SUSTAINABILITY

Recycling plastic 101

Discover how to recycle plastic bottles with this information about plastic recycling in India.

We all want to do our bit for the planet but understanding local plastic recycling systems can be confusing. This is particularly the case when it comes to knowing how to recycle plastic. With a little know-how you’ll be able to do your bit for sustainable living.

Why plastic recycling is important

Plastic waste management is a priority for many reasons. First and foremost, it has a huge environmental impact. Recycling plastic, as with any form of recycling, helps to reduce the amount of waste heading to landfill. But there’s another reason why it’s so key to the economy in India, and that’s to do with jobs.

The recycling of plastic is a fantastic way to create more work for the population. At a Plastic Pollution and Management conference in 2018, an expert from The Energy And Resources Institute revealed that six times the number of jobs are created when plastic is recycled rather than dumped.

We can all do our bit by correctly sorting our waste, in particular by learning how to recycle plastic and knowing what can and can’t be processed.

Plastic recycling rules

The recycling of plastic differs from state to state and city to city. Municipalities are to a large extent responsible for their own waste management and recycling. When it comes to recycling plastic there are certain general guidelines you can follow:

  • Check with your local scheme how to recycle plastic in your area
  • Sort your waste correctly into garbage and recyclable materials
  • Correctly remove non-recyclable parts from recyclable plastic
  • Rinse recyclable plastic bottles, ensuring that they are clean and empty

Recycling plastic bottles

PET bottles are where it’s at when it comes to the recycling of plastic bottles. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, and this type of polyester can be made into various new objects. That’s why rag-pickers pay such attention to sorting these bottles. You will have various PET bottles at home:

  • In the bathroom – like shampoo bottles
  • In the kitchen – like your water bottles and soda bottles
  • In the laundry – like your detergent and Comfort fabric conditioner bottles

However, as PET bottles contain various types of plastic, you’ll need to do a bit of work by removing the non-recyclable parts:

  • Bottle itself – recyclable
  • Caps – not recyclable
  • Labels – not recyclable

Clear PET bottles are also separated from coloured ones in the recycling process.

Recycling plastic bags

Plastic bags are a major sticking point in the culture of plastic recycling. Some Indian regions and cities have actually banned ultra-thin bags made from non-biodegradable polyethylene.

However, there are also NGOs that are turning plastic bags into new designer handbags through the work of rag-pickers. It’s best to avoid using single-use plastic but if you do have any old plastic bags lying around you can reuse them at home or try to find organisations that can recycle them.

Now you have a better idea about plastic recycling you can start sorting your plastic bottles, removing their caps and labels, and enjoying doing your bit for the environment.    

Top Tip


When recycling plastic bottles you’ll need to remove all the non-recyclable components, like the labels and the caps. You’ll also need to empty and clean the bottles. Taking the time to do this will help more of your plastic get recycled rather than dumped. 

Key Steps


There are a few points to remember when it comes to the recycling of plastic:

  • Different cities have different rules – check with your local waste management
  • Plastic bottles have recyclable and non-recyclable parts
  • Plastic bags are rarely recycled, so try to avoid using them