May 14 2010
For recycling purposes, plastics are divided into 7 different categories that are numbered 1 to 7. In Guernsey at present, we are only recycling categories, Nos. 1, 2 & 6.
Inclusion of the wrong kind of plastic into the recycling bins, can lead to the whole batch becoming contaminated and refused in the market place.
How to recognise plastics Nos. 1 & 2
The number 1 or 2 is embossed or printed within the recycling triangle usually on the underside of the item. (see below for more details). Any other number in the triangle means it is not currently recycled here and must not be put into the recycling bins.
Sometimes the plastic category is identified by the letters only; PET, PETE or RPET for No. 1; or HDPE or PE for No. 2.
A recycling symbol on its own without any indication that it is a 1 or 2, cannot currently be recycled in Guernsey.
Examples of Plastic No.1.
Also known by the letters PET; PETE (short for PolyEthylenTerephthalate) or RPET.(Recycled PET)
Plastic drink bottles are almost all No. 1. (PET; PETE; RPET)
Because of its recyclabilty and value, manufacturers are increasing the use of this type of plastic so you can now find many other containers are No. 1.
Examples include Rachel’s yogurt pots (but none of the other yogurt ranges) to Guernsey Herb packets, to the plastic insert in some chocolates, mince pies, and biscuits. Even the protective plastic covering on some non-food packets, such as batteries, gardening accessories etc can sometimes be No. 1.
Supermarkets are increasing their use of No. 1 for some food items….. remember to wash before recycling. Sometimes the lid and base of a 2 part punnet, such as used for strawberries, can be different plastics with only one half being No. 1. Some food trays can be Plastic No.1 such as used by the Cook Shop in the Lower Pollet.
The only way to know for sure is to check your packaging, particularly on the base, to look for the recycling triangle with the correct number or appropriate lettering.
No. 1 (PET; PETE; RPET) is the highest grade of plastic and achieves the best price at the market place. If it becomes contaminated with less valuable plastics the whole load can be rejected.
Examples of Plastic No.2.
Also known as HDPE or PE ( short for High Density PolyEthylene)
These are generally the type of bottles or containers used for cleaning products. Shampoos, conditioners, suncreams, liquid soaps, weed-killer, detergents, silicone sealant tubes, roll-on deodorants etc.
Again, the symbol is usually on the base of the container and will be a 2 within a triangle and / or the letters HDPE or simply PE.
Always look for the correct symbol. No symbol → no recycling. If in doubt, leave it out!
Examples of Plastic No. 6.
Also known as PS ( short for PolyStyrene packaging).
These are the clean, often large, (white) pieces of packaging that surround your new television, washing machine etc. Take to Chouet recycling point or Longue Hougue Recycling Facility.
Beware of imitations – not all packaging that looks like polystyrene is polystyrene.
Polystyrene food trays and cups contain a plastic coating and should not be put in the recycling bins.
Take to Checkers. The C.I. Co-op in Grande Marche, St Martin accepts transparent polythene bags.
Best of all, avoid accepting plastic bags whenever possible.
Hansa sells OnyaWeigh reusable gauze bags for weighing veg. etc.
Commercial quantities of other plastics such as polythene or seed trays can also be recycled locally. For further information contact Mayside Recycling: 247599.