are the trim waste generated from diaper production. It is typically laminated sheet made up of LDPE and PP material. It should be clean and dry. Mixed colors are acceptable.

Warnings:
This material cannot contain any SAP (super absorbent polymer).

Acceptable Materials

  • Clear LDPE film
  • OCC Header

Prohibited Materials

  • Moisture
  • Absorbent
  • Resin types other than LDPE and PP
PP Diaper Cuts 472

Bottles CRV 401
Resin Identification #5

PET baled bottles are a mixture of water and soda bottles that are compressed into high density bales. This grade will contain a trace amount of residual product such as water and or soda. It will also contain polyolefin’ s such as the label and cap materials.

Acceptable Materials

  • All narrow neck PET beverage bottles with caps.
  • Custom bottles such as catsup,  salad dressing and household cleaners are acceptable.

Prohibited Materials

  • PVC
  • Metal
  • Extensive residual product (liquids)
  • Extensive residual product (liquids) Any type of film
  • Dirt Rocks

Field Test Identification Characteristics

Continues to burn upon removal of flame source
Material
PET
Odor
Non-Descript
Color of Flame
Yellow, blue edges
Drips
No
Remarks
Sinks in water
Bottles CRV 401

Bottles Baled "B" Grade 421
Resin Identification #1

PET Baled Bottles "B" grade is typically from out-of-state MRF sources. It typically has higher color ratio, with more custom bottles (salad dressing, ketchup, etc.) and is not as clean.

Acceptable Materials

  • All narrow neck PET beverage bottles with caps.
  • Custom bottles such as catsup,  salad dressing and household cleaners are acceptable.

Prohibited Materials

  • PVC
  • Metal
  • Extensive residual product (liquids)
  • Extensive residual product (liquids) Any type of film
  • Dirt Rocks

Field Test Identification Characteristics

Continues to burn upon removal of flame source
Material
PET
Odor
Non-Descript
Color of Flame
Yellow, blue edges
Drips
No
Remarks
Sinks in water
Bottles Baled B Grade

Strapping 415
Resin Identification #1

This grade is  comprised of PET  strapping.  Color may be translucent green, opaque yellow or black (depending on manufacturer).

Acceptable Materials

  • PET Strapping

Prohibited Materials

  • PVC
  • Moisture
  • Cores
  • Dirt, dust

Thermoform Packaging 422
Post Consumer, Resin Identification #1

Any clear PET thermoformed package including but not limited to clamshells, egg cartons, drink  cups, lids, cake domes, blister pack, catering trays.

Acceptable Materials

  • HDPE containers
  • LDPE containers
  • PP containers
  • Other colored plastic containers
  • Aluminum/Metal
  • Paper/cardboard
  • Liquid residue
  • Any form of PVC #3 including, cap liners, labels, tamper proof seals, or other PVC

Prohibited Materials

  • Polystyrene #6 plastic - rigid or foam
  • PETG, Polycarbonate
  • PLA
  • LDPE Film
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Motor or cooking oil
  • Rocks, stones, dirt, mud
  • Medical and hazardous waste
Thermoform Packaging 422

PET Release Film 432
Resin Identification #1

This grade is comprised of PET film that has been coated with silicone. It is used as release film in the process of placing sticky labels on beverage and other containers. It will contain sticky label residue.

Acceptable Materials

  • PET Film
  • 2% sticky label

Prohibited Materials

  • PVC
  • Moisture
  • Cores
  • Dirt, Dust

Field Test Identification Characteristics

Continues to burn upon removal of flame source
Material
PET
Odor
Non-Descript
Color of Flame
Yellow, blue edges
Drips
No
Remarks
Sinks in water
PET Release Film 432

PS Thermoform Packaging 2% label clear - 442

Expanded Polystyrene (MRF) Baled - 446

Expanded Polystyrene  (Furniture) Densified - 445

CD Jewel case (no paper) - 485

Light Color PC-ABS 480
Resin Identification #9 or Other

PC-BS primarily comes from light colored monitors, computers. They are both highly impact, scratch, and heat resistant. They are used where heat and strength are a concern. The cost of producing PC and ABS resin is roughly twice the cost of HIPS. Best to inspect loose.

Warning:
Be careful to check PC-ABS for the presence of other resin types that would make it a mixed package. Look for the presence of mineral fillers. When broken, the edge of the plastic will appear chalky. This is typically found in ink jet printer housings.  Scratch material with knife to make sure it's not painted.

Acceptable Materials

  • CRT - Computer Monitors
  • Computer housings
  • Car headlights
  • Bullet proof glass
  • Water coolers
  • Metal (not more than 2%)
  • Grey or dark ABS (not more than 1%)

Prohibited Materials

  • Other Resin Types
  • Painted ABS
  • Mineral fillers
Light Color PC-ABS 480

Black Color PC-ABS 417
Resin Identification #9 or Other

PC-BS primarily comes from dark colored monitors, computers. They are both highly impact, scratch, and heat resistant. They are used where heat and strength are a concern. The cost of producing PC and ABS resin is roughly twice the cost of HIPS. Best to inspect loose.

Warning:
Be careful to check PC-ABS for the presence of other resin types that would make it a mixed package. Look for the presence of mineral fillers. When broken, the edge of the plastic will appear chalky. This is typically found in ink jet printer housings. Scratch material with knife to make sure it's not painted.

Acceptable Materials

  • CRT - Computer Monitors
  • Computer housings
  • Car headlights
  • Bullet proof glass
  • Water coolers
  • Metal (not more than 2%)
  • Grey or dark ABS (not more than 1%)

Prohibited Materials

  • Other Resin Types
  • Painted ABS
  • Mineral fillers
Black Color PC-ABS 417

Dark Color HIPS 481
Resin Identification #5

HIPS scrap is a low cost plastic material that is easy to machine and fabricate. Typically consists of black and grey housings for TV’s and other electronic devices. HIPS will crease white when bent. Best to inspect loose.

Warning:
Be careful to check HIPS for the presence of other resin types that would make it a mixed package. Look for the presence of mineral fillers. When broken, the edge of the plastic will appear chalky. This is typically found in ink jet printer housings.  Scratch material with knife to make sure it's not painted.

Painted and filled HIPS should be graded as Printer Mix (Mixed HIPS/PC-ABS).

Acceptable Materials

  • Dark or light HIPS parts from TV shell or other electronic device.
  • Metal (not more than 2%)
  • Painted HIPS (not more than 1%)

Prohibited Materials

  • Other Resin Types
  • Mineral fillers
Dark Color HIPS 481

ABS-HIPS Printer Mix 498
Resin Identification #6, #9, #7, #3

PC-ABS, HIPS, Other Printer Mix- This grade is generally produced from electronic components containing low yield circuit boards. This includes components that do not produce heat and do not require impact resistance properties. They include Inkjet and some laser printers, small appliances such as alarm clocks, answering machines, keyboards, and toys. Best to inspect loose.

Warning:
Be careful to check material that is light colored and presented as PC-ABS for the presence of other resin types that would make it a mixed package. Look for the presence of mineral fillers. When broken, the edge of the plastic will appear chalky. This is typically found in ink jet printer housings. Scratch material with knife to make sure it's not painted.

Acceptable Materials

  • Dark or light HIPS parts from printers or other electronic device
  • Painted ABS or HIPS
  • Metal (not more than 2%)

Prohibited Materials

  • Other Resin Types
ABS-HIPS Printer Mix 498

Grocery Pack Film 453

Grocery Pack is a mixture of different film plastics that are generated at retail grocery chain and distribution center operations. It must have a minimum of 25% LLDPE shrink wrap.

The higher the ratio of LLDPE shrink wrap the higher the value of the grade.

Acceptable Materials

  • LLDPE (Stretch Film) Min. 25%
  • HDPE Bags
  • Water coolers
  • Thermo film
  • High cone (six pack rings)

Prohibited Materials

  • Other Resin Types
  • Painted ABS
  • Mineral fillers
Grocery Pack Film 453

For more information regarding grade specifications,
please contact us at (626) 962-4047.