FAST FACTS: Break the (plastic) code

  1. PET or PETE: Polyethylene Terephthalate

    PET is commonly used for soft drink and water bottles, cooking oil bottles and peanut butter containers. PET is the most widely recycled plastic.

  2. HDPE: High-Density Polyethylene

    Identifies milk, cider and water jugs, detergent, fabric softener, bleach bottles and grocery bags. HDPE is slightly waxy and semi-rigid. It does not crack. It floats in water.

  3. PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride

    Also abbreviated V, PVC is used in salad dressing bottles, vegetable oil bottles and mouthwash bottles. PVC is smooth, scratches easily and sinks in water.

  4. LDPE: Low-Density Polyethylene

    LDPE is used in flexible bags for dry cleaning, trash, produce, bread and shrink wrap. Recycled LDPE often is used to make grocery bags.

  5. PP: Polypropylene

    PP usually is found in drinking straws, battery cases, some dairy tubs, bottle labels and caps, and rope. PP stretches into filaments and emits a chemical smell when burned.

  6. PS: Polystyrene

    PS and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) both are No. 6 plastics. PS and EPS are commonly used in packaging peanuts and other packaging materials, and in plastic utensils, meat and egg trays. PS sinks in water; EPS floats.

  7. Other

    Other plastics often are made of multiple resins or layers of different types of plastics. These may include microwavable packages, snack bags and industrial plastics.

Source: Iowa Waste Reduction Center, Cedar Falls