Thursday, October 23, 2008

Plastics - Know Your Numbers

While you should limit your plastic use, it is impractical to eliminate all plastics from your life. When given a choice at the grocery store - opt for items sold in glass containers versus plastic as glass can be recycled over and over. When you must choose plastic check the underside of the container for the number that tells what type of plastic is in that product.

Safe to use and recycle:

#1 - PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) thin clear plastic use for bottled water, cooking oil, etc. Safe for one use, but don't refill or heat.

#2 - HDPE (high density polyethylene) thicker opaque plastic used for milk jugs, juice bottles, and detergents. Safe to refill and reuse.

#4 LDPE (low-density polyethylene) found in soft plastics such as grocery bags and plastic wraps

#5 PP (polypropylene) hard but flexible plastic used in ice cream, yogurt, and take out containers

Use with caution:

#7 Other - this code is a mix of plastics - only use containers labeled as bio-based (corn, potato, or sugar cane)


#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - many contain phthalates, which are suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals often used to wrap meats and cheeses

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