Doesn’t the symbol on the bottom of my plastic mean it’s recyclable?
Not necessarily! The little number enclosed in “chasing arrows” is actually a code stamped on by the plastics industry to indicate a base-resin number, not a recycling symbol. Resin codes range from #1 to #7, but there are literally thousands of plastics out there because so many different chemicals, or additives, get added to the base resin. In fact, the “recipes” for a #1 bottle and a # 1 yogurt container differ so much that they cannot be recycled together. Most communities across the county can recycle only plastic bottles marked with a #1 or #2. The good news is that over 95% of the bottles on the market are #1 or #2 plastic and are recyclable, so nearly all plastic bottles can be recycled. For more information,
go to eurekarecycling.org
How can I be sure products
are really compostable?
Unfortunately, there are many bags, utensils, and other products on store shelves and around some newspapers in the Twin Cities that are marked “degradable” or “compost bag” that are not truly compostable. “Degradable” simply means that the product will break down into smaller plastic components, which can then get into our water, plants, animals, and eventually humans. The good news is you don’t have to be a chemist to ensure that you are buying a truly compostable product. Simply look for the BPI logo. The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) has emerged as a leader in composting certification. They make sure compostables are actually compostable. Biodegradable or compostable products are made of plant material, not petroleum, and when composted breakdown into components that can be “eaten” by micro-organisms that will create nutrient-rich compost. For a full list of BPI certified compostable products, go to bpiworld.org.