Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Have you ever wondered what the numbers on the bottom of plastic containers mean? There can be lots of confusion over whether or not they are safe and if they can be recycled.

Plastic #1: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE): Many soda bottles, water bottles, vinegar bottles, and medicine containers. This plastic is considered generally safe. However, it is known to have a porous service that allows bacteria and flavor to accumulate, so it best not to keep reusing these bottles as make shift containers. These are the easiest plastics to recycle.

Plastic #2: High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE): Many milk and water jugs; containers for laundry and dish detergents, fabric softeners, bleach, shampoos, conditioners and motor oil. This plastic is considered safe and has a low level of leaching. These can be recycled into more bottles or bags.

Plastic #3: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Many meat wraps, cooking oils bottles, baby bottle nipples, shrink wrap, and coffee containers. PVC is a tough plastic but is considered safe to cook food near it. These are difficult to recycle and are rarely accepted by recycling programs.

Plastic #4: Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE): Many wrapping films, grocery bags, and sandwich bags. This plastic is considered safe. These can be recycled into more of the same products.

Plastic #5: Polypropylene (PP): Tupperware and many other food storage containers, syrup bottles, ketchup bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, diapers, and medicine bottles. This plastic is considered safe. These can be recycled into fibers.

Plastic #6: Polystyrene (PS): Some takeout containers, Styrofoam cups and containers, disposable cutlery and cups, baking shells, meat trays, and packing peanuts. Evidence is increasingly suggesting that this type of plastic leaches potentially toxic chemicals, especially when heated. Recyclers don't want it because it is bulky and lightweight.

Plastic #7: Other (mostly polycarbonate or mixtures of other plastics). Food can liners, Nalgene-type water bottles, disposable cutlery, and sippy cups. You should use #7 plastic at your own risk since you don't know what is in it. Recyclers won't take it.


1 comment:

  1. Absolutely agree. Ditch the plastic for glass. For drinking bottles, we use the stainless steel bottles.

    Thanks for the great blog Kelly!