So Much Plastic, for Such a Long Time
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery’s (CalRecycle) 2003 Waste Characterization Study found that plastic film, packaging containers, durable goods, and other plastic items make up 9.5 percent, or 3.8 million tons, of the disposed waste stream in California. However, plastic is only recycled at about a 5 percent rate statewide.
The characteristics that increasingly make plastic the manufacturing and packaging material of choice, i.e. light weight, durable, less expensive, also make it a challenge to collect and recycle. Plastic materials when released into the environment can also be a visual blight and harmful to wildlife. Nor does plastics debris degrade in the environment; instead it tends to accumulate, creating long-term environmental problems.
Scientific American published a July 2009 article “Plastic Not-So-Fantastic: How the Versatile Material Harms the Environment and Human Health” that includes a compilation of recent articles http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=plastic-not-so-fantastic
PlasticsIndustry.com identifies 32 different plastic types, each suited to particular applications. The American Chemistry Council Plastics Division is a source of information about plastics recycling and more
Making Sense of Resin Codes
The Society of Plastics Industries resin codes were issued in 1988. The codes — numbers within circling arrows — are stamped or printed on the bottom of containers, near labels, or elsewhere on plastic products.
What Can I Recycle
High Desert recycling programs commonly accept #1 and #2 beverage containers, and rigid #3 through #7 containers.
Plastic carryout bags are best returned to supermarkets, and large retailer stores with a pharmacy. You should readily find a recycling container in those stores. If you can’t find the container, ask a store employee. If the store doesn’t accept bags, please call 1-888-URECYCLE.
Do NOT put plastic bags in your curbside recycling container! Switch to reusable fabric bags, which are available at supermarkets and large retailers. Ask the store about discounts for other incentives for reusing bags. For more information, go to http://www.plasticbagrecycling.org
You can redeem plastic water, soda, beer, juice, coffee, and tea containers at local buy-back and convenience centers. You can find a local recycling center by calling 1-800-RECYCLE or searching by ZIP code at http://www.bottlesandcans.com/where.php
If you have large quantities of plastics, or just want to recycle your plastics directly, CalRecycle maintains a searchable database, by location and material, of California plastics recyclers a searchable database, by location and material, of California plastics recyclers