Here at TTF, we talk a lot about how recycling can help to protect our waterways. Our Ethical Electronics Recycling Events help keep dangerous chemicals from electronics from leaching into our creeks and rivers. But what about plastics? From all of our work doing stream cleanups, we’ve found that a huge percentage of the trash we pick up is plastic — usually in the form of food or beverage packaging materials and plastic bags. (The City of Philadelphia currently recycles plastics #1 and #2, but not #3-#7. Montgomery County has different regulations.)
Because No. 5 is the next most common plastic (after 1 and 2), Weaver’s Way Co-op (weaversway.coop) collects it—including Brita filters—as part of the “Gimme 5” campaign. Plastics must be clean, dry and clearly stamped with the number 5. Collections take place on the third Saturday of each month at the Co-op’s garage (524 Carpenter Lane), and all the plastics are then shipped to the Gimme 5 processing facility in New York State. The South Street Whole Foods (929 South Street) also collects No. 5 plastics.
The other numbers are trickier. The foam variety of No. 6–Polystyrene and the dreaded No. 7–Other categories are notoriously difficult to recycle. But Recycling Services, Inc. (365 Elm Street, Pottstown, 610-323-8545) takes all comers (numbers 1 through 7), and the facility is open for public collection on Tuesdays and Saturdays (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.). They charge an $8/car gate fee, so consider loading up with your neighbors’ No. 3 through 7s, too, before you head out there.
If you drink a lot of bottled beverages, you can recycle the caps at the Big Green Earth Store (934 South Street) and at Aveda stores throughout the Philadelphia region (the Shops at Liberty Place, Cherry Hill Mall, Willow Grove Park and Exton Square).
And, in addition to recycling plastic, we can just try to use it less — especially when it comes to unnecessary purchases like bottled water!