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Close the Loop, Buy Recycled

Reduce, Reuse, Reycle


School Recycling Information


What's with this recycle symbol?
The first place to start is where the symbol cam from. In the 1970's, there was a big environmental movement happening. The first Earth Day was in 1970. The Container Corporation of America, who had been recycling for some time, wanted a symbol to represent the paper recycling process. They had an art contest. Gary Dean Anderson was the name of the 23 year old college student who won. He said that he was influenced by M.C. Escher's Mobius Strip. For more information and the complete story of how the recycling symbol came about, click here.
Now that we have the recycle symbol, what does it all mean?
The traditional recycle symbol is the outline version. It is most often used on paper that is either recycled or recyclable. It will and can be on a variety of objects. Look around and see how many you can find.
What's this I've heard about post-consumer?
Post-consumer is recycled material that you put in the recycle bin. Post-consumer is used to describe material that is being reused/recycled after it has been in the consumer’s hands (e.g. a newspaper going back to the paper mill to be recycled into new recycled content paper products).  Material or product used by the consumer for its original purpose and then discarded.
How much post-consumer is a good thing?
On products that have post-consumer material in them, it is marked with a percentage. The percentage is the amount of post-consumer material in the product. The more post-consumer content the merrier. More is always better in this instance.
I've seen many variations of the recycle symbol concept. What do they all mean?
Each recycled industry has come up with its own version of the recycle symbol to represent them.
The paperboard industry (cereal and cracker boxes) has developed a symbol for their product that is specific to it. Paperboard is often 100% recycled material.
The corrugated cardboard industry has made its own version too. This one often doesn't tell you the amount or if there is recycled content to it. Often there is some recycled content to it. It is recyclable though and so is paperboard.
Glass Recycling
Not to be left out, the glass industry has its own version, as well. It's a little harder to have a symbol on glass jars and bottles, but look because it can be on there. On average there is probably about 25% to 35% recycled content to your jar or bottle.
Steel's recycle symbol is probably the most recognizable version of the recycle symbol. Come every fall millions of Americans watch it on helmut's running around a field. The Pittsburgh Steelers symbol is very similar to the steel industry's version of the recycled symbol. There is always recycled steel in steel products because it makes manufacturing less expensive.
Okay, so I see there are many versions and I get the post-consumer thing, but what is going on with plastics? Can you explain what all the numbers mean?
There are 7 different types of plastics. Each is denoted by a number 1 through 7. In Stark, Tuscarawas and Wayne Counties, we can only recycle plastic #1 and #2.
Plastic 1

Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE or PET)
PETE or PET is clear, tough and has good gas and moisture barrier properties making it ideal for carbonated beverage applications and other food containers. Common Uses: 2 liter soda bottles, cooking oil bottles, peanut butter jars. This is the most widely recycled plastic and sometimes has a redemption value in some states. PETE can be recycled into bottles, food containers, carpets, fiberfill for jackets and fabric for t-shirts and shopping bags.

Plastic 2
Plastic #2: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Common Uses: Detergent bottles, milk jugs, water bottles, shampoo bottles. HDPE can be recycled into new containers and plastic lumber.
Plastic 3
Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC or V))
Common Uses: Plumbing pipes, outdoor furniture, shrink wrap, clear food packaging. Collecting #3 plastic for recycling is cost-prohibitive because there are not enough items made from the material to warrant local factories to recycle it into new products. They are generally used once and thrown away.
Plastic 4
Plastic #4: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Common Uses: Dry cleaning bags, produce bags, trash can liners, food storage containers. Unless there is a recycling factory close by, most LDPE ends up in the landfill.
Plastic 5
Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP)
Common Uses: Bottle caps, drinking straws, yogurt & butter containers.
Plastic 6
Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS)
Common Uses: Packaging pellets or "Styrofoam peanuts," cups, plastic tableware, meat trays, to-go "clam shell" containers.
Plastic 7
Plastic #7: Other
Common Uses: Certain kinds of food containers and Tupperware. This plastic category, as its name of "other" implies, is any plastic other than the normal #1 to #6 plastic types. These containers can be any of the several different types of plastic polymers.
The American Chemistry Council has put together a nice chart on the different types of plastic, their properties and their product applications.


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