Lifestyle

Let’s talk plastic

This short guide through plastic containers should help you with making choices if it comes to buying storage boxes for your food.

It is actually really easy. You would be looking for a number in a triangle. You probably seen it many times before, but never realized what is it for and what does it mean.

You can usually find these numbers on a bottom of most plastic containers and bottles.

Symbols:

1 – PETE

It’s found mostly in soda bottles, water bottles, beer bottles, salad dressing containers, mouthwash bottles, and peanut butter containers. It is intended for single use applications; repeated use increases the risk of leaching and bacterial growth. That’s why you should NOT reuse these bottles. Hide it from the sun, the more sun exposure the more toxic it becomes – one of the reasons you should not be drinking water that was left in car for a while.

2 – HDPE

It’s found mostly in milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, detergent bottles, motor oil bottles, yogurt tubs, and butter tubs.

HDPE is the most commonly recycled plastic and is considered one of the safest forms of plastic. It can be reused.

3 – PCW

It’s found in shampoo bottles, clear food packaging (food wrap), cooking oil bottles, medical equipment, piping, and windows. PVC is widely considered the most toxic and hazardous plastic that is still – unbelievably so – commonly used to make numerous consumer products. Also products made using PVC plastic are not recyclable.

4 – LDPE

It’s found in squeezable bottles, shopping bags, clothing, carpet, frozen food, bread bags, and some food wraps. The plastic grocery bags used in most stores today are made using LDPE plastic.
LDPE is considered less toxic than other plastics, and relatively safe for use, but not as good as 2 and 5.

5 – PP

It is (next to 2) one of the safer plastics to look for.
PP is typically found in yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles, disposable diapers, straws.

6 – PS (Styrofoam)

It is found in compact disc cases, egg cartons, meat trays, and disposable plates and cups, disposable styrofoam drinking cups, take-out “clamshell” food containers.
difficult to recycle, and thus, bad for the environment.

Polystyrene may leach styrene, a possible human carcinogen, into food products (especially when heated in a microwave). Chemicals present in polystyrene have been linked with human health and reproductive system dysfunction.

7 – Other

All of the plastic resins that don’t fit into the other categories are placed in the number 7 category. It’s a mix bag of plastics that includes polycarbonate, which contains the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA). These plastics should be avoided due to possibly containing hormone disruptors like BPA, which has been linked to infertility, hyperactivity, reproductive problems, and other health issues. #7 plastics are not for reuse, unless they have the PLA compostable coding.

Long story short:

1. Look at the numbers on the bottom,
2. Look for numbers 2,4 or 5.
3. Make sure water bottles (or soda bottles) with number 1 are not exposed to sun.
4. Throw away plastic food wrap.
5. Try not to buy food on trays, don’t reheat take-out food containers.

Use a glass or stainless steel reusable water bottle. Buy in glass and reuse those bottles/jars. Use glass containers, even though they are heavier than the plastic ones, but are much more healthier option.

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References:
1. Natural Society
2. Plastic by Numbers
3. Life without plastics

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