%�쏢 As Editor, Greg combines his upbringing in the cities of New York, Boston and San Francisco with the contrast of 31 years of living ‘off-grid’ to give us a balanced perspective on sustainable living. Microbeads: The Smallest Ingredient in Our Plastic Soup. PET plastic is difficult to decontaminate, and proper cleaning requires harmful chemicals. You need to check with your local collection service to see if they are accepting LDPE plastic items for recycling. To avoid items made with PVC plastic, consider replacing plastic food wrap with reusable beeswax wraps; plastic toys with reclaimed wool stuffed animals; and your PVC garden hose with a Drinking Water Safe Garden Hose. Thicker plastic material is often called a “sheet”. Polystyrene may leach styrene, a possible human carcinogen, into food products (especially when heated in a microwave). PVC is dubbed the “poison plastic” because it contains numerous toxins which it can leach throughout its entire life cycle. It is a relatively simple and cost-effective process to recycle HDPE plastic for secondary use. For example, water bottles that display a three or a five cannot be recycled in most jurisdictions in the US. Number 7 plastics are used to make baby bottles, sippy cups, water cooler bottles and car parts. This property of plasticity, often found in combination with other special properties such as low density, low electrical conductivity, transparency, and toughness, allows plastics to be made into a great variety of products. While it is difficult to find a recycler for PS, some businesses like Mailboxes Etc. To avoid chemicals leaking into your foods from food packaging, try going homemade and storing your leftovers (or your lunches) in platinum silicone or stainless steel. Almost all products using PVC require virgin material for their construction; less than 1% of PVC material is recycled. There are numerous plastic-based products that cannot break down and cannot be recycled. The plastic grocery bags used in most stores today are made using LDPE plastic. Originally from Long Island, NY, Greg Seaman founded Eartheasy in 2000 out of concern for the environment and a desire to help others live more sustainably. Chemicals present in polystyrene have been linked with human health and reproductive system dysfunction. prescription bottles. Some polycarbonate water bottles are marketed as ‘non-leaching’ for minimizing plastic taste or odor, however there is still a possibility that trace amounts of BPA will migrate from these containers, particularly if used to heat liquids. A new generation of compostable plastics, made from bio-based polymers like corn starch, is being developed to replace polycarbonates. PP is considered safe for reuse. HDPE plastic is very hard-wearing and does not break down under exposure to sunlight or extremes of heating or freezing. These are also included in category #7, which can be confusing to the consumer. stream Recycled PP is used to make landscaping border stripping, battery cases, brooms, bins and trays. Polystyrene should be avoided where possible. �_�����J��$S��c��q��� 1`51�!1�hIk/OB��֤��J���wF|n����.��Àq���.��ھ��|�o\=��;�� "B���5:����_���!q}H�&�����'Y��I�+���]$�QN �� �m ��/���}*�i���v>} ��������;Gr�_ȃ~'! By understanding these simple classifications, we can best use plastics to our advantage while minimizing the health and disposal issues that may otherwise arise. You can also replace plastic sandwich bags with platinum silicone alternatives, which are heat safe. Code 7 is used to designate miscellaneous types of plastic … BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic food containers often marked on the bottom with the letters “PC” by the recycling label #7. While the technology for recycling polystyrene is available, the market for recycling is small. Understanding the seven plastic codes will make it easier to choose plastics and to know which plastics to recycle. LDPE is considered less toxic than other plastics, and relatively safe for use. The purpose of the number is to identify the type of plastic used for the product, and not all plastics are recyclable or even reusable. Greg Seaman Items such as disposable coffee cups, plastic food boxes, plastic cutlery and packing foam are made from PS. Beaches all over the world have bits of polystyrene lapping at the shores, and an untold number of marine species have ingested this plastic with immeasurable consequences to their health. Early plastics were bio-derived materials such as egg and blood proteins, which are organic polymers. It is not commonly recycled, however, although this is changing in many communities today as more plastic recycling programs gear up to handle this material. HDPE is the most commonly recycled plastic and is considered one of the safest forms of plastic. It is commonly used as the sheathing material for computer cables, to make plastic pipes and parts for plumbing, and in garden hoses. The plastic is crushed and then shredded into small flakes which are then reprocessed to make new PET bottles, or spun into polyester fiber. There is a growing demand for this material as it’s a high quality plastic with a ton of uses. When you try to open the thin plastic liner in a cereal box, it is polypropylene. %PDF-1.3 To cut down on how much PP you consume, opt for reusable straws instead of plastic ones, reusable water bottles, and cloth diapers. Of primary concern with #7 plastics, however, is the potential for chemical leaching into food or drink products packaged in polycarbonate containers made using BPA (Bisphenol A). The plastics industry has conformed to regulations by applying the required codes to consumer products, but it is up to individuals to read and understand the codes. Awareness among consumers has grown, however, and polystyrene is being reused more often. Polypropylene plastic is tough and lightweight, and has excellent heat-resistance qualities. LDPE is often found in shrink wraps, dry cleaner garment bags, squeezable bottles, and the type of plastic bags used to package bread. These compostable plastics have the initials “PLA” on the bottom near the recycling symbol. When possible it is best to avoid #7 plastics, especially for children’s food. Some clothing and furniture also uses this type of plastic. which provide shipping services are happy to receive foam packing chips for reuse. It is most often used to make disposable foam drinking cups, take-out “clamshell” food containers, egg cartons, plastic picnic cutlery, foam packaging and those ubiquitous “peanut” foam chips used to fill shipping boxes to protect the contents. While some PCV products can be repurposed, PVC products should not be reused for applications with food or for children’s use. Some may also say “Compostable.”. The development of plastics has evolved from the use of natural plastic materials (e.g., chewing gum, shellac) to the use of chemically modified, natural materials (e.g., natural rubber, nitrocellulose, collagen, galalite) and finally to completely synthetic molecules (e.g., bakelite, epoxy, polyvinyl chloride). POLYMER FILM • Plastic film/Polymer film is a thin continuous polymeric material. Here are the seven standard classifications for plastics, and the recycling and reuse information for each type.