Plenty of options for county residents to recycle plastics

Plastic is everywhere. We use plastics at home, work and especially during our leisure time. Have you seen the recycle symbol with a number inside the triangle on plastic containers? Do you understand what those numbers mean?

The plastics marked 1, 2, 4 or 5 in the triangle are the most common. These plastics are considered reusable (some a limited amount) and recyclable. They also are considered a safer plastic, and used as storage for many food items. Let me try to explain:

No. 1 plastic: Could also be marked with PET/PETE. It’s a thin and clear plastic, used for water bottles, cooking oil bottles or a peanut butter container.

No. 2 plastics: Could also be marked HDPE (high-density polyethylene). They are a thick and opaque, used for milk jugs, juice bottles and toys.

No. 4 plastics: Could also be marked LDPE (low-density polyethylene). This plastic is soft and flexible, used for grocery bags, plastic wrap and garbage bags.

No. 5 plastics: Could also be marked PP (polypropylene). This is a hard and flexible plastic, used for ice cream containers, drinking straws and take–out containers.

Plastics marked 3, 6 or 7 are considered dangerous plastics. These plastics could also be marked with PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PS (polystyrene) or “other” (which includes polycarbonate). Avoid these plastics if at all possible, but most are recyclable.

The Columbus/Bartholomew Recycling Center, 720 S. Mapleton St. in Columbus, accepts plastic containers marked Nos. 1 to 7. The center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To reduce your wait time sort the plastics by co-mingling Nos. 1 and 2 and Nos. 3 to 7. The containers should also be rinsed out so that no food particles contaminate the plastic material during the recycling process.

Grocery store plastic bags (No. 4) should be taken back to the grocery store for recycling. To reduce our cost it is important that we do not duplicate the services provided by the grocery stores.

For any recycling questions, please go online at