Know Your Safe Plastic Numbers

There’s a number in my plastic container! What does it means?

A number with recyled symbol enclosing it

Ever wondering why there’s a number (enclosed by a recycle symbol) on the bottom of your plastic container? Or maybe you’re aware enough about the existence of safe plastic numbers (also known as food grade plastics), but don’t know how to make the most out of it?

It maybe look confusing at first, but safe plastic numbers isn’t that hard to understand. Those numbers (from 1 to 7) representing 7 types of plastics : one is safer than the others, the other one is microwavable, etc. The symbol is also used to identify the recyclability of a product.

Safe plastic numbers

Safe Plastic Numbers’ Explanation :

Plastic #1 PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) : This type of plastic is commonly used to package water bottles, juice, beauty products, salad dressings, oil, peanut butter, and household cleaners. Healthy concerns : producing toxic chemicals when placed in heat for prolonged times. Only safe for one-time use.

Plastic #2 HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) : This type of plastic is made from petroleum. Characteristic : thick, opaque. Commonly used for milk jugs.

Plastic #3 PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) : Made through the use of Phthalates, a substance that used to gives plastics flexibility.  Phthalates could stimulates hormon-mimicking effects — this means that they could interfere with our natural hormones and causing adverse effects. Studies have found that Phthalates could do harm to reproductive systems : causing birth defects and infertility. Considering its effects, PVC is one type of plastic that should be avoided.

Plastic #4 LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene) : Similar to plastic #2, LDPE was also made from petroleum. The characteristic is flexible, though, but unbreakable. Commonly used for plastic grocery bags.

Plastic #5 PP (Polypropylene) : Strong, tough, its purpose is to contain the moisture. Mostly found in yogurt and margarine tubs, baby bottles and kitchenware. PP or Polypropylene is safe for microwave use, but please keep in mind that this means the plastic will not warp when is heated, this doesn’t mean that it’s safe for our health.

Plastic #6 PS (Polystyrene) : this is the styrofoam (material that often used as instant cup noodle package) that we know today. Also made from petroleum and commonly used at CD/DVD covers and take away packaging from restaurants. The use of polystyrene could caused neurotoxic (fatigue), hematological (low haemoglobin), cytogenetic (chromosomal abnormalities) and carcinogenic (cancerous) effects.

Plastic #7 Others/PC (Polycarbonate) : PC is one of the derivations of BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical found in hard plastics and the coatings of food and cans, which can behave in a similar way to estrogen and other human hormones. BPA has been news headlines in many country. Many health sources from around the world claimed BPA as haphazard material, but Canada is the first country to officially banned it.

SUMMARY (notes to remember) :

  1. Number #1, #2, #4, and #5 are safe to use (with cautions)
  2. Avoid #3, #6, and #7
  3. Whatever type of plastics that you use, never heat them for prolonged time–this could stimulates unhealthy chemicals
  4. When in doubt, use glass or ceramic material, especially for kitchen tools and eating utensils

We hope that this posting will help you and your family maintaining a healthy life. If you need solutions regarding broken home appliances, crash AC, electricity, broken pipe and jammed lock, Klik Tukang is the answer. Our mobile application is available at Google Play and App Store. Klik Tukang will provide you with trusted, quick, and cost-effective repair services. Klik Tukang : search for Tukang, in just a few Kliks!

Leave a Comment