Have you looked at the bottom of a plastic package and noticed the triangular chasing-arrows symbol around a number? This is called a resin identification code. Many people are falsely led to believe that this symbol indicates that the plastic-based item is recyclable. According to the Canadian Plastic Industry Association, “the code is intended to solely identify the resin content” that is used to make the material. A resin identification code does not indicate that the package can be recycled, rather, it simply indicates what plastic the item is made of.
Plastic packaging materials (e.g. plastic containers, plastic bags, and plastic bottles) are the most commonly recycled plastic materials due to their consistent composition, single-use nature, and established end-market. As a result, this excludes the recycling of more complex plastics or plastic products which are often referred to as hard plastics (e.g. plastic toys, Rubbermaid totes, plastic lawn furniture, etc.), due to their diverse remanufacturing processes and lack of end-markets. As such, the CVRD curbside recycling program accepts household packaging, not products.
If you are unsure whether or not your plastic item is recyclable, please refer to the Cowichan Recyclopedia or Cowichan Recycles app, rather than the resin identification code.