Now that my borough has single stream recycling, I’ve become much more aware of the type identification on plastics. Previously, I could only recycle plastics numbered 1 and 2. Everything else, marked or not, went in the trash. Now, everything that has a number can be recycled, so I’m only throwing away plastics that are missing the mark.
Fortunately, the vast majority of plastic, and we’re mostly talking packaging here, has the mark in an obvious location. Molded plastic almost always has it, as it is easy to imprint it in the mold. There is effectively no cost. Plastic wrappers and bags that are printed will sometimes have a mark printed on. For example, the bags that frozen vegetables are sold in and the inflated plastic pillows used for packing shipments from Amazon have the mark printed. Since the packaging is being printed for marketing and safety reasons, again, there is no added cost to include it. What tend not to be marked are all of the transparent, plastic baggies, sleeves, and wrappers used for packaging components inside a box. They aren’t being printed with other information, so the manufacturers wouldn’t want to incur the expense of adding printing just for that.
This may be changing. Just a few days ago, I received a battery and charger for my video camera. They are after-market parts—relatively cheap—but the plastic wrappers they came in were prominently displaying the recycling indicators. No other information was printed on them. That’s promising.