Sunday, April 04, 2010
Plastic numbering scheme:
#1: PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate): easily recycled, not found to leach. Used in water, juice and soft drink bottles. We recycled this type of plastic and make it into other products; bags, packaging, and more. Call us at 800-720-2247 about what we can create with this material.
#2: HDPE (high-density polyethylene): easily recycled, not found to leach. Used in milk jugs, plastic shopping bags, detergent and shampoo bottles.
#3: PVC or Vinyl (polyvinyl chloride): not recyclable; soft PVC can leach toxic phthalates. Used in some cling wraps, children's toys, fashion accessories, rain gear, building materials, detergent and spray bottles.
#4: LDPE (low-density polyethylene): recyclable at recycling centers; not found to leach. Used in most plastic shopping bags, cling wraps, some baby bottles and reusable drink & food containers.
#5: PP (polypropylene): Recyclable in some curbside programs, but in most cases this can not be recycled in the United States. This material is not found to leach. Used in the Green Bag™ Reusable Shopping tote and among other things; baby bottles, most yogurt and deli takeout containers, Tupperware- and Rubbermaid-type reusable food and drink containers. This material is being recycled in Australia where the bag was first in use.
#6: PS (polystyrene): recyclable in some curbside programs, can leach styrene, a neurotoxin. Used in rigid foam drink cups, takeout food containers, egg containers, some plastic cutlery and more.
#7: Mixed: This code applies to all other plastics, notably PC, or Polycarbonate, this is where you might find the infamous, bisphenol-A (BPA). Polycarbonate also don't recycle. But #7 also includes the relatively benign new copolyester Tritan plastic. This is where it gets tricky. A lot of different plastics fall into this category and to understand what has BPA and what does't is difficult.
#?(7): PLA: Adding to the confusion, the burgeoning crop of bioplastics falls under code #7, as well. These include PLA, or Polyactide, made from plants (biomass). As a material, it's renewable and hence more environmentally friendly than petroleum, with which all the above plastics are made. And it's used with increasing frequency in water bottles, bags, supermarket takeout containers and other packaging.
At the moment, PLA is not easily recyclable, but that is not the purpose of the material. Most commonly, PLA can be composted in industrial-strength composters, at high heat best for universities, hospitals and other large institutions. We have heard that under the correct conditions you can compost this material in your own backyard. PLA will decompose, slowly, eventually, in a compost heap or landfill, where it can release methane, another greenhouse gas. Estimated composting time is 3-6 months on PLA. What is the final bi-product of composting PLA? To our knowledge good old fashioned soil (organic matter).
ECOBAGS.COM believes that PLA is the best option for the packaging and trash needs in our society. If you have any need or interest in this material please call us and we can guide you
- 800-720-2247 -
Stay away from things labeled with a 3, 6, or 7. Do NOT heat anything up in these...do not store things with food or drink in your hot car with these numbers.....and I wonder, do you think that some of these are always stored cold? Or do you think that some of these may sit in hot warehouse, travel in hot trucks that might sit in parking lots for hours before they are finally put on store shelves?