What goes where? Green. Gray. Blue.
Avoid cross-contamination (and potential fines)
Paper comes from trees, so every time we have to make new paper, we are cutting down trees. Almost 50% of wood is used for paper. Recycling could save 100 million acres of forest.
Wood that is unsuitable for lumber is used for paper. 17 trees can produce 1 ton of paper. Bark is removed, trees are chipped, processed and broken down to fibers then washed, then pressed and dried.
Paper manufacturing pollutes the environment. Producing 1 ton of paper creates 84 lbs of air pollutants, 36 lbs of water pollutants and 176 lbs of solid waste. Disposing of paper pollutes again as air pollution from burning or ground contamination from landfill leakage. Recycling paper uses 60% less energy than manufacturing paper from virgin timber.
Paper can be recycled into writing or printing paper, newsprint, roofing products, building insulation, fiberboard and other construction materials, fruit trays, flower pots, egg cartons, craft paper, tissue, cardboard, packing material, animal bedding, and more.
7,500 trees are used for the Sunday edition of the New York Times each week.
There are many different types of plastic. The main seven types of plastic have numbers on them inside a recycling symbol, if you aren’t sure what type of plastic you have, find the recycle symbol and compare the number to those listed below. All plastics (except #6, Styrofoam) are recyclable in the City of Fresno, even if it doesn’t have a number on it.
1 – PET (Polythylene Terephthalate) – soda and water bottles
2 – HDPE (High Density Polythylene) – milk or orange juice jugs
3 – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – detergent/cleanser bottles, pipes
4 – LDPE (Low Density Polythylene) – 6-pack rings, bread bags
5 – PP (Polypropylene) – margarine tubs, straws, screw-on lids
6 – PS (Polystyrene) – styrofoam, packing peanuts (not recyclable in Fresno)
7 – Other (Multi-Layer Plastics) – ketchup and syrup bottles
Plastic is made by linking together natural gas and crude oil, once linked together they form a solid resin which is used to make plastic.
It can take up to 700 years for plastic to decompose (break down and disappear) when it goes to a landfill or dump.
PET plastic can be shredded into fibers and woven into threads to make clothing, to stuff sleeping bags, jackets and quilts. HDPE plastic can be made into construction materials such as railroad ties, parking blocks, pipes and beams, playground equipment, and decking materials.
Aluminum is made from a natural resource called Bauxite Ore. This ore is found in rocks and must be mined, it is not a renewable resource which means that once it is gone, we will not have any more.
It can take 80-100 years for an aluminum can to decompose (break down and disappear) when it goes to landfill.
Aluminum can be recycled into packaging and containers (beverages, food), building materials, automobile and aircraft construction, appliances (stoves, refrigerators), toys, picture frames, decorative home décor (Bowls, vases, etc), baseball bats, and more.
Aluminum is shredded and decontaminated, melted and poured into forms. The entire process takes about 90 days. It can be recycled over and over again, forever.
Recycling aluminum uses 96% less energy than it takes to produce the same amount of aluminum from raw materials. 95% of air pollutants are eliminated and 100% of solid waste is kept from landfills. Recycling one Aluminum can saves enough electricity to operate a TV for up to 3 hours.
A bi-metal can is actually made from steel with a thin plating of tin. You can often tell one of these cans by placing a magnet next to it. If the magnet sticks, the can is most likely bi-metal.
Steel and tin, as well as other metals are all natural resources. This means that we have to mine the materials from our Earth and eventually they will be gone. For every ton of steel recycled, 2500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved.
Steel can be used for more cans, cars, appliances, and construction materials.
Glass is made of soda ash, limestone and a lot of sand. The mixture is put into a very hot furnace and when it melts, it turns into glass.
It will take over 1,000,000 (one million) years for a glass bottle or jar to decompose (break down and disappear) when it goes to landfill.
Glass can be recycled into new bottles and jars, fiberglass insulation, concrete, sewer pipes, bricks, tiles, road paving material, light bulbs, glassware, new glass containers, decorative home décor, surf boards (by way of fiberglass), and more.
Glass can be recycled and used over and over again. Most bottles and jars are made from recycled glass.
Recycled glass melts at a lower temperature than new materials, so it takes less energy to heat the furnace. Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to light a 100 watt light bulb for 4 hours. By using 50% recycled glass in making new glass, water use is cut by 50%, waste is cut by 79%, and air pollutants by 14%.
Number 1 Plastics
PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate)
Found in: Soft drink, water and beer bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter containers; salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; food trays safe for ovens.
Recycling: Yes, you can recycle Number 1 Plastics in Fresno!
Recycled into: Polar fleece, fiber, tote bags, furniture, carpet, paneling, straps, and occasionally, new containers.
PET plastic is the most common for single-use bottled beverages, because it is inexpensive,
lightweight and easy to recycle. It poses no risk of leaching harmful chemicals. Recycling rates
remain relatively low (around 20%), though the material is in high demand by remanufacturers.
Number 2 Plastics
HDPE (high density polyethylene)
Found in: Milk jugs, juice bottles; bleach, detergent and household cleaner bottles; shampoo bottles; some trash and shopping bags; motor oil bottles; butter and yogurt tubs; cereal box liners.
Recycling: Yes, you can recycle Number 2 Plastics in Fresno!
Recycled into: Laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, pens, recycling containers, floor tile, drainage pipe, lumber, benches, doghouses, picnic tables, fencing.
HDPE is a versatile plastic with many uses, especially for packaging. It poses no risk of leaching
harmful chemicals and is readily recyclable into many goods.
Number 3 Plastics
V (Vinyl) or PVC
Found in: Window cleaner and detergent bottles, shampoo bottles, cooking oil bottles, clear food
packaging, wire jacketing, medical equipment, siding, windows, piping
Recycling: Yes, you can recycle Number 3 Plastics in Fresno!
Recycled into: Decks, paneling, mud flaps, roadway gutters, flooring, cables, speed bumps, mats. PVC is tough and weathers well, so it is commonly used for piping, siding and similar applications. PVC contains chlorine, so its manufacture can release highly dangerous dioxins. If you must cook with PVC, don’t let the plastic touch food. Also never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.
Do not use Number 3 plastic bottles for drinking water!
Why? Number 3 plastics may release toxic breakdown products (including pthalates) into food and drinks. Harvard-educated Dr. Leo Trasande of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine advises consumers to avoid number 3 plastics for food and drinks. The risk is highest when containers start to wear out and are put through the dishwasher or when they are heated such as in a microwave. PVC manufacturing can release highly toxic dioxins into the environment, and the materials can off-gas toxic plasticizers into your home.
Number 4 Plastics
LDPE (low density polyethylene)
Found in: Squeezable bottles; bread, frozen food, dry cleaning and shopping bags; tote bags; clothing; furniture; carpet
Recycling: Yes, you can recycle Number 4 Plastics in Fresno!
Recycled into: Trash can liners and cans, compost bins, shipping envelopes, paneling, lumber,
landscaping ties and floor tile.
LDPE is a flexible plastic with many applications. It poses little to no risk of leaching harmful
Number 5 Plastics
Found in: Some yogurt containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, caps, straws, medicine bottles
Recycling: Yes, you can recycle Number 5 Plastics in Fresno!
Recycled into: Signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, auto battery cases, ice scrapers, landscape borders, bicycle racks, rakes, bins, pallets, trays Polypropylene has a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid. It poses little to no risk of leaching harmful chemicals.
Number 6 Plastics
Found in: Disposable plates and cups, meat trays, egg cartons, carry-out containers, aspirin bottles, compact disc cases
Recycling: Number 6 plastics cannot be recycled in Fresno.
Not Recyclable: Avoid using them as much as possible.
Do not use Number 6 plastic bottles for drinking water!
Why? Evidence suggests polystyrene can leach potential toxins into foods. Number 6 plastics can release potentially toxic breakdown products (including styrene). Get this: particularly when heated!
Number 7 Plastics
Found in: Three- and five-gallon water bottles, hard-rigid baby bottles, ‘bullet-proof’ materials, sunglasses, DVDs, iPod and computer cases, signs and displays, certain food containers, nylon
Recycling: Yes, you can recycle Number 7 Plastics in Fresno!
Recycled into: Plastic lumber, custom-made products and a wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7. A few are even made from plants (polyactide) and are compostable.