How to Recognise Plastics that can be recycled in Guernsey

April 27th, 2010 by Rosie

For recycling purposes,  plastics are divided into 7 different categories that are numbered 1 to 7.  In Guernsey at present, we are only recycling the first two categories, Nos. 1 & 2.

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 or PETE for No. 1;    or HDPE or PE for No. 2.
A recycling symbol on it’s 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; or sometimes PETE. (short for PolyEthylene Terephthalate )

Plastic drink bottles are almost all No. 1. (PET; PETE)

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 (PET or PETE)

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.  M&S are increasing their use of No. 1 (PET or PETE) for some food items….. remember to wash before recycling.  Even the protective plastic covering on some battery packets  is No. 1.

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 (PET; PETE).  Some food trays can be Plastic No.1 such as used by the Cook Shop in the Lower Pollet.

The only way to know is to check your packaging and look for the recycling triangle with the numbers 1 or 2 or the appropriate letters PET or HDPE.

No. 1 (PET; PETE) is the higest grade of plastic and achieves the best price at the market place. Because of this it can become contaminated if less valuable plastics are mixed with it.  This can result in the whole load being 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, 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.

As well as numbers 1 & 2, Guernsey is also recycling Polystyrene packaging.  These are the large clean (white) pieces that surround your new television, washing machine etc.  Take to Chouet recycling point or Longue Hougue.

Plastic bags: Take to Checkers.  The C.I. Co-op in Grande Marche, St Martin accepts transparent polythene bags.

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