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Here's what those little numbers inside recycling symbols really mean

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Here's what those little numbers inside recycling symbols really mean

WATCH | Those little numbers inside the recycling symbol on plastics mean a lot more than just "you can recycle this item." Watch to see exactly what they indicate, and what that means to you as a consumer.

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There are seven kinds of plastics that we use, and those numbers tell you what kind of plastic it is and how you should use it. For example, plastic #1 shouldn't be reused, because it can grow bacteria. The video breaks down all 7 types.

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And not all plastic containers can be recycled in any old bin, even if it has the symbol on the bottom. Some plastics, like #3 and #7, are not commonly accepted by all waste management programs. 

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And speaking of #7, that category also indicates bioplastics. They are touted as being compostable, but they have to be composted in a commercial facility and can't be recycled. They can interfere with a standard recycling program.

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There are lots of other quirky rules when it comes to using and recycling plastic, so do your research and always call your local waste management before dumping plastics into the recycle bin. 

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