Insights Blog
May 17, 2024


Plastic waste is one of the biggest problems in the Philippines. To date, the country is one of the biggest contributors to the global plastic pollution problem. While government recycling efforts help, the participation of private individuals is crucial in coming up with a significant and lasting solution.


A little knowledge goes a long way towards a more sustainable future. These three simple tips will be a good start in forming a lasting and hopefully more all-encompassing recycling lifestyle.

Choose plastics that are easily recyclable.

When it comes to recycling plastic, not all types are created equal. Plastic items are usually classified according to the plastic resin they are manufactured from, which ultimately indicates how easily they can be recycled.


Resin Identification Codes are markers often found on the bottom of plastic containers. The code is usually imprinted as a single-digit number between 1 and 7 contained inside a Mobius Loop, or more commonly known as the recycling sign. 1


Here’s a quick summary of what each code means:

Plastic Resin Code - Material

Common uses

1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)

Drinking bottles, medicine bottles, combs

2 - High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Bottles used to store hygiene and cleaning products (shampoo, bleach, detergents)

3 - Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Plumbing pipes, plastic frames, toys  

4 - Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Single-use plastic bags, cling wrap, sandwich bag, squeezable bottles for food condiments, flexible container lids

5 - Polypropylene (PP)

Food containers, bottle caps, drinking straws, take-out containers, disposable plates, toys

6 - Polystyrene (PS)

Styrofoam containers, takeout trays, plastic cups, plastic cutleries

7 - Miscellaneous Plastics

Nylon, baby bottles, compact discs

The next time you grab a soda or replenish your skincare supply, check out their Resin Identification Codes and see whether their plastic containers are easily recyclable.


Of the plastic types, PET, HDPE, and PP are the most recyclable. It is best to use plastics of these types as they are widely accepted by recycling facilities because they can be melted down and remolded into new products relatively easily.


On the other hand, PVC, PS, and other less common types pose challenges for recycling facilities. These plastics may contain additives or have different melting points, making them difficult to process alongside more commonly recycled materials. 

Get in touch with NGOs and private groups.

A significant barrier preventing some communities from effectively recycling plastics is the lack of access to local recycling programs, an issue that is particularly prevalent in rural areas, underfunded municipalities, and developing regions where recycling infrastructure may be nonexistent or insufficient.


Without convenient and accessible recycling options, even the most environmentally conscious individuals can find it challenging to recycle their plastic waste properly.2


This is where non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and private groups step in — on top of educational campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of recycling, they also offer an alternative avenue for communities without recycling programs.3


These groups set up collection points for plastic waste, operate mobile recycling units, or organize periodic recycling drives to ensure that plastic waste is collected and processed properly.


Plaf, short for Plastic Flamingo, is a private initiative in the country dedicated to converting plastic waste into a diverse array of sustainable construction materials intended for the construction of new schools, housing, and shelters.4


Other private organizations like Geocycle, Envirocycle, Trash Panda, Sentinel UpCycling Technologies, and many others also have their respective programs that make recycling more accessible.5

Clean your plastic items before sending them to recycling centers.

Taking the extra step to clean the plastics before sending them to recycling centers makes a big difference.


When plastics sent to recycling centers still have leftovers of what was in them, they can contaminate an entire batch of recyclables — these would render these plastics useless and be landfilled instead. 6


Clean plastics ultimately produce better quality recycled materials free from contamination.


Cleaning does not need be cumbersome — here are simple things you can do to prepare your plastic for recycling:


1. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse plastic containers with water to remove any food, liquid, or residue. Use a brush for stubborn spots if necessary.

2. Remove Labels and Caps: If possible, remove labels, caps, and any non-plastic components. Some facilities have machines to handle this, but pre-sorting helps improve the efficiency of the recycling process.

3. Dry Completely: Let the plastics dry before placing them in the recycling bin. This prevents mold and mildew, which can contaminate other recyclables.


Having an understanding about plastic recycling will not only help you make better choices in terms of what plastic items to use but also make you an active participant in the global efforts of reducing plastic waste.


1"Standard Practice for Coding Plastic Manufactured Articles for Resin Identification." ASTM International. January 4, 2022.
2"About Us." The Plastic Flamingo.
3"Recycling in Manila: From Single Use Plastic to the Victims of Decluttering." Almost Diplomatic.
4Deer, Ryan. "HOW CLEAN DO OUR RECYCLABLES NEED TO BE?" Road Runner. February 17, 2021.
5 "Turning Trash into Treasure: The Impact of Upcycling and Recycling Plastic Waste." WWF-Philippines. June 11, 2023.
6"Recycling Companies That Help You Dispose Of Waste Responsibly." Sustainability Solutions Exchange. March 29, 2022.
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