What do the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers mean?
The triangle symbol, more commonly known as the "chasing arrows" symbol, doesn't indicate recyclability, contrary to wide belief. The number just indicates the type of plastic it's made from. For example, A plastic bag may be made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE - #2), the same material as a milk jug or bleach bottle. However, it contains different dyes, plasticizers, UV inhibitors, softeners, and other chemicals required to make it into a film. This mix of additives changes the properties of the plastic and makes it incompatible with the plastic used to make bottles. Similarly, to make Styrofoam, the manufacturer adds air, thereby creating a different product which is not compatible with the recycling processing equipment.
Please place only narrow-necked plastic bottles (you can leave the caps ON) and plastic food tubs (such as cottage cheese and yogurt containers) in your green cart for recycling. You can reuse your grocery bags or bring them back to the store for recycling. The Recycling Depot at Rumford Ave accepts clean, white Styrofoam for recycling, click here
for more information.