Recycling HDPE Bottles and Other Products

HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is the plastic used for products that require a slightly heavier plastic.  HDPE is often marked with the recycle code 2, which will help you to identify your plastic before you get rid of it.  These items are often refillable bottles, folding chairs, cables, detergent bottles, plastic lumber, and even hula-hoops.  Any time you must throw these items away, you should first consider recycling them.  Almost all of the items made from HDPE can be recycled so that the plastic can be repurposed, but it’s up to us to get those materials to our local recycling plant.

The Recycling Process

The recycling process for most plastics is the same.  These items are often separated by color and then crushed together into bales.  Those bales are then further crushed until the plastic all seems to be one piece.  That bale is then flaked, so that the plastic flakes can be remade into new plastic items.

High heat is used to turn those plastic flakes into new materials, which means that bacteria and other harmful items are destroyed before the plastic can be reused.  This eliminates fears of using any plastic from food or drink items that might have retained the bacteria.

Where to Recycle

Recycle San Diego can provide you with the names of several local recycling centers so that you can find the closest one to your home.  These centers will often collect large quantities of plastic, so don’t be afraid to save up before making your trip.

Before you go, you should call ahead to ensure the facility you have chosen accepts HDPE plastic.  Though most facilities do, as this is a very common plastic, you don’t want to get a surprise when you show up with your rubbish.  When you call, you can also verify operating hours.