Recyclable containers in Chile: How to identify them, how to group them and where to recycle them

The first thing to consider is that not all containers that carry the ♻ symbol can be recycled. Some can go through the process and become raw materials again ready to be reused.

We all need to become more aware of the need to recycle plastic, in order to address the environmental crisis. In Chile it is estimated that each inhabitant throws away more than 450 kilograms of waste per year, ranking it among the Latin American countries that discard the most.

How to recycle?

It is important to wash each object that is going to be recycled and separate them into different types, so as not to harm the process. Glass, cans, paper, cardboard, polyethylene and aluminium, are easy to identify and classify for recycling. You have to remove any type of plastic label and take the caps off the bottles/containers.

The recycling for each type of material is different. The recycling rates for aluminium are higher than 90% because the relationship between cost and benefit is optimal. Although there are no concrete data, it is believed that some 30,000 tons of aluminium are recycled in Chile each year, with the most recycled items being beverage cans.

When it comes to plastic containers, there are seven different types: PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate), HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene), PP (Polypropylene), PS PS (Polystyrene), and other plastics. Except for the last category, each has its own particular recycling process. Those that are recycled most frequently are beverage bottles and shampoo and cosmetic containers.

In Chile, glass collection is close to 100,000 tons per year and is growing by around 20% a year. In addition, various companies incorporate around 30% recycled material they use in their manufacture process. Without a doubt, glass bottles are the most recycled material.

Meanwhile, the recycling rate for paper and cardboard packaging is estimated to be only 17.55%. If you are choosing paper or cardboard packaging, try to opt for materials that incorporate recycled fibre. Newspapers, white paper, pizza boxes or cardboard are materials that are usually recycled to a greater extent.

Change starts at home and every small eco-friendly action that you take contributes to having a greener and healthier planet in which we can live better. The invitation is clear: let’s help the planet. How are you going to contribute?

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