A Plastic Numbers Guide #1 to #7 - What do they mean?
We always advocate refusing single use plastics ✋🏼, but sometimes they’re just impossible to avoid 😩 So when you have no other option here’s a guide for consuming in the “most sustainable” and recyclable way:
When picking up something wrapped in plastic always look for the number symbol that ranges from 1-7 within the recycling triangle ♻️
Numbers 2, 4 and 5 are considered the “safest” in terms of plastic leaching - so foods you consume wrapped in these plastics shouldn’t cause too much harm (foods in no plastic are always best of course!😉)
Numbers 3, 6 and 7 are the most harmful 💀
Plastic #1: PETE/PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) Can only be used once as a lot of bacteria can accumulate and cause plastic leaching 😪 It’s most commonly used for water bottles/drinks and food containers 🥤 Which is why it’s always best to refuse this type of plastic and use your REUSABLES instead!
- Plastic #2: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) Has one of the lower risks of leaching and is more of a “heavy duty” plastic used for household cleaning products, shampoo bottles, milk jugs etc. It can be recycled, but not fully!
- Plastic #3: PVC (Vinyl) Is one of the worst plastic choices! It can’t be recycled easily and contains TONS of toxins (including carcinogens 😵!) that leach easily. Definitely refuse this plastic as it should not be reused. Most commonly used for food wrap 🥒
- Plastic #4: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) Very reusable, but normally not recyclable ☹️ Used mostly for plastic bags, so ALWAYS bring your reusable bags with you!🛍
Plastic #5: PP (Polypropylene) Reusable but not always recyclable, some centres are beginning to accept it though! Usually used for yoghurt containers, medicine bottles and disposable diapers.
Plastic #6: PS (Polystyrene) Is styrofoam which is extremely difficult to recycle and contains several nasty chemicals 😷 that are proven to be harmful to human health. Often used for takeaway boxes and cups.
- Plastic #7: Others - Recycling/reusing guidelines are still relatively unclear. Number 7 plastics also contain BPA 😓 Always avoid this one!
Moral of the story: refuse plastics as much as possible for your own health & the planets