Hiker’s Wisdom: Your Guide to Camp Recycling Part 2

Welcome back to the second part of our blog series on recyclables! Last time we tackled the Plastics # 1, 2, and 3, most of which can be recycled with your curbside recycling bin. Today we will finish out the list of recyclable materials and leave you with the knowledge of a true protector of Mother Earth. Let’s get started!

Recycling Symbols: Plastics LDPE #4
LDPE (also known as Low-density polyurethane) is the plastic used in most shopping center plastic bags, carpet fibers, frozen food containers and other items. Only recently have local trash pickup and recycling centers begun to accept this type of plastic for recycling, so check with your local disposal companies to see if your home is on the list of approved pickup sites. LDPE #4 is considered a safe plastic too, and is often transformed into trash cans, mailboxes and tote bins.

Recycling Symbols: Plastics PP #5
Ketchup bottles, pill containers, ice cube trays and some sport water bottles are all items made from polypropylene, known by the symbol PP #5. With very few exceptions this plastic is considered one of the safe plastics, and can be recycled at your local pickup centers. When recycled, this material is turned into vehicle headlights, brooms and mops, and even electric plastic fan blades.

Recycling Symbols: Plastics PS #6
Most campers will know this plastic very well by it’s layman name: Styrofoam, and this is one of the more toxic plastics currently on the market today. Egg cartons, meat trays, and disposable cups and plates are all made from PS #6, and while non-toxic at room temperature will release dangerous toxic chemicals when heated. Because of the health risks involved, most curbside recycling centers will not accept it, meaning you should either purchase alternatives made with recyclable materials or contact a specialty recycling center for disposal.

Recycling Symbols: Plastics Other
When plastics are essentially a grab-bag of materials, these items are placed and labeled with the “Plastics Other” symbol. These items are made of materials that contain polycarbonate and bisphenol-A, also known as BPA. The toxicity of these materials are now becoming widely known for causing hyperactivity and reproductive issues, and have begun to fade from the consumer marketplace. Bullet-proof vests, iPod cases and sunglasses are all still made with this material however, so be careful when using these items. Recycling them is difficult, but they can be eventually made into plastic lumber and other products requiring inexpensive durability.

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