What are considered to be safe plastic recycling numbers?

recycling bag with plasticsRecently our Organic Certification Agency asked us for the materials we are using in our facility…. we are a GREEN certified facility we do very good on cleaners, papers, printers, paint materials and containers we are using. 

But finally it reminds me of the conflict when it comes to packaging. Pouch bags, glass or cellophane. At least, that is where it boils down, and these are the main packages we use in our product-line DIVINE ORGANICS.

What’s best? Most of us would say “Glass” is the right package. And yes, i agree, there are a lot of advantages. My drinking water-bottle, for example. My Coconut Oil, my very good green powder. Would i like to have a glass jar with my favorite trail-mix in my handbag? No. How many parents send their kid with a glass jar or a glass bottle to school? How many mothers package nuts or dried fruits into cellophane bags for their kids every morning? How often do you wash and re-use a (recycled) plastic you packaged your greens and veggies in wholefoods?

Do you and many others prefer ready to snack pouch bags???? How many of you are annoyed  when the bio-cellophane bag is not resealable?

It is a dilemma.  So we still choose plastics as emergency/convenience/liking/ignorance: whatever category, this is important:

What are considered to be safe plastic recycling numbers?

Please bear in mind that a lot of research is still ongoing, and new information is coming to light all the time. One example is BPA (Bisphenol A), which is linked to damage the endocrine, neurological, and sexual reproductive systems, as well as fetal and infant brain development and behavior.

The absolute safest plastic numbers, especially for storing food, are:

  • #2, HDPE, a usually opaque plastic used for milk jugs, detergent bottles, juice bottles, toiletries and the like.
  • #4, LDPE, used for things like plastic bags, food storage, bread bags, some food wraps, squeezable bottles.
  • #5, polypropylene, used for a wide variety of applications such as yogurt cups, medicine bottles, ketchup and syrup bottles, and straws.

2) What about #1 (PET) plastic?

Current knowledge is that this plastic is safe when it is used in cool or regular environment without overheat. An article published in the November 2009 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives provided evidence that PET #1 plastic may leach endocrine disruptors in high temperature.

And this is one of the health concerns regarding water bottles (98% of water bottles are packed in #1 plastics and sit in warehouses, shelves and even exposed to the sun for a very long time.

However this plastic should not be of concern on short time storage.

The other concern about #1 plastic is that things like water bottles are intended for one-time use, whereas many people refill them and use them continuously. That increases the chance of the plastic harboring bacteria you might ingest, since it’s difficult to wash and doesn’t resist high temperatures.

The RECYCLING Question:

Do all of the mentioned plastics get recycled? Yes. These plastics are accepted by nearly all recycling programs. But only 27% of people recycle plastics which is a shame. And then we have to bear in mind that re-cycling plastics really means down-cycle plastics. It can be used a few more times as a lower grade and lower quality plastic before it is a pain in our planet’s neck for a very long time. So there is nothing good about it in the big picture and more shame for us humans, the conflict of packaging has not been solved.


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