We know plastic if consumed is hazardous to our health. But many don’t identify with the plastics they use as food storage containers. This article will help you identify safe storage plastics and plastics that should not be reused. There is no microwavable plastics addressed in this writing. When we reuse particular plastics such as PET or PETE in food packaging, microwaving food unaware of the type of plastic you use or exposing water bottle with water for a long time to sun for days causes leaching of toxic chemicals into the food in the plastic container or bottle. There are three types of plastics that circle our everyday lives. Regardless I had listed all.
What toxic chemical leaches into food during reuse?
Bis-phenol A (BPA) is the main toxic chemical leaches into the food substance. Bis-phenyl A is an estrogen-mimicking chemical which can lead to lot of health problems like diabetes, obesity, fertility problems, behavioural problems and early puberty in girls.
PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
Code 1 plastic
All the beverages, juices and water bottles are packed in PET bottles. These carry the plastic code 1 and are often used for products like salad dressing, peanut butter, and jelly jars.
It’s intended for single use only.
Repeated use increases the risk of leaching and bacterial growth.
PET may leach carcinogens (cancer causing substances)
PET bottles are not recycled to make new Beverage bottles. They are crushed and shredded into small flakes which are reprocessed to make new PET bottles or spun into polyster fiber.
PET bottles of Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Spirited drinks, water bottles and juice bottles SHOULD NOT BE REUSED.
HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
Code 2 Plastic
It is used to make milk containers, huge juice containers, detergent boxes, oil bottles, toys, cleaning solution containers, shopping bags and freezing bags.
It’s recycled in large proportion.
It is considered one of the safest forms of plastic.
HDPE plastic is very hard wearing and does not breakdown under exposure to sunlight or extreme heating or freezing.
The American Chemistry Council agrees that it is safe to reuse HDPE bottles and containers.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Code 3 plastic
PVC is a soft, flexible plastic used to make clear plastic food wrapping, oil bottles, teething rings, children’s toys, computer cables, plastic pipes etc.
It withstands harsh weather condition. It’s not used with food substances as it’s called Poison plastic. It contains numerous toxic chemicals that could leach out its entire life cycle.
It’s a non recyclable plastic in highest percent.
Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Code 4 Plastic
It’s used in plastic bags, squeezable bottles, bread packages, grocery bags.
It’s not recyclable. That’s alarming because it’s widely used.
Reusable but not recyclable. It stays in the environment for unconditional days.
Citric acid or acidic effect from packaged lemons, oranges and tomatoes can initiate leaching of chemical substances from the plastic package.
What can be done?!!
Avoid reuse of water bottles and beverage bottles.
Instead carry reusable water bottles.
Avoid plastic bags and promote fabric alternatives.
Don’t encourage restaurants to pack hot takeaways such as Currys and Biryani in plastic containers.Its cancerous.
Why code 1, 2, 3, 4 for plastics?
The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) established a classification system in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to identify different types of plastic. Manufacturers place an SPI code, or number, on each plastic product, usually moulded into the bottom.
Remember the code and be cautious.