Know Your Recycling Codes

1 Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET, PETE)

Uses:

in soft drink bottles, water, beer,
mouthwash, catsup, salad dressing bottles, peanut butter, pickle, jelly, & jam jars, as well as oven-safe plastic trays.
Recycled PET flakes are used for carpet yarns and the fabric known as polyester, polyester fleece, and micro fleece.

Dangers:

PET/PETE degrades with use & can host germs in its wrinkled surfaces, two reasons why re-using old bottles & containers is dangerous. It ontains trace amounts of Bisphenol A (BPA) Click to learn more about this.
The danger increases through use & heating but should be avoided initially as well.

2 High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

Uses:

Bottles of milk, juice, water, yogurt & margerine tubs (click for info on margarine), & cereal box liners.
Costmetics, shampoo, dish & landry products
grocery, trash & retail bags.
Has a good chemical resistance.
Can be translucent or pigmented, pigmented bottles have better stress crack resistance.

Dangers:

No known problems for heath; however there is a caustic heating process used to process plastic from petroleum which can not be good for the environment or likely us.

3 Vinyl (Poly Chloride or PVC)

Uses:

Used in clear food & non-food packaging, & bottles.
in contruction pipes, insulation, write, coatings, medical tubing, etc.
Childrens toys & teethers, costemtics & shower curtains are all used with dangerous plastic softeners, such as phthalates.

Dangers:

Has strong chemical resitance, good weather ability, & stable electrical properties. However it contains chamicals, phthalates.
Chemicals can leach into food & get into peoples bodies by mouthing things, such as babies with their teethers.
Toxic chemicals called adipates & phthalates are used to soften PVC.
Vinyl chloride in PVC is a known human carcinogen.
The European Union (and NOT the U.S.) has banned the use of di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), most widely used plasticizer (softener) in childrens toys.

4 Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)

Uses:

In film applications, flexible lids, & bottles.
Dry cleaning products, bread & brozen food bags, squeezable bottles (ex. Honey, mustard).

Dangers:

Unknown

5 Polypropylene (PP)

Uses:

Catsup bottles, yogurt containers, margarine tubs margerine tubs (click for info on margarine), & medicine bottles
Good for hot-fill liquids as it has good chemical resistance & a high melting point.

Dangers:

No known dangers

6 Polystyrene (PS)

Uses:

Has a low melting point.
Used in protecting packaging, containers, lids, cups, bottles, & trays.
Compact disc jackets, grocery store meat trays, egg cartons, asprin bottles, & plates.

Dangers:

No known dangers

7 Other

Uses:

3 & 5 Gallon reusable water bottles, some citrus juice & ketchup bottles.
Other uses… check your plastic products.

Dangers:

The most dangerous plastic variation, as it is a multi-layer combination which includes polycarbonate & anything else.
Polycarbonates leach the synthetic hormone BPA (click for more info on BPA).
Problems increase when container is filled with hot liquid or heated up.
However, the dangers are still high even when not heated or used with something hot.

Overview

Avoid:
codes 1 (PET/Polyethylene terephthalate)
3 (PVC/Vinyl/Polyvinyl chlorine)
6 (Polystyrene)
7 (Polycarbonate/BPA)

Use minimally:
codes 2 (HDPE/Polyethylene)
4 (LDPE)
5 (Polypropylene)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s