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If you’ve ever bought something in a plastic bottle, you’ve probably noticed a little number inside a triangle on the bottom of the container. Ever wonder what that means?

With the help of Milly Zantow, The Society of the Plastics Industry developed a national system to classify and recycle post-consumer plastics.   The numbers inside the recycling triangle are used to identify plastic so they can be correctly recycled. Each of the seven numbers represents a different type of plastic.

1.  PETE or PET (polyethylene terephthalate)

Typically seen on soda and water bottles, food containers and mouthwash bottles.

2. HDPE (high-density polyethylene)

Found on milk jugs, detergent bottles, toys and household cleaning products.

3. PVC or V (polyvinyl chloride)

Used on shampoo containers, detergent bottles, pipes, siding and windows.

4. LDPE (low-density polyethylene)

Typically seen on dry cleaning bags, food storage containers and produce bags.

5. PP (polypropylene)

Found on bottle tops, yogurt containers, straws and medicine bottles.

6. PS (polystyrene)

Used on throwaway cups and plates, disposable eating utensils, rulers and CD cases.

7. Other

A plastic classified as “seven” represents all plastics other than the six listed above.  This may include reusable water bottles, sunglasses, iPods and computer cases and bulletproof material.

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