According to the EPA:31 million tons of plastic waste was produced in the U.S. in 2010, only 8% of which was recovered for recycling.
Plastic materials are assigned a resin code to distinguish between the different plastic polymers. This code is imprinted on the plastic material (on the bottom of plastic soda bottles, for example) framed in the recycling symbol. However, all of these plastic types are not recyclable.
Plastic recycling process
A generic plastic recycling process is shown in the diagram above. Plastics are sorted into the different polymer types based on resin codes, ground up, decontaminated, and reformed into plastic pellets that can be used in the production of new plastic products.
As of October 2009, all plastic bottles are banned from landfills in North Carolina. This means that any plastic containers with a mouth smaller than the base of the container must be recycled. To read the ban itself and learn about other products banned from North Carolina landfills… (link document)