A question about recycling?

I read an article online, but I don’t understand one thing about it it. Could someone answer something for me? My question is at the bottom and here is what it said.

No. 1: most soft drinks, including poland spring, dasani and even snapple bottles carry this number to reflect that they are bottles made of polyethylene terphthalate (pet), which is approved by the u.s. Food and drug administration for consumer use. The narrow-necked bottles are not made for repeated use. The design of the bottle means they’re difficult to clean. And, that means bacteria, from your hands and mouth, can grow in the bottle over time, says royte.

Mainstreet’s take: always wash out with soap and water before reusing.

No. 2: at the grocery store, when you come across one gallon plastic containers and 2.5 gallon jugs of water, you’ll see this number on the plastic. This means the bottle contains phthalates that have been shown to leach into water over time, says royte. Phthalates have been linked to health problems, including inducing early puberty, and are banned for toys in california and in 14 countries.

Mainstreet’s take: wash with soap and water, do not reuse too many times.

No. 3: polyvinyl chloride (or pvc) and are environmentally hazardous and not recyclable. Not many bottles carry this label.

Mainstreet’s take: not safe to use in the first place.

No. 4: bottles with the number are considered safe, and are made using low density polyethylene. In addition to being used for some water bottles, it’s a common oil-based plastic that’s used for containers that are squeezable.

Mainstreet’s take: ok to reuse when properly cleaned.

No. 5: when you pop plastic in the microwave, it’s usually has this number because it’s made with polypropylene.

Mainstreet’s take: ok to reuse when properly cleaned.

No. 6: this is usually used for egg cartons, and styrofoam cups.

Mainstreet’s take: not a great container, if you are environmentally friendly.

No. 7: polycarbonate bottles with this number can have many “other” materials. In other words, the bottle may have been used with phthalates, or bisphenol a, or not. It’s a catchall. And, since bisphenol a is restricted in canada, and has been linked to disruption in lab animals, it may be a number you want to avoid if you don’t know the content. You’ll see this number commonly at the water cooler. And, even nalgene bottles carry this identification, while being bisphenol free.

Mainstreet’s take: may not be safe to reuse.

Does this mean to not put out with recyclables or to not reuse?

Answer #1

the company that controls your recycling often only picks up certain numbers

Answer #2

Correct advice above! The best thing is not to buy stuff in these containers - buy eggs in cardboard boxes which can go on the compost heap or be more safely recycled. Buy as few drinks out and about as you can - take your own alternatives with you if possible.

But I do sometimes buy bottled drinks and I do often reuse the bottles, which your article is not so keen on. From my point of view, I don’t have a bacteria problem with them because none of the family gets ill! But we don’t keep them that long - they are reused for drinking for a while and then recycled. Other containers are used to store rain-water for watering plants, which seems safe enough. So the article is just advice about taking care when you reuse, rather than when you recycle. All of those containters should be OK to go in the recycling bag/box.

Reuse and recycle are both good things to do, but the first of the ‘Three Rs’ is reduce - this just means to avoid buying all that plastic in the first place!

Answer #3

it means to not reuse… my suggestion would be not to buy bottled water and bottled drinks… it resolves the issue beautifuly :)

Answer #4

don’t reuse.

Answer #5

If you’re going to use a container for water, get a non-toxic reusable water bottle such as the camelbak better bottle or the Titan water bottle…they are both made from the same bpa-free Tritan material. Check out these links for more info: www.titanwaterbottle.com


Answer #6

Don’t reuse if it’s labled “not for reuse”, but do recycle. Such as a lot of plastics that contained poisons (I.e. draino, motor oil), can’t be reused, but can be used as an asphalt additive to make roads safer when wet.

More important - try buying less to begin with. Such as instead of a new pair of slack, send torn ones to a professional tailor. Download music instead of buying the plastic CD, in the plastic case, with a plastic wrapper and so on.

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