PLEASE NOTE : SALE IS NOT VALID WITH ANY OTHER OFFERS/DICOUNT CODES.

Part 1 - Understanding Plastics

Have you ever checked he bottom of a plastic item to see which plastic has been used but didn't know what all the different symbols and numbers really meant? In honour of Plastic Free July I decided it was time I got more familiar with what was what and I hope this little guide will help you too. 


While avoiding all plastic would be the obvious solution, it is easier said than done, but that doesn't mean we can't work to reduce use and risk for both our health and the planet! 
 

Which plastics to avoids?

IN SHORT : AVOID 3, 6 & 7

Look out for theses 3 plastics, they should be avoided, especially when it comes to being in contact with your food. These plastics are known to leach dangerous, hormone disrupting synthetic chemicals, especially when heated, worn down or damaged.

 

Understanding Plastic Numbers (resin codes)

#1 PET / PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) & #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene)
Commonly used in a variety of food packaging & drink bottles, tubs, sandwich & food bags. Although considered non toxic and BPA free, studies have found that exposure to heat, washing and reusing such plastics can make them prone to leaching antimony, a toxic metalloid.
Do not reuse these plastics, leave them in the sun or put hot liquids in them.
BE CAUTIOUS
RECYCLE LEVEL : EASY
 
#3 PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
Found in plastic wrap, used for wrapping deli meat, cheese and similar items. These plastics contain a hazardous compound called Phthalates used to make plastic more flexible.
It is known that phthalates have been found to easily leach out of PVC products especially when in contact with fatty foods.
AVOID THIS PLASTIC
RECYCLE LEVEL : DIFFICULT
 
#4 LDPE (low density polyethlene)
Used for frozen food bags, squeezy bottles, food tubs and other types of packaging.
This plastic is considered safe but not very environmentally friendly as they are not easy to recycle. While this plastic is not known to leach toxins containers made with #4 should not be reused if they are heavily worn or scratched.
SAFE TO USE
RECYCLE LEVEL : DIFFICULT
 
#5 PP (polypropylene)
Similar to #4 this plastic is found in bottles, food tubs and reusable containers.
This is a robust plastic that is heat resistant and one of the safest of all plastics. It is unlikely to leach when exposed to warm or hot liquids.
SAFE TO USE
RECYCLE LEVEL : CHALLENGING
 
#6 PS (polystyrene)
Found in foam food containers such as coffee cups, single use take out containers, supermarket meat trays.
It can leach a number of chemicals into food and hot drinks. Styrene, is considered a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
AVOID THIS PLASTIC
RECYCLE LEVEL : DIFFICULT
  
#7 OTHER (everything else)
Shatter resistant material used in things like baby bottles and plastic reusable water bottles, any plastic that is not made from the other 6.
#7 readily leach BPA, potent endocrine disruptor linked to interfering in essential human developmental processes. This harmful chemical migrates into food and drink even when not heated, simply through normal use, scratched and old plastics that contain BPA are particularly bad.
AVOID THIS PLASTIC
RECYCLE LEVEL : DIFFICULT
 

TIPS TO REMEBER...

  • Never heat or microwave your food in plastic containers or anything covered in plastic wrap, this increases the leaching of chemicals.⁠
  • Avoid contact with BPA by avoiding plastic wrap (use beeswax or silicone alternatives), tin cans also usually contain BPA.⁠
  • Store your food and beverages in non plastic containers, use metal or glass containers.⁠
  • Reusable water bottles should be non-plastic or at least BPA free, stainless steel or glass are the safest.⁠
  • Use metal and wooden eating and cooking utensils instead of plastic ones.⁠
  • Go for toys made from natural fabrics and materials instead of plastic ones.⁠
  • If you have any plastic kitchenware, discard any items that are scratched or worn especially non stick items.⁠
  • Avoid plastics numbered #6 and #7 whenever possible.⁠

 

Check our part 2 on Understanding Symbols...