Have you ever wondered what those numbers in your plastic containers meant? If you’re like most people, you’d probably say no. So here’s the list (courtesy of CNet News http://www.news.com/2300-13838_3-6237932-1.html?tag=ne.gall.pg):
- PET / PETE
This is one of the common type of plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), commonly found in bottles of soda, juice, water, etc. PET is understood to be one of the least toxic forms of plastic because DEHA, a chemical used in PET, is no longer listed by the EPA as carcinogen. Doctors advise against reusing disposable plastic water bottles not really because of the urban legend of cancer-causing chemicals leaching from water bottles left in hot cars but because they are hard to clean and can trap bacteria.
High-density polyethylene, or No. 2 HDPE, used in shampoo and detergent bottles, milk jugs, cosmetics, motor oil, toys, and sturdy shopping bags, is considered one of the safer plastics. HDPE is often opaque or cloudy. Some recycling centers can only handle clear No. 2 plastics, such as milk jugs, but not colored bottles.
Polyvinyl chloride, or No. 3 PVC, is found in shower curtains, meat and cheese wrappers, three-ring binders, some bottles, plumbing pipes, and building materials.
Low-density polyethylene, or No. 4 LDPE, is used in shopping bags, six-pack rings, hard drive casings, CD and DVD cases, and some bottles.
Polypropylene, or PP, is used in the products in this photograph as well as diapers, pails, dishes, candy containers, and lab equipment. The purple product pictured here is made from recycled polypropylene from Recycline.
Polystyrene, also known as Styrofoam, is used in disposable cups and take-out food containers, packing peanuts, trays, and egg cartons.
The No. 7 SPI code is generally a wild card marking plastics that don’t fall within the other six categories. These include polycarbonate bottles, which are understood by scientists to wreak havoc on human hormones by leaching bisphenol-A into hot beverages. As a result, polycarbonate baby bottles are losing favor with the public, and retailers including Toys R Us are starting to sell more BPA-free bottles.
Credits: CNET (http://www.news.com/2300-13838_3-6237932-1.html)