PLASTIC BY SPI CODE

A SOCIETY OF PLASTIC INDUSTRY (SPI) PRIMER

PHOTO GALLERY AT BOTTOM

ABOUT SPI CODES


* SPI codes #1- 7 designate the class of petro-chemical feedstock bases (resins, polymers) used in manufacture.

* Manufacturing process adds specific organic reagents to the feedstock.

* Highly toxic chemicals, some known carcinogens. 

* Reagents customized to specific plastic products. 

* Plastics “outgas” volatile organic components.


PLASTIC #1 [PETE, Polystyrene Terephthalate] (clear), 

*  Mostly used in water bottles; leaches out BPA. 

*  Each minute, 1 million bottles purchased around the globe. 

*  Colossal amounts of PETE litter landfills, landscapes, and oceans.


PLASTIC #2 [HDPE, High density polyethylene] (opaque).

*  Used for bottles with necks, detergent containers, jugs.


PLASTIC #3, POLY-VINYL CHLORIDE (PVC).

*  Valued for its hardness, flexibility, and durability; most widely used plastic. 

*  Final ingredients include ethylene and chlorine gases. 

*  Outgases "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs, new car smell) and hydrochloric acid.  

*  Ubiquitous in construction materials ie, pipes, flooring, siding; in autos, medical products, cable and wire insulation; and notably, children's plastic toys.

* Recycled in limited manner; should be avoided around food. [2]


PLASTICS #4 LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE [LDPE], bag and film type plastic.  

*  Jams up solid plastic sorting machines-- why collected separately. 

*  Great strides in recycling in both industrial and post-consumer waste. 

*  Still significant disposal problem;  > 1% is recycled.



PLASTIC #5 LINEAR LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLENE [LLDPE]
*  Used for soft tubs and bottles.

*  Used in prescription drug containers; recyclable if empty and identifiers blocked out.



PLASTIC #6 POLYSTYRENE [PS], Styrofoam brand. 

*  Outgases styrene. 

*  In seawater, disperses into particles to form floating films; these adsorb toxins.

*  Films gather at land interfaces, coastal feeding and breeding areas.

*  Infused with toxic fire retardant HBCD for building insulation.  

*  Recycling peanuts, grocery trays, only regionally; down-cycled to pellets; capacity limited by low transport reimbursement for lightweight materials. [3] 

*  PS now banned in some regions and some US states; number of bans is accelerating.



PLASTIC #7, or “Everything else,” 

*  Broad catch-all for polycarbonate (PC) and “other” plastics. 

*  Difficult to recycle.

*  Includes vanishingly small number of biodegradable compostable plastics; made from bio-based polymers like corn starch. 

* Identifiable by initials “PLA” underneath the #7 code; some read “Compostable;" and literally require composting to degrade.


HELIUM PARTY BALLOONS
*  Balloons, metallic balloons, and attached ribbons cause innumerable wildlife fatalities.

*  Exponential growth in their use; more frequent and larger balloon releases now common.

*  Please don’t buy; environmentally friendly alternates available; if you do buy, don’t release. 

*  Discarded fishing line another wildlife hazard; causes death by binding and immobilizing birds and animals. [4]


LOCAL RESOURCE

Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA).

*  Handy interactive website tells how to recycle specific item.

*  If it can’t take an item, call; they will direct to a place that does take them, eg, electronics, metals. [5]


FOR MORE INFORMATION:

1)    https://www.google.com/search?q=cnn+plastic+island&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
2)    http://www.keeptruckeegreen.org/guide/3-plastic-pvc/
3)    http://www.homeforfoam.com/city-governments/recycling-process
4)    https://www.fws.gov/news/blog/index.cfm/2015/8/5/balloons-and-wildlife-please-  dont-release-your-balloons; http://www.wideopenspaces.com/usfws-dont-release-balloons-please/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=sendible&utm_term=rare&utm_campaign=rare

5)    http://cvwma.com/programs/


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