2021 Waste Reduction Week: Plastics Thursday
October 21, 2021

Today – on Plastics Thursday, as we celebrate 2021 Waste Reduction Week in Canada, we would like to highlight that everyone can play a role in reducing plastic waste. Since 2002, Island Waste Management Corporation diverted approximately 19,672 tonnes of recyclable plastics from PEI’s only landfill. We were able to achieve this because you – our customers – have been separating recyclable materials from the rest of the waste material generated in your households and businesses.

On PEI, plastic items with numbers 1 to 5 are recyclable. The numbers are identification codes for the types of plastic, and the letters are abbreviations of the plastic’s name. Below is a brief explanation of what these numbers and abbreviations mean:

PETE or PET #1 – Polyethylene Terephthalate

Transparent and rigid, and the most widely recycled plastic in the world. Examples of use: single-use food and beverage packaging. 

HDPE #2 – High-Density Polyethylene

Lightweight but strong. Examples of use: milk and juice bottles, containers for cosmetics, shampoo, dish and laundry detergents, and household cleaners. 

PVC #3 – Polyvinyl Chloride

Resistant to corrosion with an average lifetime of 30 years. Examples of use: clear clamshell containers, string lights.

LDPE #4 – Low-Density Polyethylene

Flexible and safe for contact with food and liquids. Examples of use: sandwich, produce and frozen food bags, and squeezable bottles. 

PP #5 – Polypropylene

Semi-rigid with good chemical resistance. Examples of use: bottle caps, yogurt and margarine containers, prescription bottles.  

The economic value of plastic lost to waste in Canada is $8 billion yearly. In addition to recycling, we could all reduce plastic waste by:

  • Giving preference to plastic products made from the types of plastic described above
  • Choosing minimally packaged products designed for longer life

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