Green Tip of the Month: All About Plastics
Which plastics can be recycled?
Plastics are manufactured from many different types of resin, all of which must remain separate to avoid cross-contamination in recycling and refabrication. A number on the bottom of a container denotes its category. Rockefeller and NYC recycle #1 and #2 plastic bottles and jugs, including most lab bottles (which should be sanitized with a 10% bleach solution if exposed to biological material). Clean plastic bags can also be recycled in designated bins near the Mail Room and vending machines, or at many supermarkets, retail stores and malls.
Which plastics cannot be recycled?
Rockefeller and NYC do not accept plastic takeout containers, yogurt containers, bioplastic products, Styrofoam or plastic tubs, trays, cups, crates, flower pots, toys and tableware. However, participating Whole Foods locations accept #5 plastics, which include some yogurt cups, hummus tubs and Brita® pitcher filters.
Impact of plastics
Plastic buried deep in landfills can leach harmful chemicals that spread into groundwater. Plastic debris, laced with chemicals and often ingested by marine animals, can injure or poison wildlife. Floating plastic waste, which can survive for thousands of years in water, serves as mini transportation devices for invasive species, disrupting habitats.
Did You Know?
Roughly 33% of plastic is manufactured for single use, and then thrown away.