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By: Olivia Taldone
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What You Should Know About Recycle Codes?

Nearly all recyclable products can be categorized into two main types of plastics of which can be identified by their plastic Resin Identification Codes (RIC) and categorized into recycle codes found on the underside of all of the product containers. Although there are 9 plastic RICs, with each pertaining to different types of plastics, Organic Salon System’s products fall into two types: PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate), which is fully recyclable under material recycle code 1, and HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene), also fully recyclable but under material recycle code 2. The purpose of these RICs and recycle codes is to allow for the efficient separation of plastics for the process of recycling. It is often a misconception that these recycle codes indicate how hard the item is to recycle or how often the plastic was recycled. In reality, these RICs, located on the bottom of plastic containers, are arbitrarily-assigned numbers that just simply identify the specific type of plastic and are ultimately used to guide the recycling of that plastic.

Let’s take a further look at these two recyclable plastics and what you should know about their recycle codes.

Polyethylene terephthalate, commonly abbreviated PETE or PET, is one of the most common and highly recycled plastics. Although it is a light weight material, it is very strong and can resist high impact. PETE has excellent moisture-barrier properties that help to protect the inner product. In addition, it is accepted by all international markets and allows for post-consumer recycling.

High-density polyethylene, commonly abbreviated HDPE, is one of the most widely used resins (thick flowing liquid that will set into a hard lacquer or enamel-like finish) for plastic bottles. Like PETE, it provides an effective moisture barrier and is impact resistant. Even though it is naturally translucent and flexible, it can become quite durable and opaque, and can withstand somewhat high temperatures. HPDE has many benefits such as resistance to insects and rotting, zero release of toxic chemicals into the soil or water, and great compatibility with a wide range of products.

Are you aware that recycled PETE and HDPE are crafted into different products than they were originally?

PETE fragments or “PETE flakes” are used as the raw material for a range of products that would otherwise be made of polyester. Examples include polyester fibers (a base material for the production of clothing, pillows, etc.), polyester sheets, strapping that fastens items, or back into PETE bottles.

HDPE is the most-often recycled plastic and is downcycled (converting waste materials into new materials) into plastic lumber, piping, rope, tables, roadside curbs, benches, truck cargo liners, trash receptacles, stationary, and other durable plastic products.

What does “plastic recycling” actually mean?
Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different in form from their original state. For example, this could mean melting your used hair product bottles, both consumer or salon bottles, and then casting them as plastic chairs and tables. That is why it is important to to know your recycle codes.

The Must-Read Incredible Benefits of Recycling:
1. Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60-watt light bulb for up to six hours.
2. Recycling or reusing 1 ton of plastic bags saves the energy equivalent of 11 barrels of oil.
3. Using recycled material for the production of packaging goods takes less energy than creating the product from the material’s natural state.
4. A plastic is not usually recycled into the same type of plastic, and products made from recycled plastics are often not recyclable.
5. The fewer additives contained within the plastics, the more recyclable they are.

Ever Wondered What Happens to the Plastics after the Recycle Bin?
1. Post-consumer plastics (ones discarded by the consumer after use) are taken to materials recovery facilities (MRF) and sorted according to their resin type, either using the resin identification codes (RIC) or through automatic sort systems such as Near Infrared (NIR) technology.
2. The plastic recyclables are then shredded.
3. These shredded fragments then undergo processes such as monomer recycling (breaking down into original smaller molecules) and thermal depolymerization (turning into light crude oil) to eliminate impurities like paper labels. The newest processing technology uses heat compression, in which the process takes all unsorted, cleaned plastic in all forms and mixes the load in tumblers (large rotating drums resembling giant clothes dryers).
4.This material is melted and often extruded (molded) into the form of pellets which are then used to manufacture other products; thus, changing it’s next recycle code.

Organic Salon System’s Recycling Codes: What You Should Know
All of our recycling codes are categorized as either a 1, 2, or 5. Whereas, other recycling codes 3 and 7 were proved to be much more like to contain Phthalates or Bisphenol-A. The effects of both of Bisphenol-A(BPA) and Pthalates have been a growing concern for countries everywhere.

Why Is All of This Relevant?
The fact that Organic Salon Systems uses 100% recyclable plastic bottles is another example of why our products are considered to be eco-friendly. Organic Salon Systems’ products not only illustrate our company’s commitment to and concern over our customer’s health through the use of organic ingredients, but they also elucidate our commitment and concern to produce products that exhibit minimal impact on the environment. Even though the bottles are recyclable, it is up to you to place those used consumer or salon bottles into the specified recycle bins – again, why checking recycling codes is a must! It is important to encourage others to recycle as we must all work together to do our part to help preserve this wonderful planet.

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