Common Recyclable Healthcare Plastics

Nov 3, 2016 10:05 AM ET

Before you begin (or expand) a hospital recycling program, it's critical to understand what types of plastics are recyclable. HPRC walks you through with this simple visual guide, part of our comprehensive HospiCycle toolkit, helping you understand what kinds of plastics your program can include and what specific clinical materials they are found in.

One important piece of information about a given plastic will be its Resin Identification Code (the number in the recycling triangle often found on the bottom of an item.) This numbering system was created by the Society of the Plastics Industry in order to help make recycling plastics easier. (Learn more here and here.) This number is what’s being referenced when you see a material referred to as “#5” or “#2” and gives important information to recyclers about the product’s chemical makeup.

See the full overview of common hospital plastics (with photos) on the HPRC site.


About HPRC

HPRC is a private technical coalition of industry peers across healthcare, recycling and waste management industries seeking to improve recyclability of plastic products within healthcare. HPRC is made up of brand leading and globally recognized members including Baxter, BD, Cardinal Health, DuPont, Eastman Chemical Company, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Ravago Manufacturing Americas and SABIC Innovative Plastics. The council convenes biannually at meetings hosted by an HPRC member that include facility tours to further learning and knowledge sharing opportunities through first-hand demonstration of best practices in sustainable product and packaging design and recycling processes. For more information, visit


Katie Nordenson