Have you ever noticed the numbering on the bottom of a plastic water bottle or a milk jug? I never thought they were something I needed to pay attention to until now..
These numbers actually mean a lot more than you probably thought. Grab a plastic bottle and take a glimpse at the bottom of it next to the recycling symbol.
If you see a number “1”, it’s likely a soda bottle or a water bottle. The “1” means that these bottles are safe to reuse, but they can still breed bacteria – so it is not really encouraged to do so.
Juice bottles and milk jugs often have the number “2” written on them, meaning they are considered safe and have a low risk of leaching, so they’re a great choice to reuse.
You want to steer clear of reusing bottles labeled with the number “3.” This plastic is not considered safe and it’s rarely accepted by recycling programs. It contains a toxic material – DEHA – and the plastic is used for things such as old cable wires, soap bottles and clear oil containers.
Although it is also not accepted by curbside recycling programs, items labeled with the number “4” are considered safe and can be reused multiple times. It is used to make bread bags, food wraps, squeezable bottles and grocery bags.
Number “5” is completely safe to reuse and is normally picked up by curbside recycle services. It’s used to make medicine bottles, yogurt cups, straws, and ketchup bottles.
The use of Number “6” is to be avoided as much as possible, because evidence shows that this type of plastic leaches toxic chemicals. Especially when heated, these chemicals are dangerous. Number “6” can be found in disposable containers, plates and cups, as well as other items.
Lastly, plastic number “7” means “everything else.” It’s a mixture of all plastics made after 1987. From baby bottles to plastics used in iPods and computer cases, it’s a “use at your own risk” plastic, because you don’t know whether it contains BPA or not. Number “7” should never be reused.
So, there you have it! I don’t know about you, but I feel much more informed learning all of this information that I wasn’t aware of before.
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